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What’s Your Birth Flower? Our Newest Mother’s Ring is Here

Birth Flower Ring

Our newest Mother's Ring with birth flower inlay. You can order a birth flower ring using this form. Note that all of our custom ring orders take approximately 5-6 weeks to handcraft. The last day to order this ring in time for Mother's Day is April 4th. With expediting, you can order by April 25th.

Even though it just snowed here in Chicago (insert ugly-cry here), we've got all the spring feels because the studio is blanketed with drying flowers. We just designed a new Mother's Ring, in time for Mother's Day, that incorporates birth flowers as inlays. What's a birth flower, you ask? Well, we've compiled a list of flowers from the Old Farmer's Almanac and provided you with some insight into flower meanings and the history of birth flower attributes. 

A Short History of Flower Meanings

According to Gertrude Jones, who wrote a book entitled Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore, and Symbols in 1962, the ancient Romans were one of the first to celebrate birthdays and they did so by gifting dedicated flowers.

In the 18th century, Lady Mary Wortely Montagu (pictured below), introduced the "language of flowers" to British high-society and, thus, flower meanings took on permanent significance in the west (Loy, 2015).

Lady Wortley Montagu

Birthflowers

Carnation


Carnations symbolize women and love. Different colored carnations indicate different feelings. For example: red means "My heart aches" or intense admiration; white references innocence, pure love, and good luck; pink means "I'll never forget you"; yellow apparently indicates rejection or disappointment.

In Victorian times, carnations were used to send secret messages. A solid color carnation meant "Yes," a striped carnation means "I'm sorry but I can't be with you", and yellow means "No".

The ancient Aztec Indians used carnations in a tea as a diuretic and to treat chest congestion. 

Carnation : January's Birthflower

Violet : February Birthflower

Violet


It's no surprise that violets are a symbol of delicate love. These velvety flowers are whisper-thin and very fragile. Violets also indicate affection, modesty, faithfulness, dignity, and nobility (purple is a color often associated with royalty). 

Violets, in the Christian tradition, represent the Virgin Mary. They are also indicative of symbolic death and resurrection because these flowers were used by the Romans in funeral rites

Daffodil ~ Narcissus


The etymology of the taxonomic name, narcissus, derives from the greek mythological character who was so in love with his own reflection he drowned in it. It is believed that these beautiful flowers were given this name because they grow naturally on river and stream banks, with their heads bowing to their own reflection. However, in modern times, daffodils are commonly associated with spring and renewal.

The cheery daffodil appears when spring is fast approaching. Daffodils brighten everything around them with their golden, yellow hue. These flowers represent prosperity, bounty, rebirth, renewal, good luck, happiness, clarity, and inspiration.

March Birthflower : Daffodil

April Birthflower : Daisy

Daisy


Following soon after the daffodil, daisies flower when spring has fully arrived. Daisies symbolize innocence and hope, but it is also a flower that indicates discretion between lovers--as in "Can you keep a secret?" In the Victorian era, daisies represented loyalty. 

Daisies appear like miniature suns in the grass and, in the evening, tiny stars. These flowers grow all year round and are naturally resistant to pests. The name daisy comes from an Old English word meaning "day's eye" because the flowers open in the day after closing at night. Daisies are apparently around 4,000 years old! These flowers have been painted and used as decoration in Medieval paintings, Egyptian vessels, and Minoan hair accessories. 

Lily of the Valley


​This fragrant flower symbolizes sweetness, humility, and a return to happiness. It is also said to bring luck in love. Part of the taxonomic name of this flower, majalis, means "of or belonging to mary." In the Christian tradition, this flower is said to have originated from the Virgin Mary's tears. Also, according to old astrological records, this plant has been placed under the ascendancy of Mercury--which passes across the sun in either May or November. 

May Birthflower : Lily of the Valley
June Birthflower : Rose

Rose


Roses have perhaps the most infamous cultural significance. Like carnations, different colored roses have a different meaning: pink means love, gratitude, appreciation, grace, gentleness, and sympathy; yellow indicates "Get Well", friendship, and joy; lavender symbolizes enchantment, mystery, and love at first sight; white means purity and spirituality--interestingly white roses used to be an indication of true love which is now symbolized by the color red, which has been used throughout history to indicate passion (in politics and religion). 

This sweet, edible flower has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Rosehips are often crushed with sugar to create a preserve, rich in vitamin C. The fragrance of this flower is justifiably popular and the flower has a long history of cultivation in gardens. 

Larkspur


Larkspur is associated with openheartedness and romance. Like carnations and roses, the colors of larkspur flowers hold different meanings: pink represents fickleness, white signifies a happy-go-lucky nature, and purple represents a sweet disposition.

According to Native American lore, larkspur got its name from a celestial being who sent down a spike of the sky with which to climb down to the earth. The rays of the sun dried the spike and scattered it in the wind--wherever these pieces touched the ground the larkspur flower grows. 

