True Love Knot – What Does It Symbolize?

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Since ancient times, knots have been used to symbolize love and union. Even today, knots feature in marriage rituals around the globe, and in artwork and jewelry. The simple design and fluidity of the knot lends itself to the fashion world while its symbolism elevates its purpose. Let’s take a look at the symbolism of knots in relation to love, and at one type of knot in particular – the true love knot (also called the true lover’s knot).

The History of Knots and Love

Since ancient times, knots have been associated with love, union and the concept of eternal and unbreakable love. In many cultures, knots feature in marriage rituals as a symbol of an unbreakable bond:

  • In Hindu marriages, tying of the thaali(the sacred thread) is the most important ritual. The groom ties the thaali around the bride’s neck with exactly three knots. Only once this is done are the two regarded as husband and wife.
  • The handfasting ritual dates back to Medieval times and although it’s attributed to the Celts, the Vikings used it to. Here a couple’s commitment to each other is signified by tying their hands together with braid. This ritual is still common, especially among non-religious couples looking for a symbolic representation of their bond. It’s from this practice that the phrase tying the knot originates.

In the 1800s, sailors would typically wear a love knot to remember their loved ones when they went away. Some would weave love knot bracelets out of rope or twine and give these to their loved ones to keep as a memento to remember them. Eventually, this practice resulted in the birth of love knot jewelry, which remains as popular today as ever.

Knots also featured commonly in ancient art and sculpture, often portrayed in ancient Greek jewelry, Egyptian sculptures, and Celtic decorative items.

What is the True Love Knot?

A true love knot is made of two overhand knots tied in opposite directions to each other, resulting in an interlinking of the two.

Overhand knots are one of the most fundamental types of knots, typically used as the basis for more complex knots.

Overhand vs true lover's knot styles side by side

Overhand knot vs. true love knot

There are many variations to the true love knot, depending on the way in which the overhand knots are interwoven and how the final arrangement looks.

The image below shows the step-by-step process of tying the traditional version of the true love knot:

True love knot instructions


Meaning and Symbolism of Love Knots

Knots have been a popular symbol of love and marriage for centuries, with variations of knots used around the globe to symbolize eternal love. The phrase ‘tying the knot’ literally means to get married.

The true love knot, in the same way, symbolizes the following:

  • An unbreakable bond
  • Eternal connection
  • Unity
  • Two separate parts interconnecting to become a whole
  • Loyalty
  • Love and passion
  • Steadfastness

These are all necessary characteristics of any relationship, which is why the true love knot is popular among lovers, families and close friends.

True Love Knot in Jewelry and Fashion

The love knot is one of the most popular themes in jewelry and other decorative items for its symbolism as well as beautiful design.

In modern jewelry designs, knots often feature quite commonly. They’re favored in rings and bracelets, as the knot design perfectly suits the circular shape of these jewelry types. However, knots can also be found as earrings, pendants and charms.

True love rings, are sometimes used as promise or engagement rings. These are ideal for someone looking for a meaningful yet dainty piece of jewelry.

Knot jewelry are a favorite among friends, family and couples due to their symbolism. They make for meaningful gifts for special occasions, including birthdays, Valentine’s, anniversaries, graduations and engagements.

In Brief

The true love knot has existed for millennia, indicating the everlasting love between two individuals. This symbol may not be as glamorous as other symbols of love, like the diamond, but its just as meaningful and charming as any other symbol out there.

If you’re interested in other popular knot symbols, check out our articles on the Gordian knot and Celtic knots.


Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.

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