Let’s talk about our favourite religious jewellery
The trend of wearing religious jewellery continues to make waves all over the world. With celebrities like Justin Bieber wearing rosary beads as a necklace. Selena Gomez rocking the sideways cross and The Weeknd with his many blinged-out crosses, it’s pretty obvious that religious jewellery is still very hot right now. Long after stars like Madonna shocked the world wearing religious jewellery back in the 80’s, the edgy look she created with layered necklaces is still as popular as ever. Just ask Nicki Minaj.
Can I wear religious jewellery if I’m not religious?
Nowadays, it seems widely acknowledged that wearing your favourite religious jewellery is acceptable whatever your ideologies and religious views.
There are some people who believe that religious jewellery should be only worn as a way of publicly announcing your faith. However history has taught us that much of the symbolism of religious jewellery has been adapted not from the modern faiths they now represent, but from earlier, more ancient days.
For example, the cross shape has been found carved in caves that date back to the Stone Age and was used throughout the Bronze Age to decorate objects such as earthenware drinking vessels. In Ancient Egypt, the cross appears as a symbolic sign in the hands of the goddess Sekhe and in the ancient necropolis Naqsh-e Rostam in Iran, the “Persian crosses” were carved into the cliffside more than 2,500 years ago. More recently of course, crosses have become synonymous with the Christian faith.
Modern history of religious jewellery – The Cross
Much of the religious jewellery now worn as fashion, are of course recognised as symbols belonging to religious beliefs. The Christian cross, one of the best-known symbols of Christianity, represents the crucifixion of Jesus. Some say the four points of the cross represent self, nature, wisdom and a higher power. Over the centuries, many different types of crosses have been worn for decorative purposes, such as the budded cross which is most popularly referred to as the Greek baptismal cross, like this rose gold crucifix with a white gold Jesus in the centre.
Then there’s the Celtic cross which became common in Ireland, France and Great Britain in the Early Middle Ages. The addition of circles around the intersection of the Celtic cross are said to represent unification, totality, wholeness, and inclusion. However, many historians believe that it simply incorporated the worship of the sun in the cross design to help ease the conversion from Pagan culture to Christianity. This gorgeous sterling silver cross necklace with a cubic zirconia encrusted heart in the centre is a wonderful modern adaption of the Celtic cross.
Hoskings is proud to stock a wide range of stunning cross jewellery in-store and online. From a simple sterling silver cross necklace to this bold statement cross with an ornate medieval design and black cubic zirconia, there’s bound to be one to suit your taste. This 9ct white gold cross pendant with a cubic zirconia encrusted front would be a stunning confirmation or wedding gift. Or if you really want to choose a cross to make your absolute favourite piece of religious jewellery, then this exquisite Thomas Sabo cross pendant decorated with multi-coloured stones and abalone mother of pearl might be the one for you!
And the blokes don’t have to miss out with men’s cross necklaces like this contemporary stainless steel cross pendant or this classic and elegant 9ct yellow gold plain cross pendant. Or why not take a leaf out of The Weeknd’s book and dazzle with this 9ct white gold cross pendant pavé set with 26 diamonds?
The sideways cross
We can’t discuss crosses with mentioning the latest trend in religious jewellery - the sideways cross. These simply stunning crosses have been seen adorning the necks of celebrities like Selena Gomez, Jennifer Aniston, Miley Cyrus and Lucy Hale. So their fashion kudos is not in question. But where did the trend come from?
Some Christians believe that the sideways cross represents Jesus laying down the cross for others and they wear it to symbolise their wish to ‘pick up the cross and carry it’. But the sideways cross is also a nod to the horizontal crosses in the national flags of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland.
Whatever your interpretation, you can’t argue that this stunning sideways cross pendant embellished with white cubic zirconias is anything less than perfection! And if pendants aren’t your thing, then check out these gorgeous Spiritus Silver Cross Bracelets with sparkling cubic zirconia stones in high-shine silver and rose-tone finishes.
St Christopher’s Medal
The cross is of course, not the only way to wear religious jewellery. Some of our favourite pieces of religious jewellery are the beautiful, subtle pendants that also have wonderful religious and cultural significance. Take the ever-popular St. Christopher’s jewellery for example.
