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As the famous saying goes ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’. What might seem beautiful to one person might not actually be beautiful to someone else.
However, beauty can just be a matter of perception and is often affected by ingrained factors like cultural beliefs, individual personalities, and even media influences. There are certain things that we can all agree are beautiful, and most of the come from nature.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 30 symbols of beauty, and the meanings behind them.
1. Calla Lily
Although the Calla lily is native to Africa, its name is derived from the Greek word ‘calla’ meaning beauty, and it symbolizes beauty and magnificence.
As a symbol of beauty, calla lilies are often used in weddings and other special occasions to represent purity, grace, and new beginnings. They also have a long history of use in art and literature, where they are often used to symbolize the beauty and fragility of life.
Aside from their symbolic meaning, calla lilies are admired for their understated beauty and versatility. They can be used in a wide range of floral arrangements, from minimalist bouquets to elaborate centerpieces, and are popular for their ability to complement any color scheme or design style.
2. The Swan
In Ancient Greece, the swan was viewed as a symbol of both beauty and grace. It was sacred to Apollo and Aphrodite who were both personifications of beauty in Greek mythology.
At the time, the Ancient Greeks believed that whenever someone died, the swan would sing a beautiful, sweet song, lamenting the death of the person.
It’s believed that the swan also reflects the longevity and power that’s possible when we become aware of the beauty and power within ourselves.
In China, jade is considered a royal gem, associated with beauty. The stone has been used in a variety of ways, from jewelry to carved figures and as amulets.
Jade is also regarded as a protective or lucky stone with lucky energy which is why it’s used around the world for making talismans and protective amulets.
Its lovely, translucent, and subtle colors are what make this gemstone symbolic of beauty. Whether admired for its aesthetic appeal or its deeper symbolic meaning, this precious gemstone is a reminder of the timeless and universal power of beauty.
Heather is commonly found growing in abundance on heathland and moorland. Native to Eurasia, heather flowers are available in several colors and each color has its own symbolism.
Usually, purple heather flowers are symbolic of beauty and admiration and they’re often used in bouquets and floral decorations. They’re also an excellent gift if you want to tell someone how beautiful and important they are to you.
Not only is heather a symbol of beauty but it’s also a symbol of attraction and romance due to its lovely fragrance.
Seashells have been a symbol of beauty for hundreds of years. They begin as a protective outer part of the body of sea creatures but are later found on the seashore completely lifeless and vacant.
They’re the remains of something that was once alive and represent the beauty that’s left behind following a death.
Some say that seashells resonate with the perception of beauty since every single one is unique and different from the other, and made by a different creature.
Aside from beauty, seashells also symbolize life and death which was a common belief in many religions since prehistoric times. They later began to be used as jewelry since they’re believed to bring out the beauty of the wearer.
6. The Girdle
The girdle is a type of form-fitting undergarment, which extends below the hip and is usually worn by women to improve one’s shape or support the body.
He was overjoyed to have the goddess of beauty as his wife and made her an undergarment shaped like a saltire, which accentuated her bossom, making her all the more beautiful and irresistible to men.
Throughout history, women have worn the girdle to obtain the desired figure and become more attractive to men. Today, the girdle isn’t worn as much but remains a popular symbol of feminine beauty as viewed by society.
The reason that orchids have become symbolic of beauty is the stunning beauty of the flowers and the symmetry of their leaves and stems. Their colors are unique and they’re often described as the most beautiful flowers in existence.
Some associate it with fertility and virility, believing that if a pregnant woman eats a small orchid with its roots and stems, her baby would be a beautiful girl and if the father of the child were to eat it, the child would be a handsome boy.
8. The Butterfly
The butterfly starts its life as a worm and then transforms itself into a stunning winged creature. This makes it the perfect symbol of transformation, hope, and beauty, regardless of one’s circumstances.
Throughout history, artists have often included butterflies in their paintings to add a touch of beauty and feminity to them, butterflies represent the positive characteristics of women and nature.
In China, when the butterfly is depicted in combination with plum blossoms, it represents both beauty and long life.
9. The Peacock
The peacock is a proud and dignified bird that symbolizes beauty and sophistication. In the Hindu religion, the feathers of the peacock are often compared to the feathers of an angel.
These beautiful birds with their lovely, striking colors are a reminder to us that something so beautiful can’t be created by the human hand but is a gift from nature.
It’s also often associated with royalty and luxury and has been featured in art and literature throughout history.
The peacock is also admired for its grace and agility. Its elegant movements and regal posture make it a captivating sight to behold and have inspired countless artists and designers over the years.
Pearls are among the most popular gems around that have a serene beauty and complement other flashier gems beautifully.
As a symbol of beauty, pearls are often associated with purity, grace, and sophistication. They are commonly featured in jewelry, clothing, and other decorative items, and are prized for their unique and natural beauty.
However, they also have a certain elegance about them that gives them the ability to stand on their own. They’ve also been used in powder form in medicines, cosmetics, and paint formulations.
The mirror is a symbol of beauty that reflects not only our physical appearance but also our inner selves. From ancient times, mirrors have been used to convey the importance of physical appearance and self-reflection.
