Joan Rivers was born Alexandra Molinsky on 8th June 1933 in Brooklyn New York and died on 4th September 2014 in New York.  She had a long and varied career as a comedian, writer, actress, TV show host and producer.  In 1990 she began her jewellery collection working with the designer David Dangle.  The Joan Rivers jewellery collection was sold in association with the TV shopping channel QVC.  Over a period of 24 years 6,000 pieces of jewellery were designed and you can still buy Joan Rivers jewellery on QVC today.  There are many brooches in the collection which I find interesting as brooches during this period were losing their popularity. One of my favourite quotes from Joan Rivers is “I don’t exercise, if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.”

In 269 AD St Valentine was martyred in Rome for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry at the time.   The feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated every year on the 14th February.  Over a thousand years after St Valentine’s death the  first association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love was recorded in a poem ‘Parlement of Foules’ (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer

“For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make”

[“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]

The poem was written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia.

 

Richard II & Anne of Bohemia circa 1382 from Westminster Abbey Library

 

The first Valentines cards were sent in the late 18th century and were handmade.

Thought to be the first Valentines Card sent in 1790

It was not until the 19th century with industrialisation that commercial cards began to be produced.  Many of the designs are highly sentimental.

Though some were quite the opposite to romantic and sweet.