Well recognized by its circular geometric patterns, mandala is one of the most popular symbols used in meditation. It’s regarded as a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, but it now appears in many different cultures as a form of art and jewelry design.
Since the mandala symbol carries historical and cultural significance, let’s take a closer look at it and its meaning in jewelry.
- What Is a Mandala Symbol?
- What Is the Meaning of the Mandala Symbol?
- The Meaning of Mandala Patterns
- The Color Meaning of Mandala in Jewelry
- Types of Mandala Jewelry
- Origin and History of Mandala Symbol
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Mandala Symbol?
Mandala is the Sanskrit word for ‘circle’, referring to its circular shape. It can be formed with almost all kinds of patterns and many use a freer form of the symbol. Sometimes, it consists of a series of circles, or a square surrounding a circle, but it isn’t limited to geometric shapes.
In fact, the mandala is decorated with many other patterns as well, including flowers and other religious symbols. There’s no set definition for its form since it can be found in many different styles across various cultures. Different variations of the mandala are often used in Asian countries like China, Japan, Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bhutan.
In the West, the mandala is commonly used as a meditation tool to help relax and focus attention while meditating. The reason it’s so popular for this purpose is because of its symmetry, Certain studies have shown that symmetry brings feelings of harmony and balance. It’s also said that focusing on the mandala’s patterns will help you empty your mind and allow for deeper reflection.
What Is the Meaning of the Mandala Symbol?
Many regard the mandala symbol as a visual work of art, but it carries deeper meaning and religious significance. Here are some of the most well-known meanings of this symbol:
A Representation of the Universe
Many cultures and religions use the mandala symbol to signify different aspects of the universe such as wholeness, unity and harmony. Since it’s a circle, it has no beginning or end and its center is said to be the center of the universe. In esoteric traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, the mandala is regarded as a sacred space, into which deities are invited through incantation or by chanting mantras.
The Native Americans used the symbol as a representation of the cosmos or of a deity. In Western culture, mandala jewelry became a reminder of one’s place in the universe, the reality of God, cosmological truths and the nature of the cosmos. In some contexts, it also refers to one’s relation to infinity.
A Journey Towards Enlightenment
In Buddhism, the mandala symbol is associated with the beginning of each person’s journey towards wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment. Some say that the center of the symbol represents an awakened being. It was originally painted on scrolls carried by travelers who used for meditation as they travelled. For this reason, mandala jewelry is also said to symbolize one’s spiritual journey.
A Balance of Mind and Body
In the West, the mandala symbol represents a balance of mind and body, which is often used for meditation and deeper reflection on the purpose of life. According to Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung, the symbol serves as a key to self-acceptance and self-understanding, helping to recognize one’s unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. The symbol is also used for managing stress and anxiety.
The mandala commonly appears in artwork and jewelry design worn by many who believe that it helps them to explore the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspect of their lives.
The Meaning of Mandala Patterns
Mandalas are often composed of several key symbols of Eastern religions, some of which can also be found in jewelry. Here are some of the most commonly featured patterns in this symbol and what they represent:
- The lotus flower in the mandala symbolizes purity and enlightenment and its symmetrical pattern represents balance. This stemmed from the fact that the flower grows in muddy water but continues to remain pure.
- The sun patterns represent the universe and are also associated with energy and life.
- The bells in mandalas symbolize openness, the emptying of one’s mind to gain clarity and wisdom.
- Some mandala symbols feature triangles, facing upward and downward. Triangles facing upward represent action and energy while those facing downward symbolize creativity.
- In some instances, mandalas feature a circular shape of a wheel with eight spokes, which are said to symbolize the ‘Noble Eightfold Path’. In Buddhism, it’s the path towards enlightenment that leads to a place of peace and happiness.
The Color Meaning of Mandala in Jewelry
Colorful Mandala Earrings by Phoenix Unique Crafts. See them here.
The various colors used in the mandala symbol are said to hold different meanings. While some mandala jewelry pieces are often found in intricate filigree and embellished designs, others are decorated with colorful gemstones and enamel.
