During the late 1800’s, handmade Valentines were elaborately crafted from paper lace, ribbons and delicate die-cut paper. Embellishments like gold and silver gilt and soft pastels along with the traditional pink and red gave each Valentine card a romantic air. Some of the most popular designs included bouquets of flowers, lovely young ladies and charming young children with ringlets of curls. There were also plenty of Valentine cards featuring hearts, cupids and love birds.
The Victorians didn't skimp on the extras on their Valentine cards and by the turn of the century they could purchase manufactured cards that were true marvels. Details might include embossing, scalloped edged, die-cut lace, watercolors, honeycomb detailing or intricately engineered pop-up versions that could be proudly displayed on the mantel.
Victorian ladies sent Valentine cards to their dearest friends and young swains would send them to the girls they admired in hopes of winning their hearts. Married couples always exchanged Valentine greetings, as did family members.
Written by Joanmarie Moccia