Jewels of Love, Romance and Eternity

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Romance, love and courtship are as universal as the jewels they inspire. Inscriptions, lovers' knots, billing doves, flowers and gemstones with secret messages are worn as expressions of desire and passion…

  • Learn from our world-class experts wherever, whenever: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time.

  • Time to explore: 12 hours of lectures over six weeks.

  • Consolidate your learning: download lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials from our secure Microsoft Teams learning environment.

  • Join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

  • Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials are available for six weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a minute.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Beatriz Chadour-Sampson

Course Leader
Beatriz Chadour-Sampson

Beatriz Chadour-Sampson is an international jewellery historian, author and lecturer. She was consultant curator to the redesigning of the William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery and guest curator of the V&A's 'Pearls' exhibition. Today she is consultant curator of the Alice and Louis Koch Collection at the Swiss National Museum, Zurich.

V&A online courses are such a find! Amazing course. Thank you! Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

While love and romance remain timeless, jewellery expressing these sentiments has evolved and changed over time. Jewels were given as tokens of affection to a loved one or to mark the union between two people. Many practices of today associated with marriage, like engagement, dowries and contracts, go back to Antiquity. The Ancient Romans were the first to introduce the giving of a betrothal ring as a promise of taking the vow. The course will explore when diamonds became symbols of virtue and constancy and were worn as engagement or wedding rings, and other gemstones as emblems of desire and passion. Inscriptions with love declarations were often hidden inside rings, only known to the giver and recipient. Animals became metaphors for love and loyalty, whilst the language of flowers was a way of exchanging sentiments. Cupids, lover’s knots, doves and the many guises of the Roman goddess of love Venus conveyed romance. The heart, synonymous with affection and the seat of emotions, continues to be the most popular of all love motifs. The jewellers’ limitless imagination through the centuries will form the basis of discussion, as also the changing rituals.


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Online course: Jewels of Love, Romance and Eternity

13 January 2023 - 17 February 2023


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)