In some cultures, mirrors are believed to have mystical powers and are used in spiritual practices to reveal hidden truths about ourselves. In interior design, mirrors are commonly used to create the illusion of more space and light, enhancing the overall beauty of a room.
In the realm of beauty and fashion, red has always been a bold and powerful choice. A red lipstick or dress can make a statement of confidence and glamour. In art, red is often used to convey passion and intensity, as well as warmth and energy.
In nature, the color red can be found in many beautiful forms, such as vibrant flowers and sunsets. It’s a symbol of the power and vitality of life, and evokes feelings of passion and desire.
In ancient Greek mythology, the dolphin was associated with the god of the sea, Poseidon, and was believed to be a messenger and protector of sailors.
In modern times, dolphins continue to inspire us with their beauty and intelligence, and have become a symbol of conservation and protection of marine life.
Dolphins have also been depicted in art and literature, often representing freedom and joy. They have been used as a symbol of friendship and loyalty, as well as a reminder to live in the moment and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
With its tall stem and bold, trumpet-shaped blooms, the amaryllis is a symbol of beauty and elegance. In Greek mythology, the amaryllis was said to have sprung from the blood of a beautiful shepherdess named Amaryllis, who had fallen in love with a shepherd named Alteo.
Despite her attempts to win his heart with her beauty and song, Alteo remained uninterested, and Amaryllis ultimately sacrificed herself by piercing her heart with a golden arrow. From her blood grew a stunning flower that bore her name.
Today, the amaryllis is commonly associated with beauty and femininity and is often used in floral arrangements for weddings and other special events. Its bold colors and striking appearance make it a popular choice for gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike.
15. Cherry blossom
The fleeting and ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossom has captivated artists, poets, and lovers alike for centuries.
But aside from beauty, this flower’s short-lived existence reminds us to cherish the present moment and appreciate the transience of life. The cherry blossom’s blooming period is short, lasting only a few weeks, but during that time, it creates a breathtaking spectacle that draws people from all over the world.
This symbol of beauty also represents new beginnings, hope, and renewal. Its emergence from the barren winter landscape signals the start of a new cycle of life. The cherry blossom’s beauty is not just skin deep; it represents the transformative power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit.
But the lotus’s beauty goes beyond its symbolism. Its ability to grow in muddy waters and emerge clean and unblemished is a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and emerging stronger and more beautiful than before.
The lotus is also prized for its medicinal properties, with extracts from the plant used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Its beauty and practical uses make the lotus a truly remarkable symbol of natural beauty and resilience.
From brilliant sunsets to dazzling starry nights, the sky offers a canvas of endless beauty.
In many cultures, the sky is associated with spirituality and the divine. It’s seen as a connection to a higher power and a source of inspiration and hope. The sky’s colors and patterns are often interpreted as omens or signs, with some cultures using them to predict the weather or make important decisions.
The beauty of the sky is not just in its appearance, but also in its ability to evoke emotions and inspire us to dream and explore. It is a symbol of hope, wonder, and the boundless possibilities of the universe.
The rose is arguably the most recognizable symbol of beauty. Its velvety petals and sweet fragrance have been admired for centuries, and it’s widely used in art, literature, and culture around the world.
The rose has a long and rich history, with fossil evidence dating back millions of years. It’s been used for medicinal purposes, in cosmetics, and perfumes for centuries.
In addition to its physical beauty, the rose has also been used to symbolize political power and revolution.
The history of fireworks dates back to ancient China where they were used in religious ceremonies and as a form of entertainment. They later became a popular addition to celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and festivals.
But fireworks are more than just a way to celebrate. They’re also a symbol of hope and new beginnings. In some cultures, they’re believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.
They can create a sense of awe and wonder, inspiring us to dream and imagine what’s possible. They bring people together in celebration, reminding us of the importance of connection and community.
The diamond’s beauty and symbolism make it a fascinating symbol of human culture and the desire for beauty and luxury. Its sparkling brilliance and rarity make it a coveted gemstone for jewelry and other decorative items.
Diamonds are also a symbol of love and commitment, with diamond engagement rings being a popular tradition in many cultures.
The diamond has a long history of association with royalty and wealth, and it continues to be a symbol of status and affluence today.
A popular symbol of beauty, the rainbow is also often associated with hope and positivity, representing the promise of a new beginning after a storm.
It’s also been used as a symbol of diversity and inclusion, with its many colors representing the beauty of different backgrounds and experiences coming together.
Beyond its symbolic meaning, the rainbow’s beauty lies in its rarity and fleeting nature. To witness a rainbow is to be reminded of the magic and wonder of the natural world, and to appreciate the beauty of the present moment.
The snowflake is widely considered a symbol of beauty, representing the intricate and delicate patterns of nature. No two snowflakes are alike, each one is uniquely formed through a combination of temperature and humidity.
The beauty of snowflakes goes beyond their individual appearance, as they also evoke a sense of wonder and nostalgia. Snowflakes bring to mind cozy winter days, hot cocoa by the fire, and the joy of playing in the snow.
