Are you trying to decide what rose color to give someone and thinking of pink roses? Or did you get a bouquet full of beautiful pink roses, but want to know where they came from or what the sender might mean? While often eclipsed in modern thought by red roses, pink roses actually have a rich history of their own and can be used to convey a number of meanings.
The Meaning of Pink Roses
Just as different colors of roses can have different meanings, so can different shades of pink roses.
- Dark Pink roses can be used to say thank you or otherwise express appreciation.
- Pale pink roses are a symbol of gentle admiration.
- Medium pink roses have several meanings. They can be used to represent first love and romantic intentions, but also can say “congratulations”, “get well soon”, or “sorry for your loss” depending on the context.
- Likewise, there is meaning implied by the number of roses given. A single pink rose conveys the message “I like you” while a dozen means “be mine”.
The History of Pink Roses
Pink roses, rather than red, are actually some of the oldest varieties of roses we are aware of today. The most common species of wild roses tend to be pink, and it’s thought that all varieties likely came from pink ancestors. Traces of pink rose petals have been found in fossils thought to be roughly 40 million years old.
The artistic expression of pink roses can be traced back to some of the earliest visual depictions still surviving. One excellent example is found in the beautiful Minoan frescoes from the House of the Frescoes at Knossos. Discovered in 1923 on the island of Crete, these frescoes are thought to be from roughly 1700 B.C. The pink roses depicted are simple varieties featuring five blush colored petals.
In the court of Napoleon, Empress Josephine Bonaparte had a particular fondness for roses of all sorts. She collected over 250 varieties in her garden at Malmaison, and pink roses were featured heavily among them. Today we have a record of her beautiful collection thanks to Pierre-Joseph Redoute’s watercolor book, Les Roses. In it he documented 117 varieties of rose blooms, many of them pink.