Many opt for certain colors to attract certain things in life, so if you’re interested in mandala jewelry, you can also choose colors that resonate with your intentions. However, don’t forget that the symbolism of mandala is centered on specific colors, even when used in jewelry, and not on the use of specific gemstones which may carry their own meaning. Check out the meanings of different colors used in the mandala symbol:
- White symbolizes purity, so you can incorporate white and colorless gemstones like diamonds, pearls, white jade, white sapphire, white opals and white topaz in your mandala jewelry.
- Black represents power and deep reflection, so a pair of black onyx mandala earrings or a black spinel mandala necklace can encourage deep thinking.
- Violet is associated with intuition, insight and spirituality, which is why the amethyst is often chosen for violet mandala jewelry.
- The yellow color in mandala symbolizes happiness and laughter. You’ll be able to find mandala jewelry adorned with citrine, yellow sapphires and topazes to bring joy into your life.
- Red represents passion and strength, making the ruby and garnet powerful gemstones in your mandala piece.
- Blue is associated with peace and healing, so you consider blue sapphires and turquoises for your mandala earrings and necklaces.
Types of Mandala Jewelry
The mandala has become a universal symbol, making it highly popular in jewelry designs. If you find mandala jewelry inspiring and meaningful, check out some of these beautiful and unique designs available on the market:
Mandala Stud Earrings by Noa Fine Jewelry. See them here.
If you want to keep things subtle and classy, consider a pair of mandala studs. You can find them crafted in silver or gold, featuring geometric patterns and lotus flower designs. There are also creole hoop earrings made for women with a carefree, bohemian style.
White Gold Mandala Necklace by The Diamond Deal. See it here.
Most mandala necklaces are found in medallion styles, but modern designs also feature intricate cutout discs, as well as pendants studded with precious stones. You can choose from various styles including vintage, tribal, gypsy and architectural.
Mandala Rose Bracelet by Lu Bella Jewellery. See it here.
From cuffs to chain links and beaded bracelets, you can choose a mandala that suits your taste. Some of them serve as a charm, while others are a decorative element of the jewelry piece. If you’re looking for a mandala bracelet that will look professional enough to wear at your workplace, opt for a simple and minimal design.
Diamond Mandala Engagement Ring by Artemer. Check price here.
Mandala rings are great for making a bold statement with their intricate patterns and interesting design. If you’re looking for a meaningful engagement ring to surprise your bride-to-be, consider a mandala design that features geometrical shapes and marquise cut diamonds.
Origin and History of Mandala Symbol
The mandala symbol first appeared in the Rig Veda, an ancient Hindu text which dates back to the Vedic Period (around 1500 to 500 BCE). Since then, it has been found in art and architecture of various cultures around the globe. However, it didn’t become popular in the West until hundreds of years later.
In Eastern Religions
In Hinduism, each book of the Rig Veda is called mandala. There are images and illustrations that come with the text, now regarded as the oldest mandala symbols in the world. By the end of the Vedic Period, many rejected the Hindu philosophy and incorporated the mandala in their own set of beliefs. Some of them were the Charvaka, Jainism and Buddhism.
While the Charvaka mandala features the four elements in a circle, the Jainism mandala incorporated the images of their spiritual teacher known as Tirthankara at the center of a circle. The Buddhist mandala depicts the visual representation of their belief, including the Eightfold Path.
Mandalas in Different Cultures
At some point in time, Buddhist monks travelled the Silk Road, an ancient trade route, bringing the mandala to various other parts of the world. Eventually, the symbol made appearances in Japan, China and other cultures. In fact, it appeared in Greek art and jewelry, with a twist of the “evil eye” symbol, which is believed to deflect bad luck.
Carl Jung and the Mandala
In the West, Swiss psychologist Carl Jung was the first to explore and popularize the mandala symbol. In fact, his work has been influential in the study of literature, psychology and religion. In 1938, he visited a monastery in India where he was amazed by the artwork that features the mandala and he eventually brought the symbol to the West.
As mentioned in Jung’s autobiography ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’, the mandala encourages reflection upon one’s path in life. Later, the symbol became popular for secular use, from therapy counselors to yoga, art exhibits, tattoos and even in jewelry design.
Mandalas are spiritual symbols in Buddhism and Hinduism, representing the universe and the journey towards enlightenment. Today, this symbol is regarded as a universal charm, inspiring designers to create jewelry pieces filled with historical significance and symbolisms, worn by people from all corners of the globe.