Jewelry is mainly used for aesthetics, but jewelry can also serve a religious purpose. Religious Jewelry has been present in every early civilization ever noted, and it was and in some cases still is a very big part of their religious practices and everyday life as well. In fact, the very first objective of jewelry was to illustrate religious affiliation. From Egyptians, Aztecs, Romans, Medieval times to present day Catholics, Hindus, and Buddhists, jewelry has persevered and adapted to suit the times and methodology. And since before recorded time to now jewelry has been represented in every form and fashion, and made from almost anything at hand that represented value at that time and to that culture. Strings, beads, feathers, diamonds, rubies, gold, silver, and even platinum just to name a few of the items used to creature purposeful, timeless religious jewelry to portray their message of history.
But the topic of jewelry itself is a very broad term that describes generally, any ornamental adornment on the body. In our modern day culture jewelry has more of monetary, material depiction, or who has more money to wear the most diamonds. But still appears in important instances in or religious culture; marriages, churches and temples, asserting status etc.
Ancient Egyptian religious jewelry was very symbolic and important to their culture.Religious jewelry included the scarab beetle, ankh, lotus, falcon, serpent, and the eye. The scarab stands for good luck and rebirth while the “Eye” represents healing, and the “Ankh” represents eternal life. Religious Egyptian jewelry was elaborate, consisting of gold, blue gold and lots of precious coloured stones and were worn by both men and women. Most of their jewelry were elaborate dedications to their deities.
Pagan, Celtic, and Wiccan religion have been around before the Catholic Church, and so have their symbolic jewelry, made form the precious stones and lots of silver with intricate carvings and engravings. Their most important symbol of the pentacle, which is used for protection, fertility and signifying the ultimate mother, which their religion revolves around. Most of the pagan jewelry is still predominant today as part of the stylish, and gothic realm.
When St. Constantine Christianized the Roman Empire, several popular symbols were created, which are still used in Christian jewelry today. These symbols include the cross, the Christian fish charm, and the rosary. A lot of gold was and still is used when crafting Catholic symbols. But Rosary beads are also utilized in the Islamic and Buddhist faiths.
Native American religious jewelry was and still is a representation for nature and it played a big part in religious ceremonies. Natural materials were employed in making their jewelry, including feathers, turquoise, and silver. These pure materials were reminiscent of the Earth around them, and during healing, and harvest rituals, people would take heed to wear identifiable kinds of religious jewelry that were of the right color, materials, and right symbols for that event.
Hindus of past and present, utilize a lot of gold and precious colorful stones to adorn their religious jewelry that is worn in every facet of a Hindus’ life. From weddings, to funerals, religious jewelry is very important part of a Hindu devotion their deities.
Because today our culture has lost most of these old meanings of many symbols of jewelry, and now we have changed everything into a trend or a fashion phase, and we sometimes never know what it is exactly we are wearing. Almost all the religious and cultural symbols have deeper spiritual meaning, and it is up to us in recognizing the significance of these religious jewelry.