Jewelry an Outward Sign of Faith
The power of
religious symbolism has endured through history. For many religious
denominations, sacred symbols have often taken the form of personal
jewelry. Religious jewelry has been used as an outward sign of ones faith.
used often indicates the particular religion of the wearer. All of
the worlds religions have placed a high value on symbolism and the
wearing of religious symbols is said to strengthen the faith of the wearer.
jewelry from many denominations is available in an almost endless
variety of materials and themes. From prayer beads and rosaries to
medals, pins and pendants, religious jewelry is one of the fastest
growing segments of the jewelry today. Like any other segment of the
jewelry market, religious symbols can be found that reflect great
artistry and care.
Two of the
most common religious symbols are the Christian Crucifix and the
Hebrew Star of David. The Christian crucifix is one of the most
widely recognized religious symbols in history. The symbol of the
cross has its origins in the manner in which Jesus Christ was put to
death. Since the death of Christ is widely considered a sign of death
and the coming resurrection, the cross is an outward reflection of a
belief in an afterlife in spent in heaven.
The Star of
David or Magen Star, is a very important religious symbol rooted in
Judaism. The star is sometimes referred to the Shield of David,
referring the shield of King David. The wearing of the Star of David,
like the Christian cross, is significant outward symbol for people of
the Jewish faith. The star resembles a six sided symbol that was
thought be a symbol for good fortune, often seen in the Middle East
and North Africa.
addition to Christian jewelry, are rings that are worn to signify
various tenets of faith such as purity and chastity. The sacrament of
baptism is a sacred and very important rite among Christians.
Baptismal rings, pendants and pins are common gifts given in
celebration of the sacrament. Medals depicting images of Christian
saints are also very popular.
As with all
types of jewelry, religiously themed jewelry can be found in a wide
variety of materials. Gold is by the most popular of the precious
metal for jewelry, and religious jewelry is no exception. Many places
of worship are adorned with symbols of faith reflecting the
historical significance of gold and other precious metals. Even so,
religious jewelry is produced from other metals such as sterling
silver. Gemstones are also widely used in the production of religious jewelry.
There are some
in the religious community, who have taken issue with what they see
as the commercialization of religion. It is true that the popularity
of religious jewelry has not been lost on retailers. Dating back the
late nineteen fifties, there has been a fear among many people that
commercialization might act to actually dilute religious beliefs. I
can remember my deeply religious father keeping a glow in the dark
plastic Jesus on the dashboard of the family car. This practice was
rooted in the belief that honoring religious deities may protect devotees.
In addition to
jewelry, religious symbolism has found its way into other types of
consumer products. The popularity of religious symbols seems to have
grown along the growth of the internet. Online shopping and a
worldwide retail environment has certainly given people access to
selection of goods and services never seen before. Prior to the
advent of the internet, religious items were available through small
retail outlets. Many Catholic parishes sponsored the selling of
religious items, including jewelry as an integral part of funding its operations.