Valentine’s Day is a bit like cilantro: you either love it or you hate it, and your feelings are as ingrained as the genetic mutation that makes some people (myself included) think the little green leaves taste like soap. Honestly, I kind of think Valentine’s Day tastes like soap: rose-scented, gummy, and artificially sweet. Tim and I have therefore never really celebrated the day, feeling “too cool” for its cloying gestures. This year, however, we are doing things differently…
Why? Because we hit a new low in our relationship: earlier this month, both of us forgot our five year wedding anniversary. Yep. Our anniversary was on January 3rd, and on the 8th we realized we completely let the day pass without a thought. True, it has been a busy year for us (and our son was in the midst of a 2-month sleep revolt) but this was quite an oversight. So, I’ve started thinking more seriously about romance a bit more and how to integrate it into our daily lives. Because I like to seek out the experts, I turned to the work of Erin Tetterton, a local wedding photographer whose photos are the definition of romantic, for some inspiration on celebrating the day with meaning and purpose.
Erin shot an amazing series called “Love Letters,” which featured a few selections from our antique jewelry collection and the photos perfectly encapsulate the Old-World romance of these pieces. One of my favorite aspects of antique jewelry is thinking about the past lives of these amazing works of art. Did she wear this for special balls? Did she love flowers, thus inspiring this intricate floral design?
I even like to imagine the box she kept it in because, honestly, jewelry boxes were so much nicer 100 years ago. Speaking from a jeweler’s perspective, I can appreciate the care and skill and time that went into these handmade treasures. Much like a relationship, while they look perfect from a conversational distance, when you examine them up close you notice the minor asymmetry and tiny hand-wrought “imperfections.” But rather than seeing them as flaws, I see them as the beautiful product of tedious work, patience, and love.
One of my favorite gifts I received from Tim is an amazing antique star sapphire and diamond ring. He bought it surreptitiously after I gushed over its beauty at an antique jewelry show. He gave it to me for Christmas two months later and I was completely surprised and touched by how thoughtful the gift was. This was five years ago, and I still feel that joy — and, dare I say, romance — anytime I wear the ring. That’s the beauty of a thoughtful piece of jewelry. You can always be transported back to a moment (or a person, or a place) by simply adding an accessory to your ensemble.
So, this year for Valentine’s Day I’ll be taking a cue from Erin’s Love Letters shoot and I encourage you to do the same. Consider writing a letter to your partner and making it extra special with little touches like silk ribbon. Give it to him or her over a candlelit dinner — the more over the top, the better! We’re talking serious romance here.
And finally, commemorate the evening with an exquisite piece of jewelry that drips with history. Shop our Instagram Stories today or better yet, visit our showroom for ideas and I suggest keeping an open mind for something outside of your comfort zone. This is the time to choose something unique for your collection so that it stands out, and when you reach for it, you’ll be transported to something truly special: your love.
If all this sounds a bit daunting, don’t fret. Next week, I’ll be posting gift ideas for a more Netflix-and-(elegantly)-chill vibe. Stay tuned!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.