I have been thinking about the pomegranate for a while now. Really ever since I bought some pomegranate nibs to embellish a cheese platter. I thought it looked rather fabulous, mostly I suspect, because of the wonderful pink colour and also because I was secretly congratulating myself with how on trend I was.
And that’s even before I even realised it was Nigella Lawson’s favourite fruit. When Nigella revealed her love for the pomegranate, its sales shot up by 109%.
Naturally I went to my current colour site crush Design Seeds to have a bit of a look at their take on pomegranate hues and I wasn’t disappointed. Loving the blues through the pinks to the strong plums and purples. Many many options here gift wrappers.
Neither have I been disappointed by the rich history of the pomegranate which emerged from the cradle of civilisation. The earliest records of humanity detail how it grew in abundance throughout the fertile lands of the Arab world and the Mediterranean and how it has influenced Ancient Greek, Hebrew and Christian Mythology.
The early Hebrews believed that each pomegranate contained exactly 613 seeds, the number of commandments in the Torah. According to many Biblical scholars, the pomegranate was the original fruit from the Garden of Eden. Ancient Greek mythology abounds with images of the fruit – the myths of Persephone and Orion’s wife are chock full of pomegranate action.
Ancient Arab women used the seeds of the pomegranate to predict their own fertility. Ancient Egyptians were buried with pomegranates in hope of rebirth. Ancient Syrians named a god, Rimmon, after the pomegranate. This god is marked by his transcendence of death, all the while attended by various fertile females, nymphs, and goddesses.The Greeks consider it a symbol of abundance – a fruit that spills over in plentitude and good luck. In Armenia, the pomegranate is often served at weddings to symbolise fertility for the new couple.
Now we get to its medicinal uses. According to the US Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, preparations of different parts of the pomegranate —flower, fruit juice, rind, bark—have been used for a variety of conditions particularly gastroenterological ones. They note the use of pomegranate rind and root bark as a treatment for tapeworm infestation (“Latas tineas ventris”) was recommended by several early Roman medical writers and is still listed as a treatment for tapeworms and diarrhoea in a current encyclopaedia of medicinal plants.
And finally to Heraldry. Due to its medicinal properties, the pomegranate appears on the coat of arms for the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Physicians. The heraldic meanings of the pomegranate hark back to the myth of Persephone—the persistence of life, fertility, and regeneration.
As it’s clear we have a fruit with punnet loads of possibilities, I went for an abundant, almost old fashioned pattern showcasing the fruit and its signature symbolic seeds. It almost looked like a print from the Natural History Museum, so I didn’t want to fuss it up too much.
I opted for a double sided ribbon in two different colours – the signature pink and the contrasting lush cream of the inside flesh. I used a knot instead of a bow because a bow was way too flouncy. I do like a knot but if you’re going to use a two coloured ribbon you’ll need to be prepared for twisting and turning as you tie. Way too grand to say my wrap is an homage to persistence of life, fertility, and regeneration but I do think it is a bit of a nod to those trendy little pomegranate nibs and their rich heritage.