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You Gotta Have Heart

The most romantic of motifs, hearts are abundant at Valentine's Day, one of the year's biggest jewelry buying occasions. From simple to elaborate, myriad designs ensure there's a perfect gift of heart for daddy's little girl, a bride of 20 years and everyone in between.

If thinking about heart jewelry recalls gold lockets, let us show you how the shape has progressed beyond the traditional. Color has burst onto the heart scene, giving designers flexibility with the form and allowing buyers to strike a balance between caring and committed. Don't want to be too serious?

Enameled heart charms, in a rainbow of bright hues, add classy color to bracelets and neckwear, and enliven single and stackable rings. To step up the elegance and strengthen the statement, choose designs enhanced with pavé diamond hearts or bezels, gold bars or single center stones. Stylish accents can also come from colored diamonds, or holiday-inspired red and pink stones.

Of course, lockets are still a heart mainstay - simple gold, ornately jeweled, antique or Victorian - in styles suitable for everyday or evening wear. Engraved with a loving message and fit with a photo, a locket can be the ultimate intimate gift. The popular pendant, too, offers infinite versatility with single or multiple hearts that are fixed or floating, open or closed, free-form or symmetrical, bedecked in jewels or fashioned in precious metal. Diamonds and gemstones can highlight hearts in unlimited ways, from pavé or channel set outlines to single stones shining brightly from a sea of time-honored gold or sophisticated platinum. A more subtle use of the design is the heart-shaped stone.

A variation of the brilliant cut and similar to a pear in shape, the heart-shaped stone is ultra romantic and versatile, allowing more creative options than brilliant round cuts. Diamond earrings - already high on women's wish lists - become intrinsically romantic when the studs are heart-shape. In repeated patterns on bracelets and necklaces, as accents or centerpiece stones, heart-shaped gems are literally love light shining. Thoughtfully chosen, jewelry will always communicate love and joy to the wearer, and serve as a gateway to memories as precious as the piece.