Skip to Content

Top 23 Symbols of Beauty and Their Meanings

Top 23 Symbols of Beauty and Their Meanings

Who doesn’t love beauty? We love to feel beautiful ourselves. We love seeing it around us. We look for beauty on the outside as well as on the inside.

We search for beauty in nature, in science, even in relationships and special moments. Beauty adds color and vibrancy to our lives. 

And the most beautiful thing about beauty is that it has no fixed shape, color, or form. As the popular saying goes, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

It all depends on our own perception. Some people can find beauty in the most ordinary of things, while some people look for the rare and extraordinary. 

Regardless of how you define beauty in your life, there may come a time when you want to show it somehow or communicate it to someone else.

That’s why we’ve come up with this list of 23 symbols of beauty from all over the world, for when you want to make someone else or yourself feel beautiful.

Below are 23 of the most important symbols of beauty:

1. Swan (Ancient Greece)

A swan in a lake.
A swan as a symbol of beauty
Yerpo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The swan has been a significant symbol of beauty since ancient times. The creature simply exudes grace and elegance.

It makes many appearances in Greek mythology. According to some stories, a swan was sacred to Aphrodite and Apollo, who were considered the personification of beauty. 

Some say that swans circled the island when Apollo was born. Zeus also gifted his son a chariot drawn by swans.

Another myth also reports that Zeus transformed into a swan and seduced princess Leda.

Either way, the swan was considered a powerful and beautiful creature in ancient Greece. It was also often associated with love and poetry.

2. Jade (China)

A Gua Sha made of jade
Jade stones as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: pexels.com

Jade is a popular stone in China and in other parts of the world as well. However, its significance goes beyond its practical uses.

In Chinese culture, the stone is regarded as a symbol of beauty and status. 

Also called the stone of heaven, they have a popular saying that while gold is valuable, jade is priceless.

With its lovely and subtle color, the jade stone represents grace, beauty, royalty, and even good luck.

Accordingly, the stone is used in many places, from jewelry and amulets to figurines as well. They are used in making protective talismans as well.

3. Lip Plates (Ethiopia)

People with plates in their mouth.
Lip plates as a symbol of beauty
Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A more uncommon symbol of beauty found in the Mursi Tribe in Ethiopia is the lip plate.

These plates are worn by women to appear more beautiful and admirable to men who are looking for a bride.

In this tribe, the lip plate is an important symbol, and girls usually start wearing them as soon as they hit puberty. 

Over time, the size of the plate is increased according to how much a woman can accommodate.

Sometimes, women even remove their bottom teeth to make space for the plate. The larger the plate, the more beautiful the woman is considered.

4. Seashells (Universal)

A bunch of seashells.
Seashells as a symbol of beauty
Desarashimi1, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seashells represent beauty and uniqueness as every seashell is different from the rest and has its own unique design and charm.

They are created by the creatures that live inside them and gradually grow outward. With their stark yet subtle colors, seashells are considered feminine, graceful, and impressive. 

Consequently, many people use these shells in many ways, such as making jewelry out of them or even just using them as decorative items around their houses.

It can help add beauty to not just a person but a home as well. Besides that, seashells also represent life and death as the creatures leave them behind, vacant and lifeless.

5. Peacock (Universal)

A peacock.
A peacock as a symbol of beauty
Jatin Sindhu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The peacock is often considered the epitome of beauty. It holds strong associations with grace and beauty in many cultures and makes appearances in many ancient stories as well.

It is also one of those birds that actually takes a lot of pride in its beauty. If you have ever seen a peacock up close, you might have noticed how it struts about with the utmost pride, dignity, and grace. 

In Native American culture, the bird is associated with self-esteem, self-confidence, and elegance. It holds significant meanings across different religions as well, such as in Christianity and Hinduism.

Consequently, a lot of people admire the peacock and even treasure its beautiful feathers. 

6. Stretched Earlobes (Kenya)

Woman with stretched earlobes.
Woman with stretched earlobes
Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stretched earlobes are again one of the rarer symbols of beauty that you won’t find everywhere.

This is a common trend for men and women, both particularly in Africa and South America. A less intense form of the trend can be seen with ear gauges.

However, traditionally, ear stretching involves pulling the earlobes almost all the way down to the shoulders. 

This is still done in the Masaai tribe in Kenya. These people pierce the ears and then gradually start adding weights till the earlobes are reaching their shoulders.

These are then seen as a symbol of beauty and sometimes even represent their tribal affiliations.

7. Mirror (Universal)

A mirror.
A mirror as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: pxfuel.com

A mirror is a complex object which has played different roles in stories and traditions over the years.

It is associated with various meanings, and one of those is beauty. While some people can consider a mirror to border on vanity, the truth is that it helps you recognize your own beauty, which is very important. 

This can help you see your own worth and increase your confidence and esteem. This is also why mirrors are associated with honesty, wisdom, reflection, and enlightenment as well.

Mirrors can also help amplify other symbols of beauty too.

