Black Rose Tattoo Meaning

Rose tattoos are everywhere in the world of body art, widely acknowledged as a universal symbol meant to depict true love, romantic love, compassion, and beauty.

Black rose tattoo meaning, however, is different. The black rose is often a symbolic tattoo idea linked with death, grief and mourning, or is incorporated into themes of duality that balance life and death, or good and evil.

For others, black rose tattoos aren’t even symbolic at all, but strictly design, economic, or technical flower tattoos that are based on personal considerations of how to convey art on skin.

The following article fully breaks down what rose and black rose tattoos mean and how the black ink bloom may be used in design and application. It will provide you with layers of meaning or aesthetic style assistance you can take to a tattoo artist to create a great piece of your own.

Black Rose Tattoo Meaning

Death, Grief, and Mourning

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When etched as a specific design style, black rose tattoos are depicted to convey a combination of death, grief, and mourning.

The commemorative black rose, thorn and stem, or bouquet of the flowers could reference a physical loss, such as the death of a loved one or an important figure in the collector’s life.

Black rose tattoos are deployed to remind the tattoo subject of their loss but also to carry the grief and memory with them as they move forward towards (hopefully) a better place.

However, the symbolic meaning of the black rose tattoo could be tied to a metaphorical loss, such as the death of a relationship, a friendship, or to mark the end of a specific phase of life.

These designs can be memorial, affirmation, or a combination of deep meaning meant to help the subject stay strong and remember the reason behind a black rose tattoo design.

Opposition to Conventional Rose Tattoo Meaning

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A black rose tattoo design runs counter to the traditional meaning of rose tattoos, and red rose ideas in particular, which are ideas meant to display true love and affection.

The red rose tattoo is the most popular rose ink (man or woman), and one of the most widely used tattoo choices across all application styles and techniques of body art.

Rose symbolism is incorporated into all kinds of romantic love and affection designs as a positive motif, however the black rose flips convention on its head.

A nuanced black rose or rose petals and stem is used to take an opposing viewpoint, whether to depict death and grief, or to showcase the concept of duality (the differing nature of good and evil).

Duality is a great tattoo option for those looking to veer drastically away from time honored, stereotypical body art symbolic meaning, with the rose flower often combining with a skull or skeleton against life sustaining imagery such as sunlight, green growth, and flowers.

Other Colored Symbolic Rose Tattoos

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Black color has a clearly defined role in rose tattoo meaning and wider symbolism, but how does it stack up against the other colors?

Other colorful meanings in addition to red and black rose tattoo ideas can include:

  • White rose – Innocence, purity, naivety
  • Yellow rose – Fellowship and friendship
  • Purple rose – Royalty, financial success, mystery
  • Blue rose – Fantasy (it’s not a color found in nature)
  • Orange rose – Sensuality, sexual desire
  • Pink rose – Strength of femininity, beauty
  • Green rose – Growth and revitalization
  • Peach rose – Giving thanks, giving back, gratitude

The sheer magnitude of rose flower tattoos people choose to adapt into their own ideas makes creating layers of meaning more important than with other stylistic choices.

The Black Rose Aesthetic in Tattooing

The Artistic Reason for Black Rose Tattoos

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For some body art collectors, the decision to get a black rose tattoo design has absolutely nothing to do with any symbolic meaning attached to the flowers of death and grief.

They are often a purely aesthetic and economic choice based on the application style that appeals most to the subject.

Some individuals prefer bold black rose petals, tribal patterns, complex single needle rose design, or more nuanced rose tattoos because they fall in line with the style of tattoo art that they like, or mesh best with other tattoos they possess.

Black Rose Tattoo Economics

Some people depict their body art purely in solid black ink, a single color, or linework and negative space because they are the most economically prudent tattooing method.

As black ink is cheaper than color, and linework rose tattoo ideas take the least amount of time for a tattoo artist to etch, they are a great way to get good work completed on a budget.

Another reason for getting black rose symbolism is because of flash tattoo sales and spur of the moment decisions.

Flash tattoos are the pre-made stencil designs you see everywhere in the tattoo shop – on the walls, in portfolios, and online.

When a tattoo shop has a walk up sale or promotion selling ultra cheap designs of different things, getting a black rose tattoo can be as simple as walking up to the counter, putting your name down, and then waiting for your turn.


Black rose tattoo art can be etched as complex designs featuring multi-layered symbolism regarding topics such as death, love, and grief.

They can also be purely artistic choices that demonstrate a particular style of ink, or even a simple cost effective body art choice to bring your petal and thorn bloom to life.

There’s no right or wrong way to implement a black rose design, just the right method for you.