The snowflake has also been used as a symbol of individuality and uniqueness, with its intricate design representing the beauty of diversity. This symbolism has inspired art, literature, and culture, reminding us of the beauty of our differences and the wonder of the natural world.
23. Tribal Tattoos
Tribal tattoos, especially those from New Zealand, are a powerful symbol of beauty and cultural heritage. Known as “ta moko,” these tattoos are traditionally created using chisels and ink, and their designs have deep cultural significance.
In Maori culture, ta moko is a way to tell one’s life story, with each line and pattern representing important moments and relationships. The tattoos also represent one’s status and identity within the tribe.
Today, tribal tattoos have become popular around the world, with many people drawn to their bold designs and symbolism. However, it’s important to remember that these tattoos are deeply rooted in cultural tradition and should be respected as such.
24. Long, Stretched Earlobes
Long stretched earlobes, also known as ear gauges or plugs, are a unique and striking symbol of beauty and self-expression.
This practice has a long history in many cultures around the world, with some of the earliest examples dating back thousands of years.
Even today, stretched earlobes have become a popular fashion trend, with people using a variety of materials and techniques to create unique and eye-catching designs.
For some, the practice represents a connection to tradition and cultural heritage, while for others, it’s simply a way to express themselves and stand out from the crowd.
25. Lip Plates
The practice of wearing lip plates is most commonly associated with the Mursi and Surma tribes of Ethiopia and South Sudan, where it’s a rite of passage and a sign of beauty and status.
Lip plates are typically made of clay or wood and are inserted into a pierced hole in the lower lip. The plates can be large and elaborate, sometimes stretching the lip to several inches in diameter. Sometimes, the lower front teeth are removed to make the process easier.
While some see the practice as a beautiful and meaningful expression of cultural identity, others view it as a form of body modification that is extreme and potentially harmful.
As with any cultural practice, it’s important to approach it with respect and understanding, recognizing its historical and cultural significance while also considering its potential impact on individuals and communities.
26. The Neck
The neck is typically considered a symbol of beauty and elegance, with a long and slender neck often seen as desirable. For those in the Kayan tribe in Thailand, a woman’s neck is considered the most important aspect of her figure.
Because of this perspective, women wear brass rings around their necks which help to elongate them. Over the years, they add more rings, until they have a tall stack of rings forcing their neck to remain elongated.
Not only is the neck a canvas for jewelry and accessories, but it’s also a symbol of vulnerability and trust. When we bare our necks, we’re showing a sign of submission and surrender. That’s why it’s such an important symbol in art, literature, and culture.
Some cultures even have neck rings or necklaces that are worn as a sign of status or tradition, emphasizing the beauty and importance of the neck.
27. Sand Dunes
Sand dunes are a stunning natural wonder that can be found in deserts and along coastlines all over the world. They’re not just piles of sand, but rather a symbol of beauty and resilience.
The way the sand dunes shift and change over time is a reminder of the power of nature and the passage of time. Some people even say that walking on the dunes is like walking on a living, breathing creature.
Beyond their natural beauty, sand dunes also have a cultural significance. In some cultures, they’re seen as sacred places, with rituals and traditions tied to their existence.
Pomegranates are more than just a delicious fruit – they’re also a symbol of beauty and fertility. In many cultures throughout history, the pomegranate has been revered as a symbol of life, renewal, and abundance.
The vibrant red color of the pomegranate is often associated with passion and vitality, while its many seeds represent fertility and the potential for new life.
Some ancient cultures even believed that eating pomegranate seeds could grant immortality or bring good luck.
The angel is a powerful symbol of beauty, grace, and divine protection, reminding us of the beauty and goodness that can be found in the world, and inspiring us to be our best selves.
In many religions, angels are seen as messengers of God, sent to watch over and protect humanity. They represent the highest ideals of beauty and goodness, inspiring us to aspire to greater heights of compassion, kindness, and grace.
The beauty of angels also extends to their role as guardians, protecting us from harm and providing comfort and reassurance during times of need.
Many people believe that they have a personal guardian angel watching over them, offering guidance and support through life’s challenges.
Sunsets are a timeless symbol of beauty that can inspire awe and wonder in anyone who takes the time to watch them. The colors of a sunset are a stunning display of nature’s beauty, with hues of orange, pink, purple, and gold blending together to create a truly magical moment.
Beyond their aesthetic appeal, sunsets also have a powerful symbolic meaning. They represent the end of one day and the beginning of a new one, reminding us to appreciate the beauty of the present moment and embrace the possibilities of tomorrow.
Watching a sunset can be a peaceful and calming experience, helping to ground us in the beauty and majesty of the natural world. It’s a reminder that, no matter how busy or hectic our lives may be, there’s always time to stop and appreciate the simple things in life.
Beauty does, indeed, lie in the eyes of the beholder, and what’s considered beautiful varies around the world. From symbols in the natural world to cultural symbols of beauty, the above list demonstrates that there’s no single way to represent beauty.
Since beauty is something that’s constantly changing, it’s likely that new symbols associated with beauty will spring up in the future.
However, for the moment, these are some of the most common symbols that you’d find associated with beauty.