The Real Meaning Of A Blue Rose Tattoo

Roses have long been among the most popular tattoos (via TattMag). With the symbol originating from Persia, rose tattoos gained significant meaning in the 1930s when sailors used the flower of love to remind them of the important women in their lives, according to TatRing. Nearly a hundred years later, the bloom remains at the heart of tattoo designs — especially the red rose. As the symbol for "immortal love," the significance of red roses dates back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, created the flower when her blood turned a white rose red as she attempted to rescue her true love, Adonis (per Verdissimo).

As for other colors, pink and black tend to be used frequently in tattoo designs. As Overnight Flowers noted, pink roses are most often associated with femininity, while black can symbolize feelings of grief. But one color that's frequently used in tattoo designs doesn't occur in nature: the blue rose.

Blue roses don't occur in nature, but they're a popular tattoo choice

Horticulturists have spent centuries trying to breed blue roses (via Science Daily), but have never attained a deep hue of blue. The closest anyone had gotten to producing a blue rose occurred in 2008 when Suntory collaborated with Florigene to produce a dark burgundy rose by taking the gene from a petunia and inserting it into a mauve rose through genetic engineering (via the Daily Mail). Attempts to achieve the perfect blue rose are ongoing. Science Daily noted in 2018 that researchers discovered enzymes in bacteria from white rose petals could be the solution.

For now, many have resigned to making their own blue roses through artwork — including tattoo designs. While the rose itself continues to symbolize feelings of love and beauty, a blue rose can signify feelings of longing, according to Saved Tattoo. TattMag added blue roses can also represent mystery or fantasy due to their unattainability in nature.

Blue roses are very important in Chinese mythology

Like the red rose, ancient myths and fairytales also center around the mystical blue rose. In Chinese culture, a blue rose symbolizes good fortune and protection according to When You Garden, while in Europe, it can represent faithfulness and constancy in love. The latter is also rooted in Asian folklore (via Next Luxury), where a blue rose is given as a wedding or milestone gift to signify perfect, immortal love.

This meaning is lifted from a Chinese fairytale known as "The Legend of the Blue Rose" (via Owlcation). It tells the story of an Emperor's daughter who refused to marry unless a man could produce a blue rose. When she fell for the son of a gardener, she told him that she wished for them to be married. He promised to present her with a blue rose in return, and the next day he offered her a white one. Because the Emperor's daughter was so in love with him, she deemed the white rose blue, and thus it came to symbolize immortal love.