Roses are perhaps the most known flower in the world. It remains to be a symbol in the Western culture, and maybe even the most celebrated. Its popularity in the tattoo industry could be the main reason it has endured as one. Rose tattoo designs have become a household name among tattoo enthusiasts, may they be men or women. But what made roses so incredibly popular in the body art scene?
People are getting more lenient and open towards their opinions on tattoos. Body art has long been a part of human history but it got negative feedback towards the modern times. Luckily, tattoos are now seen as a way of self-expression rather than a sign of negativity. In line with that, tattoo enthusiasts usually choose a symbol or design that best expresses themselves or their story. With that, many choose rose tattoo designs.
Origins of the Rose
- 1 Origins of the Rose
- 2 Symbolism of the Rose and a Rose Tattoo
- 3 What the Colors Mean
- 4 Symbolic Value of Rose in Various Cultures
- 5 Meaning of a Rose Tattoo Based on Depiction
- 6 Numerology in a Rose Tattoo
- 7 Celebrities with a Rose Tattoo
- 8 Popular Rose Tattoo Ideas and their Meanings
- 9 Rose Tattoo Designs with Quotes and Names
- 10 Tribal Rose Tattoos
- 11 Thorns or No Thorns
- 12 Placement Suggestions for Rose Tattoos
- 13 How to Make your Tattoo More Unique
The earliest information anyone had with the rose is an Indian legend. Apparently, a rose was so valuable that when someone brings a rose to the king, he can ask him anything he desires. Another legend showcases the origin of the flower. According to Greek myth, it was born out of the white foam that surrounded Aphrodite’s body. This happened when the goddess of love herself was born out of the sea. This could also be the very reason why the flower is often associated with love and passion.
The Greeks also had legends as to how the flower got its bold color and pleasant smell. It was said that when the roses sprouted, the gods loved it so much and poured nectar on it, thus the smell. Soon after, the goddess knew of her lover’s death. Adonis was killed by a wild boar. She rushed to him in her temple where all the roses grew, which back then were white. His blood eventually reached the flowers and gave them the crimson red color the flower became popular for.
But these were all legends. If we were to confer with the scholars, they believe that the rose is already 35 million years old according to fossil records. It is believed to have 150 species around the world. Garden cultivation of the flower is believed to date 5,000 years back and probably started in China.
Since then, roses has become popular for gardeners and flower lovers. Now, red, yellow, white, pink, and even colorful roses are pretty common in the market.
Symbolism of the Rose and a Rose Tattoo
The rose is among the top choices for tattoo enthusiasts because of two important things. First, it’s one of the most beautiful flowers and its aesthetic value is still as visible in real life as in ink. Secondly, it has a deeper meaning; something that many tattoo enthusiasts love to have in their tattoos.
Roses, just like with most tattoo elements and symbols, have a few other meanings than one. In general, the flower is most known as a symbol of love and passion. Here are other general meanings surrounding the flower:
- protection and toughness (usually based on the thorns)
Some cultures in the world also see roses as a symbol of sorrow and mourning. If it is used in a funeral, it can also represent eternal memories. It denotes the families’ and friends’ memories of their lost loved one. Some also believe that the rose is a symbol of secrets and silence.
The way it is also depicted can change the way a rose tattoo means. For example, a budding red rose could denote a start of a new relationship. Most often, this is a representation of a romantic relationship with a partner. Apart from a budding romance, it can also symbolize naivety and childhood.
A “True love rose” design often includes a flower in full bloom. The only difference is it has no thorns. However, some believe that the thorns are important. It sets as a reminder that love is impossible without some hardships and sacrifices.
What the Colors Mean
However, a rose also has different meanings based on its color. If you are looking for a specific meaning, you might want to learn more about rose colors and their meaning.
Here are the meanings based on the rose’s color:
- White – A white rose traditionally symbolizes purity, innocence, virginity, and fidelity. It can also mean that you are or have a secret admirer.
- Red – The most common rose color. It is believed to come from Adonis’ blood after he was slain. Therefore, red roses can mean eternal love or love that can withstand even death. Apart from that, it is also a great symbol for romance, passion, and memorial.
