I remember when I received my first piece of Christian jewelry in the form of a cross with the body of Jesus upon it at my First Communion. I later learned that a crucifix was typical Catholic Christian jewelry as opposed to Protestant Christian jewelry, a cross sans the body of Christ upon it, symbolizing Christ’s resurrection as opposed to his crucifixion. While the cross of course symbolizes the crucifixion, an even deeper symbolism for Christians has meant the promise of eternal life and salvation. How special it was to me that day as my parents, devout Christians that they were, looked so proudly upon me as I received my communion shortly after my 13th birthday.
I also remember my girlfriends crowding around me at school that week praising the beautiful piece of Christian Jewelry that I was wearing around my neck. As a mother, giving my own piece of Christian jewelry in the form of a fish symbol, to my daughter, I have learned that “fish” Christian jewelry is very popular amongst teens who wish to stand out from the crowd. Early Christians in particular utilized the Christian fish symbol during the first few centuries after Christ was born as a covert sign of places secure for Christians.
It is also interesting to note that Christian jewelry especially crosses, are worn equally these days by both men and women. The men usually wear heavier gold crosses than the women and they seem to have become not only a symbol of devotion, but male virility. An interesting phenomenon is that many non-Christian people now wear Christian jewelry for style and fashion. Some humanists wear Christian jewelry alongside their Star of David to bespeak their embracing of all religions.
On an interesting note, it appears that Christian jewelry is one of the hottest new trends sweeping churches. In fact, the term of “lifestyle evangelism” has recently been coined. Wearing Christian jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces have become powerful ways for people to share their faith. Some young Christians have spoken of how when they are placed in situations where they feel shy about declaring their faith; they are comforted in the fact that their Christian jewelry speaks for them.
As a woman, my own favorite pieces of Christian jewelry are those representing the Madonna and Guadalupe. It is interesting to me that most people when wearing their Christian jewelry choose a cross rather than a pendant of the Madonna or Guadalupe. Of course, everyone knows our Madonna, but not everyone is familiar with Our Lady of Guadalupe who appeared as a miraculous vision in Mexico in the year 1531. As she is carved into Christian jewelry, our Lady of Guadalupe represents the many miracles possible for those who have faith.
Christian jewelry in the form of St. Christopher seem to be preferred by men as their choices of Christian jewelry, although in these days of unisex clothing, it appears that this trend is fading. It was believed that when Jesus appeared to him as a young child in need, St. Christopher carried him across a great and dangerous river, thus becoming a patron of travelers and motorists.
Many ecological groups have adopted St.Francis, one of the most beloved saints of all time, because of his deep connection to animals, as their patron saint. St.Francis is a reminder to all of us who love Mother Earth and her offspring to protect our dear and vulnerable friends. It is felt that wearing this particular piece of Christian Jewelry has become a popular symbol to show people of our love of the environment and Mother Earth. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;” ….