The poisonous larkspur flower is used in botanical applications for fragrance in candles and aromatherapy. It is also used by some to dispel ghosts and spirits. 

July Birthflower : Larkspur
August Birthflower : Gladiolus

Gladiolus


Gladiolus flowers indicate strength of character, infatuation, and "never give up." These flowers are sometimes referred to as sword flowers because of their impressive height and shape. Gladioli, in Roman times, were commonly associated with gladiators. In this way, gladioli signify moral integrity. These flowers can grow up to six feet tall in optimal conditions. 

Aster


According to FTD.com, it’s said that the aster was created by the tears of the Greek goddess, Astraea. One day, she was so upset by how few stars there were in the dark sky, that she began to cry. As she wept, her tears fell to the ground and turned into star-shaped aster flowers. Thus, the flower was named after her, with aster meaning star. 

Another interpretation is that asters were created when Virgo scattered stardust over the Earth. Where the stardust settled, aster flowers bloomed. The aster is also an emblem of Venus, the goddess of love.

Aster flowers are known to be drought resistant, so they are excellent for desert landscaping. The aster is actually made up of many smaller flowers surrounded by another set of larger petals. 

In Chinese culture, asters are thought to cure many different ailments and can aid respiratory diseases and problems with circulation. 

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September Birthflower : Aster
October Birthflower : Marigold

Marigold


Again, FTD.com states that the first recorded cultivation of marigolds began with the Aztecs, who believed that the sunny flower possessed magical properties. Spanish conquistadors took these marigolds back with them to Spain where they were grown in monasteries.

From here, marigolds spread throughout Europe, and ultimately the rest of the world. Throughout history, marigolds have been used as dyes and as culinary ingredients, as well as a cure for many health ailments. In Mexico and Latin America, marigolds are used as a primary decoration for All Saints Day, where altars are embellished with these bright orange flowers. Today, the marigold is one of the most popular flowers in the United States.

With a bloom time that spans nearly the entire year, this October flower blooms from spring to fall and are one of the hardiest fall flowers. Avid gardeners plant marigolds due to their ability to repel insects and pests. Additionally, their odor can repel bacterial growth within the soil, keeping it healthy and nutritious for other plants.

Marigolds, or gendu, are widely used in Indian wedding celebrations. Lord Vishnu and his wife Goddess Lakshmi, the ideal couple, are worshipped with marigolds. Hence, using the same at weddings is symbolic of the divine blessings to the newlywed couple for a prosperous life ahead. Marigolds are also considered to be representative of the sun. Thus, they symbolize brightness and positive energy to be bestowed on the couple.

Chrysanthemum


​According to Teleflora, chysanthemums are symbol of the sun. The Japanese consider the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum's petals to represent perfection, and Confucius once suggested they be used as an object of meditation. It's said that a single petal of this celebrated flower placed at the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a long and healthy life. 

Flowermeaning.com suggests that the Chrysanthemum is far more versatile than many other decorative flowers. While they don’t provide a very strong smell when growing, there’s a delicate and sweet aroma released when certain types are used for food. Chinese cooks add the blooms to soups and stir fries that need a hint of floral to balance out more strongly flavored or musky ingredients. The greens are also used for brightening up salads and fried dishes. You can try your hand at making your own sweetly scented Chrysanthemum tea if you have access to flowers that were never treated with pesticides. Speaking of pesticides, organic pyrethins are extracted from this plant to keep bugs away from people, pets, and plants. NASA studies even found potted Chrysanthemums improve air quality. 

The Old Farmer's Almanac associates this flower with abundance, cheerfulness, and friendship. 

November Birthflower : Chrysanthemum
Paperwhite : December Birthflower

Paperwhites ~ Narcissus


December's birth flower is a variation of March's daffodil. Paperwhites are part of the family of narcissus flowers and thus have the same etymology as daffodils. However, given that paperwhites are often grown indoors from bulbs, these flowers represent resilience, confidence, and sweetness in the darkest points of the year. Paperwhites grow and bloom easily in nothing more than water and proper drainage. White Flower Farm offers tips on how to grow these flowers indoors: place a layer of stones or beach glass at the bottom of a vase, next arrange the paperwhite bulbs in a layer with their roots facing down, leave the tops of the bulbs exposed and fill the vessel with water right up to the base of the bulb (be sure not to let the actual bulb sit in water or they will rot). 

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Mother’s Wood Rings

Mother's Day is fast approaching, and we have the perfect ring for a Mother or Mother-to-be. We have taken the concept from Birthwood and came up with the design for a ring that is centered around a mother and her child or multiple children. 