- Pink – Pink roses are said to denote femininity, grace, gentleness, and elegance. Some also consider the pink rose as their symbol as cancer survivors. Pink roses can also be a symbol of motherly love.
- Purple – Purple roses are extremely rare. But in tattoos, they are very much common. It usually stands for affection and love at first sight. The color is also associated with royalty and wealth.
- Yellow – Back then, yellow roses are known as symbols of jealousy, separation, and grief. However, the symbol is now known as a sign of mature love, joy, and devotion.
- Black – Black roses are known as symbols of death, grief, sorrow, and as a tribute to people who passed away. Some cultures also tattoo a black rose on soldiers when they come home as a sign of a complete mission and the arduous journey they have gone through. It can also be a sign of strength and rebellion.
- Blue – Blue roses do not exist. And so, it has become a symbol of something unattainable, impossible, or a fantasy.
- Orange – The orange rose is known to represent new beginnings, enthusiasm, and excitement.
Symbolic Value of Rose in Various Cultures
Apart from the way it is depicted to its color, a rose tattoo could have a different meaning based on your culture.
The origins of the rose according to Greek myth and legend gave way to its affiliation with love and romance. However, there are also some cultures in the world that look at a rose the different way. This could effect the way you perceive your rose tattoo as well.
As previously mentioned, the rose was associated with the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. However, Roman myth connects the flower with the goddess Diana. She was the Roman counterpart of the goddess of the hunt, Artemis. According to the legend, Diana turned her lover into a rose.
Roses remain to be a flower of the gods, even in Ancient Egypt. It is said that the rose is the favored flower of the queen goddess Isis. And so, ancient Egyptians use the flower to honor the goddess. In the east, the rose is a great symbol of sincere love and purity.
But apart from these cultures, the rose is also symbolic for Christians. For them, the rose is associated with the blood of Christ. The flower is also associated with the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. In fact, the word rosary got its name from the word rose.
Meaning of a Rose Tattoo Based on Depiction
As mentioned above, a bud of rose means something rather different compared to a common rose tattoo. Are there any other depictions that could change its meaning?
We normally create a design of a rose in full bloom. While the design has its general meaning as well as specific meanings brought by the colors, the state in which the flower blooms also gives another layer of symbolism. To no surprise, a fully bloomed rose means maturity, growth and achievement.
To say the least, the flower’s growth is parallel to the wearer’s life. If they are yet to achieve and believe there is still room to grow, they can create a design wherein the rose is not yet fully bloomed. It also does not have to be necessarily their life in general. It can also be the state of their heart or relationship.
Lastly, a wilting rose also sends a different message than most. Wilting roses are often symbols of unrequited love, death, or loss.
Numerology in a Rose Tattoo
Perhaps the best thing about a rose tattoo is that there are many layers to uncover its meaning. That could be the very reason why it is known as a symbol of silence and secrecy for some.
Apparently, the number of petals or perhaps the rose in bloom in your rose tattoo carries its own symbolic meaning.
- According to Freemason symbolism, three roses in full bloom represents three guiding principles of light, life, and love.
- For Christians and Christianity, five blooming petals represent the five wounds that Christ acquired while he was on the cross.
- Seven is known as the perfect number. If your tattoo has seven petals, it is believed to represent perfection and balance. This is according to Pythagorean’s belief that there are seven directions in space that are pointing to seven planets.
- In Renaissance art, a rose with eight blooming petals represent renewal, rebirth, and revival. This could be the same with your rose tattoo.
Apart from these beliefs and cultures, the number of roses in bloom in your tattoo could also mean something about your relationship or partner. Since roses are pretty much the symbol of love, this is no surprise.
To start, one rose in full bloom means complete devotion. Two roses represents marriage. Three is a simple way to say “I love you.” Six roses can also be decoded to “I want to be yours” and 10 roses is just the best right way for saying “You’re a perfect ten.” Lastly, 12 roses in full bloom simply means infatuation.
