Nowadays, the symbol has become considerably more versatile, with less potential for embarrassment and there is a big variety of tattoo designs:
- The Tribal Heart: a heart tattoo done in simple black lines, with no names mentioned – is timeless and classy. There are many varieties of tribal heart tattoos.
- The Sacred Heart Tattoo : the sacred heart is usually depicted as a flaming heart surrounded by thorns. This Christian symbol stands for the heart of Jesus Christ and the divine love for humanity. Sacred heart tattoos express the wearer's devotion to Jesus Christ.
- The Pierced Heart Tattoo : a heart pierced by an arrow stands for romantic love. Cupid (a cherub) shoots people to make them fall in love.
- Rose Heart Tattoos: hearts and roses are an obvious combination, both being a symbol of love.
- The Broken Heart Tattoo : usually signifies the loss of someone or unreciprocated love.
- Bleeding Heart Tattoo: has the same meaning as broken heart tattoos.
- The Claddagh Heart: the Claddagh is a beautiful symbol that comes from 17th century Ireland. You many have seen the more common ring version, but the images translate very well into tattoo art. The Claddagh heart is a composition consisting of a heart with a hand on either side, and a crown on top of it. The hands denote friendship, the heart love, and the crown loyalty. Women in Ireland would wear the Claddagh ring in their right hand with the heart facing outward when they were ‘available’, then turn it inward when they were betrothed. A Claddagh ring on the left hand means that the woman is happily married.
- The "Realistic" Heart: some heart tattoos display a more realistic human heart, complete with veins. This certainly adds some ‘edge’ to heart tattoo designs...
- The Celtic Heart Tattoo: aka the love knot tattoo. The Celtic heart tattoo stands for a union of souls.
- Heart with Wings Tattoos: a heart tattoo with wings may have several meanings: perhaps love has ‘flown away’, or a loved one has died. On the other hand, it could also mean that one is a "free spirit"
- The Heart and Dagger Tattoo: a heart and dagger tattoo can mean lost love or betrayal.
- The Heart Lock Tattoo: the heart and lock stand for eternal love. Usually partners have a matching tattoo: one has the lock, the other one the key.
In short, heart tattoos are unusually eloquent and expressive tattoo images, which accounts for their continued popularity despite the fact that they are sometimes considered ‘cheesy’ or overly sentimental!