LOVE IS IN THE AIR BECAUSE IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY AGAIN. Roses, Chocolates, Confectionery, Love Notes, Cards and even Diamonds given as engagement and wedding rings are exchanged on a mass scale on this day.
It’s all done in the name of love. Or is it?
This Valentine’s Day, we look around at some of the side stories that have helped fuel the commercialisation of love. You’d be surprised at what we found.
1 The Most Expensive Rose in the World: The Juliet Rose a.k.a. the “£3 million rose”
Roses. The symbol of passion, desire, beauty and love. And also fragrance. Think Beauty and the Beast. (Remake with Emma Watson is coming in March 2017!)
It’s All To Do With That Rose!
Or think Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll wrote the classic in 1865. The card “soldiers” in Alice’s Wonderland lost their heads for painting the Queen’s white roses red.
Fast forward to today and you will find that the bloom has endured the passage of time to remain the most beloved symbol of love until this very day. Despite the advances of horticulture and the varieties of roses that have been cultivated over the years, the tag for the most expensive rose ever developed still belongs to the Juliet Rose, otherwise known as the “£3 Million Rose”.
You see, it took flower breeder David Austin more than £3 million over a span of 15 years to painstakingly create this lovely peach and apricot-petaled bloom. The flower is so unique, the buds and petals are inside the flower as well as outside of it. Austin showcased his creation to the world at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 and the floral world was captivated forever.
The ever-delicate and elegant Juliet Rose has a beautiful light tea rose fragrance as well and today, it has evolved to become a popular choice for wedding bouquets. (Goes well for the lace and chiffon of wedding gowns). Of course, with commercial production of the variety, the Juliet Rose can now be had for far less than £3 million (RM16.5M) but it still remains an expensive flower nonetheless.
2 The Longest Marriage Ever Recorded: 91 years “till death did they part”
Okay, so this is not exactly about the business of love but the longevity of it. Daniel Frederick Bakeman and Susan Bakeman (maiden name: Brewer) hold the record for the longest married couple ever to have tied the knot since forever and a day. They were married on August 29th 1772 for 91 years and 12 days in total and had eight children. The marriage would have gone on if Susan hadn’t died on September 10th, 1863 at age 105. Daniel died at age 109 on April 5th 1869. Daniel also holds the trump card as the last surviving veteran of the American Revolutionary War in Wikipedia.
At the time of their marriage, Daniel was 12 years old and Susan was 14. (In those days, people got married early).
Over and closer to our time, the marriage listed as the Longest in wikipedia is between Karam Chand and wife Katari who celebrated their 90-year and 291-day wedding ceremony in 2016. Again, the marriage would have continued had Karam not died in 2016 at the age of 110, just weeks before his 111th birthday. The couple tied the knot in India in 1925 and moved to the UK 40 years later. They too have eight children and 27 grandchildren.
Here is a list of couples from Wikipedia with the Longest Marriages ever recorded:
3 The Largest Diamonds Ever Found: The ‘Lesedi La Rona’ at 1,109 carat is still on sale for US$70M (RM311M)
Nice diamonds up there in those rings don’t you think? Let’s start talking diamonds. You know what they say ─ “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”! It’s the best gift to express your love (Heh heh!). This Valentine’s Day, go grab one for her since the biggest diamond is still on sale.
According to Reuters, the biggest uncut diamond ever found this century was put on sale at a Sotheby’s auction in June 2016 but failed to get any takers. It’s therefore still available if you want it. The tennis ball sized 1,109 carat diamond found in Lucara’s mine in Botswana is estimated to cost US$70 million. It has been named Lesedi La Rona, which means “our light” in Botswana’s Tswana language.
Wikipedia said: “The diamond was found in the south lobe of Canadian company Lucara Diamond‘s Karowe Mine about 500km north of Gaborone in Botswana. The mine is located in the Letlhakane region, where three other diamond-producing kimberlite fields have mines named Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa, with the Debswana Diamond Company Ltd. The first diamond from the mine was retrieved in 2012. Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia are the world’s three top producers of mined diamonds.
In the months after its discovery the diamond was exhibited in a world tour in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, and Antwerp, Belgium, a major centre of the world diamond trade.”
The “Lesedi La Rona” however is not the biggest-ever diamond found. That record is held by the Cullinan Diamond found on 26th January, 1906, in a mine in Pretoria in South Africa. The weight of the diamond was 3,106.75 carats!!! It was actually 10.5cm long and was, well…massive.
The Cullinan Diamond, named after the mine’s owner Thomas Cullinan, is also called the “Great Star of Africa”. However it was Frederick Wells who actually found the stone.
One sunny afternoon in Pretoria, Wells saw something shining in the mine lying right there on its side and mistook it for glass. But on closer examination, he soon realized what a fabulous discovery he had made! Wells was paid £3,500 for his exceptional find. The government later bought the stone for £150,000 and decided to gift it to King Edward VII.
4 The Strangest Chocolates Ever Made: Here’s one made from Camel Milk
Get ready for the rarest and probably most expensive chocolates ever made: Al Nassma Camel Milk Chocolates.
These are the world’s first and finest camel milk chocolates guaranteed of their quality by Al Nassma of Dubai. The chocolates are manufactured in the Dubai facility and the camels are there as well ─ all 3,000 of them if not more. The camel farm is called Camelicious. The reviews of the chocolates have so far been fantastic. Of course they are only for the discerning as they use only the finest acacia honey, Bourbon vanilla, and the highest grade of cocoa beans and the milk has been exported all over the world including Vienna. They may be selling these chocolates at our KLIAs. If not, you can order them online.
Camel milk has long been seen as more nutritious then cow’s milk and in the Middle East, the milk is used as a panacea for curing everything from Autism to Diabetes.
But why do people give chocolates on Valentine’s Day? Because, according to The Fact Site, Chocolate is supposed to symbolise affection, attraction, deep love, luxury, passion and sensuality. Some scientists say chocolate is also an aphrodisiac. It increases the desire and energy levels while releasing pleasure endorphins.
Besides, in 1861, Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Thus, began the link between chocolate and Valentine’s Day giving rise to a new tradition.
.And there you have it ─ 4 Valentine’s Day stories (and gift ideas) you might want to think over before indulging.