Celebrities with a Rose Tattoo
Rose tattoos are clearly on a mainstream status. There are hundreds of designs that have gone out. Some are much more popular than others while some are pretty unique. Among the many tattoo enthusiasts who have opted for a rose tattoo are celebrities. Here are some of the famous people you might have seen on your TV or computer who got a rose ink:
- Bella Hadid – This model has one on the back of her arm.
- Demi Lovato – This singer also has one on her inner arm. The design appears to be a dedication for someone.
- Lily Collins – The British actress has an English rose on her foot. This is obviously in honor for her British heritage.
- Snooki – She has a rosary bead and rose tattoo located on her shoulder.
- Hilary Duff – The former Disney star has a rose tattoo on the inside of her bicep.
- Kehlani – Her rose tattoo has a dagger going through it and located on the front of her leg.
Popular Rose Tattoo Ideas and their Meanings
Since roses have become mainstream, there are particular designs that have become quite popular. These designs often include more than just one element. Roses are often coupled with another design to create a deeper meaning that best fits their own story and personality.
Here are the most popular rose tattoo designs you might have encountered. These could inspire your next ink and make them look more personalized.
Rose and Skull
The skull is a symbol most often associated with overcoming great challenges. While it is most known as a symbol of death, it also became a positive tattoo element later on. Combining it with a rose could mean life and death or better – life after conquering death or greater challenges. Usual designs include the rose growing from the skull’s sockets or the skull wearing a rose headband. Of course, using the rose as a background is also rather common.
Anchor and Rose
The anchor is another mainstream tattoo element that means dedication and commitment to a loved one. Add that with a rose and perhaps the name of your wife or your girlfriend is definitely a great sign of devotion.
Rose and doves
Doves are also known as the favored bird of Aphrodite. So, these two elements have something in common – they both represent love. However, doves are also meant as a dedication to a lost loved one. Both these elements could also do that.
Rose and the rosary
These are two of the best elements for the followers of the Virgin Mary. Rosary tattoo designs often include the color blue as this is associated with Mary’s cloak. These elements are often used to remind the wearer that they are loved and protected by the Mother of God.
Rose and dagger
These two elements are complete opposite of each other. While roses are symbol of love and dedication, daggers are symbols of betrayal and ruthlessness. Usually, a dagger piercing a rose means heartbreak or any similar feelings. A dagger with a rose vine along it is often a sign of the duality of life and living with good and evil. If the thorns of the rose are choking the dagger, it means that good always wins over evil. This could also mean that true love is still possible even after a heartbreak
Rose and clock
Clocks are used to tell us the time, and so they generally mean time itself as a tattoo. When you pair that with a rose, it could represent the notion that love is eternal. If the clock has no hands, it could also denote endless love or you will love your spouse til death. Stopwatches are for moments in time. You can partner that with a rose and it could signify your wedding date, the day you first met, your anniversary or important moments in your life.
Rose and cherry blossom
Roses and cherry blossom could have a wide range of meaning, usually depending on how the wearer perceives it. However, these designs are both known as elements of beauty and love and could mean just those. Apart from that, the cherry blossom is a symbol in Asian culture while the rose is a symbol of the West. That said, it could show the melding of East and West cultures.
Rose and butterflies
Butterflies are symbols of transformation. When you create a design that includes both a rose and a butterfly, it could denote the wearer’s transformation after love. It could be that they have been transformed by love and have become a better version of themselves. Or, it could also mean that they have changed and grown after a breakup or a heartbreak. Usual design shows a butterfly resting on a rose.
Rose and swallows
Swallows are best known for their speed and the distance that they can travel to. However, they are also known for knowing how to come home. As a tattoo design, they have been a symbol of home and the idea that the wearer will come home someday. Pairing this element with a rose could tell that the wearer will always come home to his or her love. This would be a perfect design for those in long distance relationships due to career such as seafarers, pilots, or flight attendants.
Rose Tattoo Designs with Quotes and Names
Perhaps one of the most common rose tattoo designs often shows a single or couple of roses in full bloom with a great quote.
Quote tattoos have become rather popular as well and it is all thanks to their versatility. You can add any element to make it look more pleasing. Plus, with the millions of quotes out there, it would not be hard to be unique. Of course, quotes with rose tattoos are often about love, since it is better to keep the additional element appropriate.