The Mother's Ring is the idea that you would take a mother's birthwood and use it as the base wood for a ring, then inlay the birthstones of however many children she has in the center. You can use this idea for a grandmother, mother, sister, wife, or any woman in your life who has children. This is also a perfect ring for men as Father's Day approaches!

Mother's Ring using Birthwood Willow and inlays of Opal and Black Pearl 

Another way you can make a ring for your mother, grandmother, or wife is by using the concept from our Sitting in a Tree Ring. This ring uses the birthwood that represents the anniversary of the couple as the base wood, then has inlays of the birthwoods that represent the parents sandwiching inlays of the children's birthstones in the center. 

Sitting in a Tree Ring with Cherry as the base wood, with inlays of Walnut, Imperial Topaz, Amethyst, and Pine.

​Both ideas make for a very unique present to give the woman in your life! If you order your Mother's Ring between now and May 8th, you will receive a free container of ring balm and an extra special surprise. If you do want to receive the ring by Mother's Day, make sure to get your order in by March 31st!


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A Sweet Hero of a Ring

A Sweet Hero of a Ring

There’s something about this ring that reminds us of the magical, the mythical, the fairy tale, the legendary. It’s a ring that unlocks, that graces a hero, that signifies unseen strength and depth.

It reminds us of the feeling you get in your chest, the embrace and tension, right before doing good: committing acts of kindness, making other peoples’ lives better in some small or large way. It’s the enjoyment of humanity and the collective.

Yowza!

Yes, we admit it. We are total and utter Romantic ring nerds. And we’re proud.

Want to be a ring nerd? Discover your magic in the shop!

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An Australian Wedding with Our Rosewood Rings, courtesy Photog James Day

“I Photograph People In Love”

Day messaged us to show us the beautiful images he’d taken of Kris and Brooke, two of our clients who recently wedded with a pair of our rosewood rings.

Rosewood Rings, courtesy Photog James Day
credit: James Day

You can see more of Kris and Brooke’s wedding, and James Day’s outrageously excellent work, here.

We love seeing where our rings end up! If you have one of our rings, we’d love to see a professional ceremony shot, amateur snap, or recent selfie. Show us your be’ringed adventures! Show us the work in beautiful motion! Email amanda (at) gustavreytes (dot) com with your shots and we’ll post them here!

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On Willows, on a Hot Spring Day

“… I do not know the dreams from which I have come,/sent into the world without the blessing of a kiss, behind the/willow trees, beside the darkened pansies on the deck beside/the ships, rocking, I have written this, across the back of the/sky, wearing a small and yellow shirt, near the reptile house,/mammalian, no bigger than the herd…”

The Bridge by Lisa Jarnot

Simply Wood Rings Willow Engagement Ring
A willow engagement ring from Simply Wood Rings

It’s warm and humid in the studio today and so we’ve been thinking a lot about thirst. A willow tree thrives best at the edge of the water, working hard, stretching its roots outward for sustenance. Perhaps it’s all the heat, but we totally “get” where the willow is coming from today.

Across global cultures, the thirsty willow has been a symbol for keeping in touch with our kindred history and those that came before. Its leaves were used by the ancient Egyptians to control pain, a precursor to modern aspirin. A willow soothes and connects. Because of this, a willow ring is a wonderful way to honor special moments, relationships, and lives, and we think our engagement-profile willow ring says a big, joyous thing in an elegant, quiet, design-forward way.

Our willow is sourced from our friends at Horigan Urban Forest, who found a fallen willow tree at a Skokie elementary school that had been loved a bit too much by the local kids. With its all-wood abstracted engagement profile, and warm honeyed tone, it’s a great fit for minimalists and romantics alike. And to fit this beauty of a ring to your life, we offer wood burning personalization. What could be better.

For now we’ll drink a big glass of water, remember last winter’s snow and ice, and be grateful for being right where we are.

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A Romantic Post About Bogwood

When we think of our bogwood rings, they bring to mind mizzle (mist + drizzle, a real and wonderful word) and mystery: a tree fallen into a peat bog and grown-over centuries ago, not petrified nor decayed, a sort of immortal thing, just beginning to be a fossil.

Young At Heart

Our “Young at Heart – Yang” ring.

As one of us said today: it’s easy to write a romantic blog post about bogwood, because bogwood is so romantic!

Indeed, what more do we want of our love than to hold it close, and feel it everlasting? Often in Ireland, bogwood logs — once of oak or pine, yew or cypress — are dredged from their wet climes and placed into piled cairns, meant to mark a trail. Or else a canny harvester looks for the last-left frost across the peat: wherever there is still frost, bogwood can be found below. Being such “new” people in the presence of such an old material makes us feel quite pleasantly agog. To wear such a ring unites us with the earth and everything. The bogwood rings, too, make us misty eyed, and remember the specialness of life, where we are coming from and where we are going, as Italo Calvino writes in Invisible Cities: “The city…does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”