8. Lotus (Universal)

A lotus flower in the water.
A lotus as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: piqsels.com

Different flowers hold different meanings. However, even if one does not know those meanings, all flowers are usually inherently associated with beauty and affection.

Furthermore, there are certain flowers that symbolize beauty much stronger than others. 

One of these is the lotus flower. The lotus flower is considered one of the most beautiful flowers out there.

No matter how dirty the water may be underneath, a lotus flower always blooms beautifully on top. This is also why the lotus represents beauty within adversity as well. 

Other than that, the flower is also held in high regard in many religions and cultures and is associated with purity, rebirth, and spiritual enlightenment. 

9. Amaryllis (Universal)

An amaryllis flower.
An amaryllis flower as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: maxpixel.net

With its stunning red petals, the amaryllis flower is a common gift during the holidays.

However, if you look into its origins, it is clear that the flower symbolizes beauty and dedication.

According to legend, Amaryllis was a maiden who was in love with a shepherd, Alteo. 

However, there were a lot of other women after Alteo too, and Amaryllis’ love was unrequited.

So, she consults an oracle and, according to their instructions, stands outside Alteo’s house for 30 days, piercing her heart every day. 

After a month, when Alteo comes out of his house, he sees the red amaryllis flower which had come from Amaryllis’ blood and falls in love with it.

As a result, the flower has now come to symbolize inner beauty and commitment.  

10. Heather (Universal)

Heather flowers in a field.
Heather flowers as a symbol of beauty
Off2riorob, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The heather flower is one of the most unique flowers out there. It has a lovely fragrance and comes in many stunning colors.

More importantly, these different colors can hold different meanings. For instance, white heather flowers can represent purity and innocence, while the pink ones can symbolize friendship and passion. 

The purple heather flowers are commonly associated with beauty and affection. As a result, these flowers make an excellent gift for someone you find beautiful or even anyone you admire.

They can communicate your love and affection for someone as well and show how important they are to you.

11. Orchid (Universal)

An orchid flower.
An orchid flower as a symbol of
Image Courtesy: pikrepo.com

Orchids are considered one of the most beautiful flowers on earth. These also come in various shades, and their beautiful petal and leaf structure always amaze viewers.

As such, the orchid is considered a symbol of beauty, perfection, and elegance all over the world for many years. 

During Victorian times, the flower was considered a rare commodity, and therefore, it became an even more exotic gift to give someone beautiful or someone a person loved.

In China, the orchid is considered a sign of friendship along with beauty and elegance. 

12. Calla Lily (Universal)

Calla lilies.
Calla lilies as a symbol of beauty
Sabina Bajracharya, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The meaning of this flower lies in its name only. Calla is a Greek word that roughly translates to beautiful. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that these flowers represent beauty and allure. 

The flower is also sometimes associated with the Greek goddess Hera, and sometimes the flower is associated with lust and jealousy as well.

However, most commonly, the calla lilies symbolize beauty, magnificence, and love.

With its many colors, the flower makes a great gift for a friend, partner, or even family

13. Cherry Blossom (Universal)

Cherry blossoms on a tree.
Cherry blossoms as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: wallpaperflare.com

If you have ever seen cherry blossoms in full bloom, this next part needs no explanation. They are the perfect flower to represent fleeting beauty.

Cherry blossoms come in the spring with a beautiful view that leaves everyone simply mesmerized.

The small pink flowers on the cherry trees put on a beautiful display. 

However, these flowers also tend to have a very short life, and they wither away in just two weeks.

That’s why they are often associated with beauty as well as the fleeting nature of human life itself. In China, the flowers are connected to love and femininity too. 

14. Neck Rings (Burma/Thailand)

A woman with rings on her neck.
Brass neck rings as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: pixabay.com

Another strange trend that raises some eyebrows but is considered a significant symbol of beauty in Burma and Thailand nonetheless is the long neck or brass neck rings.

Specifically, girls from the Kayanlahwi tribe consider multiple neck rings and the appearance of a long neck to be very beautiful and attractive. 

Girls start wearing these from as early as five years old and continue adding rings over the years. Some girls can support up to 25 rings too.

The more rings a girl has on her neck, the more beautiful and elegant she is considered.

While it might seem strange or even painful, the neck rings actually create the illusion of a long neck rather than actually stretching the neck all that way. 

15. Butterfly (Universal)

A butterfly on a leaf.
A butterfly as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: piqsels.com

The butterfly is a lovely creature that sparks a lot of joy and wonder in whoever it crosses by.

Moreover, with its smooth flight and stunning wings, the butterfly is also a strong symbol of beauty, grace, hope, and transformation

The butterfly starts off as a small worm but slowly transforms into a beautiful winged creature after coming out of its cocoon.

Therefore, it represents change and freedom as well. It is used in jewelry, paintings, and other types of art to add a touch of femininity, elegance, and beauty. 

16. Pearls (Universal)

A pearl.
A pearl as a symbol of beauty
Photo by Schäferle of Pixabay

Another essential symbol of beauty is a pearl. In the world of shiny and sparkly gemstones, pearls impart a unique kind of beauty with their elegant colors and graceful shape.