Apart from quotes, names of significant others are also popular. However, this is not really the best move when you’re just starting a relationship. These designs are often for the married ones – the ones who are entirely sure they wouldn’t regret getting their partners’ names tattooed. Not to be a pessimist but not all relationships end well. Tattoos are a commitment so don’t commit on things you will soon be regretting or letting go.
Tribal Rose Tattoos
It is safe to say that tribal tattoo is the forefather of modern tattoos. This is where it all started and even when the meaning has rather changed over the years, even becoming meaningless, the style remains.
Of course, not all tribal designs are meaningless. Yet most are, especially the ones that are mainly created with swirls and patterns. Some traditional tattoo patterns from native tribes have lived and these designs were meaningful – taking nature as an inspiration.
The tribal style has continued to exist and even evolved. Apart from the old native patterns and the new modern ones, various tattoo elements can be turned tribal. Usually, the tattoo element retains its meaning but becomes more linked to nature. So, a rose tribal tattoo could denote your love for nature and adventure.
Thorns or No Thorns
In all honesty, thorns do not go well with roses in terms of appearance. Such a delicate and beautiful flower surrounded by little points that could cause pain. In fact, a thorn’s meaning is exactly that – pain, loss, hurt, and thoughtlessness. However, when you think about it, the two actually goes hand in hand. Without the thorns to protect the rose, creepy crawlies could easily feed on the petals and make the rose look ugly.
In your tattoo, you might want to think about how both these elements really fit each other as in nature. Roses and thorns could mean the good and bad things in life. It could mean that love is not possible without going through hardships and challenges first. The bad things make us tough by overcoming them.
However, some people prefer not to have anything negative in their tattoos, no matter how inevitable they are in real life. They want to showcase the good things only. And that is definitely acceptable. You are what your tattoo is. If you want to show a positive side of yourself and life and believe in all things great, then you can showcase that.
At the end of the day, it will be you who will determine your tattoo’s design and what it means.
Placement Suggestions for Rose Tattoos
There is no wonder rose tattoo became a mainstream element. Apart from its varied meanings and its aesthetic, it’s versatility when it comes to placement is also rather versatile. The styles you can do with the design makes it easy to fit into various areas of the bodies. It could be a tiny tattoo or a huge one that can cover an entire sleeve or back.
Of course, placement is often based on the design of the tattoo. But here are a few suggestions that could help you.
- Rose tattoo designs that include the stem can be smaller. It could wrap around or along the length of a certain area. For example, the fingers. It would be a perfect tattoo design to put on the side of a finger. Or you can wrap it around a finger like a ring.
- Bigger tattoo designs that include the stem could be done on the forearm, the sleeves, the shoulder blades or best of all, the spine. This is a great option for those who want to have spine tattoos.
- Single rose tattoos without any other design or element could be placed almost anywhere in the body. It can be a great fit for the hand, feet, chest, back, or even neck. If you want a bigger design, you can add a few elements mentioned earlier.
- A bouquet of roses is the perfect design for back and sleeve tattoos. It can cover the entire area. You can even add a few other designs or create a background of your choice.
How to Make your Tattoo More Unique
As much as possible, everyone wants to create a more unique design. It’s almost like buying clothes – as much as possible, you don’t want to have the same clothes that everyone is wearing. However, designs such as rose tattoos are somehow part of the norm. It would be inevitable to find several others with the exact same tattoo as yours.
To make your tattoo more unique, you may want to have a personal approach on the design. While it could be a common symbol, you can add a few elements such as your name or the name of someone special. Although it could be similar to others, it still is a tattoo of your own design.
Apart from putting personal touches, you can also create a design based on your own imagination. Put together symbols and signs that speak for you. Create something that only you can come up with. In the tattoo industry, designs are limitless and only your imagination is the limit. Oftentimes, these designs end up surrealistic or abstract pieces but that is actually better.
Lastly, you should find an artist that you can really communicate with. They are the ones that will bring your work to life so working with them is an essential part of the procedure.