Esoteric Meaning of the Heart Symbol

heart necklace

The heart symbol is never understated. Jewellery designers choose to feature or subtly incorporate the heart shape symbol to herald the jewellery piece - and most of the time, it works! This familiar symbol can often say more than a word, so it is prevalent in jewellery design.

So, what is the esoteric meaning of the heart? The heart's symbolic meanings are well understood as romantic love and fondness, but there is more to the symbol's meaning. The heart icon can mean unity, the sacred, femininity, life, spiritualism, creation, and much more.

This article looks at the esoteric heart symbolism and the differences in meaning between cultures and time. We will be looking at the history of the heart symbol in jewellery across time and how it has formed the representation of the 21st-century design of heart-shaped jewellery.

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Heart Symbolism Meaning

We see the heart symbol everywhere!


In a symbolic sense, the heart is subject to personal and cultural interpretation, but its everyday use throughout history hints at its profound but limitless meanings. Consider some of the most common representations according to experts:

Unity Heart

The heart symbol most recognisably stands for true love; it makes sense that it is also a symbol of unity. The teardrop diamond and heart shape stones are used regularly in wedding ring designs to symbolise union and connectedness to life.

You can also say that the heart symbolism is also linked to hope and dreams for eventual affection, belonging and connectedness in both a romantic sense or other. The symbolism of the connected two hearts means unity.

Sacred Heart

A heart symbol also holds sacred meaning. It is common in Hinduism, Roman Catholicism and cultural rituals.

The "Sacred Heart of Christ" is the centrepiece of Roman Catholic worship as a sign of the Lord's love, compassion and biblical truth. The Roman Catholic Church uses the heart image through the Heart of Christ as evidence of truth and the infinite nature of love.

In Hinduism, the upside-down triangle plays a role in Hinduism's chakras. The triangular heart represents the primal and sexual powers within us.

Femininity Heart

A heart symbol is, without a doubt, a feminine symbol. Throughout history, women groups have used the symbol to represent feminine power, friendships and sexual power. The inverted triangle of the heart has long been regarded as an image of femininity and motherly energy.

In Hinduism, the upside-down triangle plays a role in Hinduism's chakras. The triangular heart represents the primal and sexual powers within us.

Affection & Love Heart

A heart symbol is also used to express attraction and passion towards someone or something. The heart icon is one of the most used emoji's in digital communication replacing the word love.

Historically, figures like Aristotle and alchemists of centuries past used the heart symbols for matters relating to love and passion. Hearts were used in rituals and charms for relationships.

The heart is also ironically recognised as the symbol for Valentine's Day. Though theories vary around the association between the heart and St. Valentine, it most likely developed during the late Middle Ages Anglo-French court.

The celebration of Valentine's Day in England was customary for the aristocracy in the late 17th Century. One ritual included drawing lots, where the affluent picked from women's names and were obliged to give her a gift.

In mythology, the heart was afflicted with Cupid and his arrow. A person who was shot by Cupid's arrow becomes filled with out of control desire and passion. The Roman figure of Cupid was often depicted as blindfold meaning that "love is blind". 

Emotion & Morality Heart

In linguistic, the description and colours of the hearts are also used to symbolise a person's emotional morality. The term broken heart depicts heartbreak or romantic loss.

Other colour associations for the heart can describe people and reactions.

  • Black heart symbol - describe someone with no love, evil character.
  • White heart symbol - pure and innocent character
  • Red heart symbol - passionate and longing character


Life & Human Heart

The heart symbolism also recognises the human heart. A heart's shape directly references human anatomy (heart) and is used as a direct reference.

In the early centuries, the Roman Catholic Church band human body dissection of the human body, and artists used the ancient Greeks diagram and descriptions. Without the aorta on the top of the heart, the heart shape emerges - perhaps a little abstract.

Inverted triangles, which lend themselves to the hearts shape, are also observed in the chakras of the three eyes: Manipuri, the solar plexus (Ajna Plexus), the heart (Anchukaa). It represents the element water. Initially, Aristotle designated triangles to the fundamental elements of life.

The Triangular symbol and the heart symbol have often shared meaning because of their inverted focal point.

Expressions of Creation

Some symbolism experts consider the heart to symbolise the creative spirit - a place of our true purpose for existence. So, the heart takes on a symbolic connection with the soul.

Interpretations vary, but the heart seems to represent connected spiritual entities symbolically. It is the heart's pulse that allows us access to personal goals.

Related: Double Heart Necklace: Meaning and Symbolism

History of Heart Symbols on Jewellery

While we may never know the heart's first known images in history, we see that it has been consistently present in art, diagrams, literature, and jewellery throughout ancient civilisation and cultures through modern societies.

In jewellery, there are many examples of hearts used in ancient societies, throughout the Middle Ages and in more recent times.

Some examples of known uses of the heart in jewellery include:

  • North Africa is believed to be the birthplace of heart symbol jewellery. There was a time in the ancient African period when there was a considerable demand for heart-shaped jewellery.
  • Ancient Egyptians - heart-shaped amulets were worn by family members who passed away. They used to be mummified or buried wearing these amulets.
  • Ancient Rome admired heart-shaped jewellery. Both men and women used to wear accessories in the shape of a heart. 
  • Middle Ages - Heart Jewellery popularity grew in the 15th and 16th centuries amongst wealthy upper-class members, with the first documented use of it in silver and gold jewellery.
  • 20th Century - King Edward VIII's gift of the Cartier heart charm to Wallis Simpson clearly indicated their romance. The King later abdicated to pursue the romance over royal duty.


Heart Jewellery in the 21st Century

The heart at the centre of a jewellery piece is classic and conveys several meanings. Though many heart-shaped designs are simplistic, they make impactful statements in your wardrobe style and personality. The heart designs are found in wedding rings, bracelets and anklets, earrings, and most significantly, pendants and necklaces.

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Giving your beloved a beautiful heart pendant necklace is a lovely choice. However, before you give this beautiful piece of treasure to someone, it is important to know the significance of a heart-shaped necklace. A heart pendant can provide an extra meaning.

Generally, it symbolises deep affection and love for someone. When we talk about the physical appearance of the pendant, its shape conveys a connection with the human heart, meaning the heart is the core of our being. In the same way, the heart-shaped jewellery symbolises excellent love and affection for the person to who you are gifting it.

For hundreds of years, heart pendants have been a pinnacle piece of jewellery that people like to buy, wear and gift, and the reason is simple, the heart-shaped necklace never goes out of style because its message is timeless and universal.

The heart symbolises spirituality, love, creativity, passion, emotions and morals, all packed up in a simple yet meaningful symbol.