As a result, they are often used to complement other stones and increase the overall beauty of the piece. 

Pearls are used in jewelry, clothes, decorations, and many other places. Because of its smooth texture and appearance, a pearl is also associated with perfection.

When still buried inside an oyster, the pearl is said to symbolize hidden knowledge and femininity. 

17. Venus (Universal)

A picture of planet Venus.
The planet Venus as a symbol of beauty
Kevin M. Gill, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are symbols of beauty present in astrology too. More specifically, the planet Venus is often associated with love, affection, beauty, and even music.

The planet has an energy that makes people more attractive to each other. 

Venus is also very closely connected with beauty, aesthetics, and all kinds of arts. That is why it is believed that Venus controls literature, music, theatre, etc.

The planet is associated with grace, sophistication, and charisma as well. Sharing the same name, the Roman goddess Venus is also often associated with beauty, love, and fertility.

18. Lavender (Universal)

A lavender sky.
The color lavender as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: piqsels.com

We’ve seen how colors can have various meanings. However, even the shades within the colors can hold vastly different meanings.

For instance, a bright green color can symbolize cleanliness and nature, while a dark, murky green can be the complete opposite. 

Similarly, while most shades of purple lean towards wealth and luxury, lighter shades like lavender are more closely associated with beauty, grace, and femininity.

The soft and subtle hue is a popular choice among women when they want to appear particularly pretty and attractive.

Then, there’s also the fact that lavender is a flower as well, which further adds to the beauty of the color. 

19. Henna (India)

A woman with henna on her hands.
Henna tattoos as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: piqsels.com

Henna is a kind of semi-permanent tattoo that is quite popular in many parts of the world.

However, it originated from India, where it is a classic sign of beauty and grace, especially for brides on their wedding day. 

Girls usually apply henna on their hands and feet as a way to decorate them and beautify them.

While it has become a fashion statement now, traditionally, henna was also associated with fertility, good luck, and blessings. 

20. Face Tattoos (New Zealand)

Maori man dancing.
Maori man dancing
Andrew Turner from Ann Arbor, MI, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Face tattoos are not exactly rare these days. However, in some parts of the world, they are actually considered a big symbol of beauty.

The Maori in New Zealand have been adorning their face with intricate tattoos for many centuries. 

These tattoos consist of various patterns called Ta-Mako in black and blue colors and are usually focused around the chin and lips.

These tattoos have a lot of cultural significance, show the person’s affiliation with the Maori tribe, and, most importantly, symbolize beauty and charm. 

21. Sky (Universal)

A red sky.
The sky as a symbol of beauty
Image Courtesy: wallpaperflare.com

One symbol of beauty that you don’t have to go too far to find is the sky. The blue and vast sky above is another representation of beauty, perfection, and enlightenment.

More specifically, it is associated with spiritual beauty and the beauty of the heavens above it.

The sight of a clear blue sky or even a red sky just before sunset makes for one of the most amazing and beautiful sights in the world. 

22. Unibrow (Ancient Greece)

Fashion and standards of beauty have changed drastically in the past centuries and continue to evolve every day.

However, back in ancient Greece, unibrows or the monobrow were considered the height of fashion and strongly symbolized beauty and grace. 

Back then, women who had a unibrow were considered not only more beautiful but also more intelligent and purer.

Girls who didn’t have a unibrow naturally would draw one on with kohl themselves. 

23. Yaeba (Japan)

Yaeba, meaning double tooth, is when the teeth are slightly crooked and have a fang-like appearance.

Yaeba became a trend in Japan in 2013, and while some people normally go through extensive dental work to achieve a straight set of teeth, girls in Japan were indulging in dental work to make their teeth crooked.

At the time, it was considered a sign of natural beauty and youthfulness to have crooked teeth like that. 

Final Thoughts

Symbols of beauty are always a hot topic these days, with people debating what really qualifies as beauty and how to really define something as beautiful. 

However, if there’s anything that we have learned from this list, it is that beauty has no fixed form.

It truly comes in a million different shapes and colors, and sizes. Moreover, beauty is about more than just the physical appearance of things.

It also depends on the story behind the object and how it makes you feel inside. 

References

  1. Different Culture’s Definitions of Beauty. https://erietigertimes.com/1907/world/different-cultures-definitions-of-beauty/ 
  2. 40 Common Symbols and Meanings (& How to Use Them). https://visme.co/blog/symbols-and-meanings/ 
  3. 15 Strange Beauty Standards From Around the World. https://www.theclever.com/15-strange-beauty-standards-from-around-the-world/ 
  4. Symbols of Beauty. https://boompositive.com/blogs/positivethesaurus/symbols-of-beauty 
  5. 18 of The Strangest, Most Dated Beauty Trends From History. https://www.ranker.com/list/beauty-standards-from-history/machk 

Header image courtesy: Photo by Lucas Allmann on StockSnap