There is a lot of talk around the trend that has become popular during the last few years, that is wearing religious jewels without knowing their meaning in depth. Many stylists chose to reproduce crucifix, rosaries and medals dedicated to Mary or the Saints, making them glamorous ornaments that will decorate actresses and famous people’s cleavages, wrists and even fingers. As a consequence, this trend was spread also among those who admire those people and stylists. Our age is the one that most feeds on emulation, on the desire to appear as similar as possible to the models we constantly see on medias and on the Internet. Unreachable models, because they are often fake, “edited” by photo editing programs and hi-tech innovations that allow the manipulation of any static or moving image. Not to mention make-up wonders… Those factors are not always considered, on the contrary, the youngest tend to blindly believe that everything they see on TV or social medias is real.
This is not the right place to discuss about vanity, or frailty (and dangerousness…) of the modern aesthetic vision.
We are talking here about religious jewels, about how they are often impoverished of their deepest and truest spiritual value, and got down to simple mundane trinkets. The juxtaposition of sacred and profane has always existed, but only today we can see how easily you can go from one side to the other, and the thing that saddens the most is that, most of the times, those showing this kind of ornaments without knowing their meaning are not doing it out of blasphemy, but ignorance.
It’s not always like that.
In previous articles we talked about religious jewels, necklaces and pendants with sacred symbols that a Christian can (and should) wear, or that can be given in special events.
It’s not always about following the current fashion or being trendy. On the contrary, for a Christian there is nothing bad in trying to make spirituality tangible, in wearing a pendant on their neck with a crucifix or a rosary with a modern style and design, which however does not take out any of its mystic value, or in wearing ornaments that have prayers carved on, in order to keep them close at all times.
By wearing a religious jewel, the meaning we give to the act itself is more worth than in other contexts. A meaning that can determine the difference between sacred and profane, often very subtle.
Let’s see some of the religious jewels that a Christian can wear in detail, and that should only be worn everyday with pride and awareness as symbol of salvation and proof of faith.
The rosary necklace, or rosary crown as it is often called, is one of the symbols of Christianity par excellence. We already discussed about its origins in previous articles, of how it was associated to the rosary prayer during the Middle Ages, that is a litany and devotional prayer whose practice was recommended during specific spiritual reflection periods, or to obtain special indulgence.
We also already explained how the Rosary owes its name to the old habit of decorating statues of the Virgin Mary with wreaths of roses. That’s where the Latin word rosārium “rose garden” came from, and became then rosary. The Rosary necklace is thought as an object that joins the litany: it is made of grains of various sizes, that symbolize the various prayers, and that are run through the fingers during each step of the prayer.
For those features the Rosary necklace is suitable also as a beautiful ornamental object. Grains can be in wood, but even glass or hard stones, Swarovski crystals or precious metals. Even the crucifix hanging from the Rosary necklace, and the medal that is its cornerstone, can be exquisite example of jewelry, pendants made with beautiful art and taste that take out nothing of their mystic value.
Besides the Rosary necklaces there are also Rosary bracelets and even Rosary rings, made of gold, silver, platinum, finely chiseled and adorned with small studs in lieu of grains. A versatile religious gift that can turn into a fine and great impact ornament, without losing its dignity and sacred charm in any way.
Hand of Fatima
Even the Hand of Fatima, amulet whose origins date back to the ancient Sumerian and Assyro-Babylonian cults dedicated respectively to the goddesses Inanna and Ishtar, has gone through an evolution during time that turned it into a recurrent ornamental object for Christians, Hebrews, Muslims, or just those who are charmed by its original shape and the symbolism it holds.
The hand of Fatima represents a hand with five fingers, organized according to a proportion full of symbolism. In the Muslim version, it is decorated with an open eye on the palm (Allah’s eye), while in the Hebrew version there is the Star of David.
Both in the Muslim and the Hebrew religions, the Hand of Fatima is the expression of the presence of God, who sees, blesses and protects. This is why the pendant is also known as the Hand of God. Tradition says that it protects from evil eye and negativity, and is a symbol that is very dear to women as it favors patience and brings joy, fortune and wealth.
Many fashion brands made it a decoration for necklaces, bracelets, earrings and key holders.
The symbolic meaning of the ring dates back to the beginning of time. Its shape itself recall a concept of energetic concentration that in all other cultures and religions of ancient times was symbol of a divine expression. The ring symbolizes infinite, eternity, a feeling of wholeness and stability, to which a meaning of authority and power was associated with time.
In the Christian sphere the ring is often a symbol of union, connection, whether it is the episcopal ring, sign of the union between the bishop and the church, or the wedding rings, symbols of the blessed union between husband and wife also recognized by God.
Prayer rings carry all of those deep meanings related to the ring as jewel or ornament.
They are usually made of steel, silver or bronze, with the words of a prayer carved onto. The Holy Mary and Our Father rings are beautiful to wear, modern and glamorous, but at the same time, they express the will of the Christian to carry a visible and tangible sign of his faith. In every moment of the day when the eye will look at the prayer ring, the mind will inevitably repeat the words of the prayer carved on it, in a constant dialog with God. A new and effective way to wear your own faith and be fashion at the same time.
Saint Benedict cross or medal
Saint Benedict medal, or cross, is a Christian symbol recognized in 1742 by Pope Benedict XIV. The devotion towards Saint Benedict became so popular and fervent at that time, that it required a legitimation of this powerful symbol. This ornament reminds the wearer of the constant presence of God by his side to guide him and protect him, and ensures the forgiveness of all sins especially on the point of death.
Wearing a necklace with Saint Benedict medal guarantees protection from evil in all its forms, even the most tenacious ones. In fact, the cross represented on Saint Benedict medal carries the motto of the Benedictine order: “Pax” (Peace), and is surrounded by a circle of letters that are the initial letters of the words that compose one of the most effective and powerful prayers of protection and exorcism from evil ever. Wearing a Saint Benedict Medal in gold or silver, besides showing your own trust in God and His endless mercy, can be a way to ornate yourself with an important and precious jewel, symbol of an aware and solid faith.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a recurrent symbol in many civilizations, cultures and religions. In general, we can sum up its deepest meaning as a reference to immortality and eternal life. For the Maya and Norse civilizations there was a mystic “tree of the world” that connected Sky, Earth and Underworld. In other cultures, such as Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek and Chinese, there were “trees of life” whose fruits bestowed immortality.
For Christians, the Tree of life has a whole different meaning. God placed it in the Garden of Eden, next to the tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
Later, the Tree of life became a symbolic representation of Christ Cross, refuge for Christians, fulfillment of all the mysteries of the Church. A tree that grows luxuriant in Heaven, that never withers, and gives nourishment, shadow and protection to those who want to gather under its branches.
Wearing a necklace or a bracelet with the Tree of Life is a way to show one’s faith towards this mystic tree, and all it represents.
Giving the Tree of Life as pendant or bracelet to someone we love is a way to wish them a prosper and happy life, with solid roots, luxuriant leaves, intense and rich of good fruits. For women it can also be a symbol of fertility. Giving it to a newborn is a way to celebrate the beginning of a new life.