Typical Valentine cards of the period were designed to prominently feature a red heart much like the present day. Lovers who really wished to send a message gave cards that were printed on lace paper and decorated with hand-painted cupids, flowers, hearts and arrows. The cards were further beautified with the addition of borders and inside dividers made of lace, satin, silk or chiffon. Greater love and ardor was demonstrated by giving larger and more elaborate cards.
Novelty Valentines were another method for lovers to signal their feelings. These cards were designed to capture the attention and interest of the recipient. They were made with a slot to hold a lock of hair or a tiny mirror. Some were designed to resemble paper money with an inscription, “Drawn on the Bank of Love.” Other cards were decorated with intricate designs or drawings done in fine watercolor or delicate pen and ink. Those with artistic talent created small works of art by inscribing and signing the card in beautiful flowing handwriting which was a much appreciated form of art at the time.
Among other novelty Valentines was the puzzle purse. A square of paper folded in a convoluted manner with verses written on their many folds. The recipient had to unfold the paper a fold at a time without tearing it and read the verses in order.
The love knot valentine was made by drawing a confusing series of loops, circles or hearts with tiny words written in a linear order alongside the lines. The recipient amused themselves determining where the message began and what it said by following the words along the intersecting lines of the love knot.
In addition to cards, gloves were a very romantic gift. Generally the gloves would be real while at other times they would be tiny gloves made from paper or cloth and attached to the Valentine card.