When you put on a piece of jewelry, you probably focus on how it looks with your outfit or what it says about your style. Perhaps some jewelry pieces have sentimental value to you, such as a ring passed down from your grandmother. While jewelry is for adornment, it also has significant meaning and symbolism. The meaning of jewelry varies based on the design, metal and gemstones and even the country of origin. Explore the symbolism of jewelry from cultures around the world to better understand your own jewelry pieces.
Jade, called the Stone of Heaven, plays a significant role in the Chinese culture. Jade represents the balance of yin and yang, due to the stone’s balance between its rich lustre and adherence. In China, the stone often gets higher prices than precious metals, such as gold and silver, because it symbolizes integrity, exquisiteness, commitment, and immortality.
The Greek culture prized turquoise as a symbol of purity, often worn by maidens. While to the ancient Persians, turquoise represented heaven. They used the stone in many ways to represent this idea.
Beaded jewelry in Africa dates back thousands of years, with many significant meanings and uses. The jewelry serves as a status symbol or symbolizes affiliation with a particular tribe. Greek culture has strings of colorful beads called komboloi, or worry beads.
Star of David
The strongest connection of the Star of David design is to Judaism, but other cultures also use the symbol, both now and in the past. The symbol features two triangles positioned to form a six-point star. It is often found on necklaces and pendants.
General Jewelry Symbols
Many symbols show up frequently in jewelry, and those symbols are often traced back to the Victorian era, when symbolism became a fascination. Horticulture was also a budding obsession during this period, which resulted in the integration of many plant elements into jewelry design. Many of the symbols that were prevalent in the Victorian era still have meaning in today’s jewelry pieces.
Explore these symbols found in jewelry and their meanings:
Images of anchors often represent hope.
Crosses often appear on all types of jewelry as a sign of the Christian faith. People wear crosses to declare their faith and to remind themselves of their beliefs.
The arrow is thought to represent love. Arrows also serve as a reminder to have the strength and courage to move forward. They sometimes also represent protection.
A dove on a piece of jewelry can convey a religious message, representing the Holy Ghost. To some, the dove represents peace, love or fidelity.