St. Christopher is widely known as the patron Saint of travel and travellers, despite the fact that he has not been canonised and is not officially recognised as a Saint by the church, his feast day is still celebrated on 25th July each year.
The wearing of a St. Christopher pendant close to the heart has been popular with travellers for centuries but it also makes for a thoughtful gift for children and especially, a lovely gift for a baptism or holy eucharist as it symbolises protection in their journey through life. In the same way, it’s a perfect gift for new drivers and students about to embark on study away from home.
The St. Christopher pendant has also found a niche amongst the surfing community all over the world. The trend began in California in the 1960s, making the St. Christopher “surf necklace” a staple of classic surfer style where it was worn to provide protection in the ocean.
This lovely silver 15mm round St Christopher medal features the inscription 'Protect Us' around the edge, making it the most wonderful gift for any lucky recipient.
The Miraculous Medal or “Medal of Our Lady of Grace”
The wearing of the Miraculous Medal dates back almost 200 years. Its design was based on the visions of a young nun named Catherine Labouré who claimed to see visions of the Virgin Mary while praying in her convent in Paris, France. Sister Labouré said that Mary asked her to share the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee" to others in the form of a protective medallion so that, "All who wear them will receive great graces".
Since the 1830s, the Miraculous Medal has been worn by Catholics or anyone with a Christian affiliation almost as a talisman of good luck and reverence to their faith.
More of our favourite religious jewellery
Although the majority of religious jewellery available in Australia focuses on a Christian background, we are seeing an increase in religious symbolism associated with Eastern faiths. The Hamsa is a perfect example of this. This age-old symbol of an eye embedded in the palm of an open hand has also been known as ‘The Eye of Fatima’, ‘The Hand of Fatima’, and ‘The Hand of Miriam’. It’s been suggested to have originated as a pagan fertility symbol, however scholars argue that it may have previously been used in Christian or Islamic religions. It’s also used in Buddhism and Hinduism to represent the chakras and is widely recognised as an important symbol in Jewish art and particularly in Kabbalah (the mystical, spiritual side of Judaism).
It’s fair to say that the Hamsa has become more well known in recent times because celebrities like Madonna, Brittany Spears and Demi Moore have shared their love of Kabbalah and the associated accessories. Whatever it’s background, we are happy to wear anything that is said to provide its wearer with good luck, happiness, good health and good fortune!
Make it religious but subtle
You might be seeking jewellery that says ‘faith’ but isn’t too obviously religious. Then choosing jewellery in the shape of doves gives a nod to symbolism across Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Paganism. Doves have long been known to symbolise peace and that’s been compounded by the story in the Bible which tells that a dove brought Noah an olive leaf on the ark to demonstrate that the floods would end and there would be peace again.
These beautifully whimsical sterling silver dove studs are a perfect subtly religious piece of jewellery. Or, if you’re looking for something that’s a little more ornate, then these sterling silver bird studs have a delightful etched pattern on their wings. These would make a beautiful confirmation or Bat Mitzvah gift.
Ever since ancient times, people have believed in benevolent spirits that act to protect us from harm or bad luck. In Christian faith, these spirits are often called angels. Angels and angel jewellery symbolise hope, protection and harmony. This beautiful sterling silver round disc pendant is engraved with the words 'Wherever you go may your guardian angel watch over you'. Wouldn’t this make a perfect gift for someone who’s going through a tough time?
And this simply beautiful silver angel disc pendant also features a guardian angel. A perfect talisman that can be worn every day. Or you could choose angel wings like this sterling silver cut-out wings break-apart pendant.
So now you’ve seen some of our favourite religious jewellery. From cross necklaces to angel wings, you can see that some religious references are overt while some are discreet, but they are all still commonplace in our lives. At Hoskings, we love that no matter what your personal style or religious practices are, we still have so many beautiful options to choose from.
If you’d like help choosing a religious gift for a loved one, then get in touch with our friendly customer service team and they’ll be happy to help or browse our full range of religious jewellery here.
Call 1800 819 796 in VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS. Or (08) 8981 8895 if you’re in NT/WA or SA.
Written by: Niamh Hislop