While chocolate is a tried and true Valentine's Day classic, another favorite candy of the holiday is Sweethearts. Sweethearts, also known as conversation hearts or candy hearts, are the pastel, heart-shaped sugar candies printed with romantic sayings. The history of Sweethearts goes back to 1847, when inventor Oliver R. Chase created a machine to cut candy into shapes. By 1866, his brother Daniel Chase began printing sayings on the candies, primarily for weddings. Then in 1901, the Sweethearts we know and love were born. The company was owned by Necco (New England Confectionery Company) for over 100 years, but then went bankrupt in 2018. This led to no Sweethearts being sold in 2019 before being purchased by Spangler Candy Company. Sweethearts will make a small return for the 2020 Valentine's Day season and be back to their former glory by 2021.
Prior to the bankruptcy, Necco produced 8 billion candy hearts per year and created at least 10 new sayings per year. Many of these sayings were classic, like "Love Bug," "Marry Me," and "Miss You," while others adapted to modern dating practices. Over the last decade, we saw Sweethearts say phrases like "Tweet Me," "#Love," and "Real <3," which certainly aren't your grandma's candy hearts.
Within the past ten years, candy hearts have become a big trend in the tattoo world, particularly on flash sheets for Valentine's Day. These candy hearts vary from collector to collector, with phrases emphasizing self love to salty comebacks to movie quotes. Take a peek at some of our favorite candy heart tattoos in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on this story on social media.