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    Martlesham Antiques

    Period Homes & Interiors

    Valentine. Buy a gift that will last forever

    Posted by Gillian Jones on 04/02/2017

    Valentine. Buy a gift that will last forever

    Valentine’s Day and those famous cards

    It’s amazing how quickly this time of year comes around again. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and you’re going to be thinking hard about what to buy your loved one on that special day. You’ll also be looking for a card, something that conveys a message really well, unfortunately a lot of mass made cards today are a little cheesy to say the least. You might like them, but for many they’re a little repetitive and the cards too much like the last one you picked up.

    Valentine’s Day – it’s an old tradition

    As you may know sending Valentine’s cards is nothing new and dates back many centuries, with the earliest surviving Valentine’s messages dating back to the 15th century. However, these cards were usually in the form of short poems and letters, and it wasn’t until the 19th century with the development of sophisticated printing techniques that we got the type of Valentine’s cards we recognise today. They would eventually become ubiquitous throughout the western world, with big brand names creating mass produced stock designs.

    19th century Valentine’s cards were far more interesting

    In many ways, the Victorian Valentine’s cards were far more sophisticated than the ones we have now. They often incorporated paper lace and illustrations with exquisite detail. As the 19th century continued, the card industry grew and with a cheaper postal system, cards were starting to become mass-produced with varying results. Colours were clumsy until the development of lithography, and the paper on which they were printed was thinner.

    Rimmel and those beautifully detailed cards

    However, there was hope, Eugene Rimmel worked on a card collection which included much more sophisticated detail. He was a parfumier and yes, the name is familiar, he was the creator of the Rimmel make up brand. The cards were exquisite, with fabrics, tinsel and feathers used to decorate each detailed card, which were all different from each other. They weren’t cheap, but if you wanted to make an impression on your lover, it was a price worth paying.

    Valentine’s cards continued to be mass produced

    From then onwards Valentine’s cards continued to be mass produced, with each decade reflecting the styles and fashions of that particular era. Even by today’s standards, they’re still far more interesting than the ones we have today, and far more original, from cutsey and sweet to demure and colourful. In the 1960s it wouldn’t be unusual to see a Valentine’s card with a person smoking, until a warning on the dangers of smoking from the Surgeon General’s office scuppered that idea. In the 70s we had the long-haired lovers on the back of a bicycle and the 80s was all about pac man and cutsey bears in a mug.

    Today’s cards are a little boring in comparison to those earlier cards, but some companies are trying to make them more interesting by allowing you to create them online with your own captions and pictures, so the cards are more original and authentic.

    Why not simply make your own?

    And of course, you can always make your own. You can add a little nostalgia by using materials and fabrics to add that little bit of magic, a little of the Rimmel magic using your own imagination, it’s probably far better than what you’d get shelves. Wher


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