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What is Judaic-Christian Jewelry?
Displaying religious symbols through jewelry is a custom that has stood up throughout the test of time. Many religious denominations use sacred symbols as personal jewelry items and outward signs of faith. The symbol can represent a certain faith, denomination, or system of belief. Each and every large world religion has placed a large value on symbols and the wearing of those religious symbols. Most religions believe that wearing such symbols helps to strengthen the faith of the wearer as well as those around that person.
There are many different religious jewelry options from specific denominations. The Catholic faith has an especially plentiful amount of options. Buyers can find catholic items such as rosaries, saint medals, cross pins, crucifix pendants and much more. Religious jewelry continues to grow and religious symbols can be found in many different forms. Not only are the religious beliefs depicted through the pieces, but the jewelry itself can be a true work of art.
Judaism and Christianity
Christianity and Judaism are the two largest world religions that use religious jewelry to the greatest extent. The Christian cross and the Jewish Star of David are two of the most highly recognized religious symbols in the world. The cross signifies the manner in which Christ died and since his death is often followed by a remembrance of his resurrection, the cross is also an outward symbol of the belief in heaven and an afterlife.
In recent years, Christian jewelers have added many different forms of jewelry to the list. For many years, people have worn cross necklaces, bracelets, pins, medals and other various forms of jewelry. But now, there are also Christian jewelry items that have other meanings. Many Christian teens now wear Christian rings to signify their beliefs in purity and chastity. The sacrament of baptism is also an important rite in the Christian faith. In order to celebrate that momentous day, Christians give baptismal rings, pins, and pendants as gifts to commemorate the occasion. Medals with images of various Christian saints are also popular gifts for confirmation and other religious events.
Since there is a large variety of Christian jewelry available, it only makes sense that the options come in a wide variety of materials. Gold is the most popular precious metal for jewelry and religious jewelry often comes made of that metal. Some churches recognize the historical significance that gold and some of the other precious metals have played in religion. Other churches only recognize the metals as beautiful. Religious jewelry can be found in gold, silver and every metal in between including combinations of metals. Stones of many different kinds are also very popular in religious jewelry.
Some believers do not like the idea that religion has been commercialized through various jewelry items. It is easy to see that jewelry makers are definitely making money from religious jewelry. Even in the 1950s, buyers worried that the commercialization of religion might dilute the importance of the beliefs. Jewelry is not the only item that religious figures have found their way onto over the years. The popularity of religious symbols has grown onto bumper stickers, t-shirts and many other products. Since the internet came to the world, online shopping has given people an even greater access to even more products and services.
Shopping Before the Digital Age
Before the internet, religious items were available only at small outlet stores in some of the larger cities. Some of the churches would also sell religious items to fund their operations. Today, however, all of the previous items and thousands of other options are sold online at various Christian gifts websites and online catholic stores.
Catholic religious jewelry goes all the way back to the beginning of the church. Hundreds of different Catholic medals exist today with various religious meanings. Most of the medals have oval shapes and feature the face of a saint or some famous religious site. Some of the medals depict important events, pieces of Catholic lifestyle, or rites such as communion, ordination, or baptism. While some medals are sacred, others are just indulgences.
In the era of the Middle Ages, the Catholic portions of Europe were often hit with plagues. In response to these issues, local artisans began creating special medals to help comfort the community during its time of healing. Eventually, these medals were believed to even help prevent the plague in the first place. These Catholic religious pieces of jewelry often featured saints.
Some of the upper class Catholics of that age even commissioned medals on a private basis. These medals were created to celebrate deaths, marriages, births, baptism, communions and many other events. Finding ancient private Catholic religious jewelry today is very hard. Most of the pieces are held dear to the families that originally created them and they are often handed down from generation to generation. It is also hard to find out the origin of Catholic pieces because the range of style is so large and diverse.
One of the most well known and famous pieces of Catholic jewelry is called the Miraculous Medal. The medal was designed due to a vision a nun named Sister Catherine once had. Sister Catherine was a relatively anonymous nun with no special ties, but her anonymity changes when the first Miraculous Medal was minted and produced in 1832. There were 1,500 pieces of the medal made the first time around and collectors all over the world see it as a high prize. Pieces that were created in the early half of the 19th century are the most special.