Sailors’ Valentines

I love sailors’ valentines made of colorful seashells! I was reminded of this spread from Martha Stewart Living 2008 when I saw a recent article in Country Living also talking about Sailors’ Valentines. Sailors’ Valentines were first developed in the early 19th century by the women of Barbados. New England whalers purchased the artwork to bring back to their loved ones waiting at home. Typically, octagonal boxes were used to serve as frames for symmetrical and well-balanced compositions. The craftswomen would often include romantic phrases such as “Forget-me-not” and “Remember me”. Auction prices for antique valentines have topped $16,000.

Shown above are typical Sailors Valentines designed by Lynda Susan Hennigan, available for purchase on her website. Below are photos I took from the Martha spread (sorry so faded my scanner is broken) by shell artist, Amy Ramsey. A few other great resources: and Sailors’ Valentines: Their Journey Through Time.

Sailor Valentines: Martha Stewart 2008

Sailor Valentines: Martha Stewart 2008

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