Symbolic jewelry lets us express our beliefs, feelings of love, values and intentions. Some can even bring us comfort in times of uncertainty, as well as a sense of protection.
If you’re browsing for a gift or looking for a meaningful piece to add to your collection, we’ve put together a list of 15 most popular jewelry symbols and the meanings behind them. Let’s take a look.
The Hamsa Hand
Hamsa Hand Earrings by Adara Jewelry. Check price here.
A symbol of protection with multicultural roots, the Hamsa hand has great significance to the Middle Eastern and North African people. In Jewish culture, it’s known as the ‘Hand of Miriam’, which represents the Hand of God. In Islamic faith, it’s called as ‘The Hand of Fatima’, named after the daughter of Prophet Mohammed. It carries multiple meanings, but it’s generally associated with protection from evil. In Hebrew, the word ‘hamesh’ means ‘five’, representing the five fingers of the right hand on the symbol.
Sometimes, the fingers are depicted closed together, believed to attract good luck. If the fingers are spread apart, they’re believed to ward off evil. The Hamsa hand can also be worn upside down, since this doesn’t change its symbolism. If you want to attract luck, good fortune, health and happiness into your life, Hamsa hand jewelry is an excellent option for you.
Lotus Diamond Pendant by Blue Nile. See it here.
One of the most sacred plants in the world, the lotus is a unique flower that grows in muddy water yet never appears stained or dirty. It has been regarded as a symbol of beauty and purity for centuries. In Eastern cultures, the lotus symbolizes spiritual enlightenment, rebirth and revival since it grows deep in the mud and pushes through all obstacles to reach the surface as a beautiful flower. In the West, it gained association with strength, independence and integrity. Rising above temptations requires great faith in oneself and if this is you, lotus jewelry could be the right choice for you.
The Evil Eye
Evil Eye Ring by Sarah Elise Jewelry. Check price here.
An ancient symbol of protection, the evil eye is believed to deflect bad luck and misfortune caused by an envious glare from a stranger. The Greeks called it ‘baskania’, while the Romans know it as ‘malus’. In Turkey, it’s known as the ‘Nazar boncugu’, which came from the Arabic words meaning ‘eye bead’. For many, the evil eye is a symbol against evil but is also known to represent good luck, hence its alternative name ‘Lucky Eye’.
The evil eye symbol is extremely popular among many celebrities as well as royalty. For example, Duchess Meghan Markle is often spotted wearing this symbol, from a dainty gold evil eye bracelet to a necklace pendant with a blue topaz eye.
The best thing about it is that it’s not a culturally sensitive design, so you can always wear evil eye jewelry without worrying about offending anyone. From blue-and-white glass charms to vibrant enamel tones and precious gemstones, you have lots of options to help keep negative energy at bay!
Tree of Life
Amber Tree of Life Pendant by Yorkshire Jewellery Co. See it here.
Commonly depicted as a large tree contained in a circle, the tree of life symbol is mostly recognized for its branches that reach up to the sky and roots that spread through the ground. It’s regarded the symbol of stability, strength and growth, as well as insight and knowledge. For the Celts, it symbolizes the connection between the heaven and earth.
In Buddhism, the tree of life is believed to be the Bodhi tree, where Buddha achieved enlightenment. In Christianity, it’s a tree in the Garden of Eden that symbolized the God’s promise of everlasting life. One of the universal symbols that transcend cultures and religions, the tree of life is a highly popular design for jewelry that serves as a reminder of your connection to everything around you.
The Ankh Symbol
Ankh Pendant by Rafis Jewelry. See it here.
One of the oldest Egyptian symbols, the ankh resembles a cross, with a loop on the top instead of an arm. Its interpretation varies in different cultures, but it’s generally recognized as the ‘key of life’. It’s said that the ancient Egyptians wore the symbol as an amulet for protection. It was often depicted in the hands of Egyptian gods and pharaohs, associating it with royalty and divinity.
In the West, the ankh is regarded as a symbol of life in general and many wear it as a good luck charm. In fact, many celebrities have been spotted wearing the ankh in jewelry, including Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Rihanna. Regardless of your culture and belief, ankh jewelry is a positive and fashionable symbol to wear.
The Om Symbol
Om Ring by Kimiya Designs. See it here.
One of the most important symbols in Hinduism and other Indian religions, the ‘Om’ represents the universe, the inner self and the connection between the two. The utterance of the sound ‘Om’ is said to symbolize a number of complex concepts, so it’s important to understand its origin and meaning before wearing it in jewelry.
The written symbol is regarded as the greatest of all the mantras, appearing in most Sanskrit texts, prayers and recitations. Many wear this symbol as a reminder of the concepts of Om. In the West, it has become associated with spirituality and a representation of meditation. If you need a reminder to slow down, focus and calm your mind, Om jewelry would be a great addition to your collection.
Eye of Horus
Eye of Horus Pendant by Ice on Fire Jewelry. Check price here.
Not to be confused with the Eye of Ra, the Eye of Horus has its roots in ancient Egyptian mythology. Also known as ‘Wadjet’, it was the symbol of Horus, the Egyptian god of the sky. The Eye of Horus is depicted as the left eye, commonly with blue pupil, and has long been used to represent concepts like healing, health and protection. The symbol is intriguing and mysterious, which is why it’s popular for earrings, pendants and rings as well as many other types of jewelry.
Eye of Providence
Eye of Providence Necklace by Carre D’or. See it here.
Also known as the ‘all-seeing eye’, the Eye of Providence consists of an eye enclosed in a triangle. This symbol has gained mythological and religious significance, but it generally represents spiritual guidance for everyone who believes in God or the Supreme Being. Since it’s a benevolent symbol representing God’s blessings and protection, Eye of Providence jewelry can be worn by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation.
Triple Horn of Odin
Viking Ring by Berloga Workshop. See it here.
Often depicted as three interlocked drinking horns, the Horn of Odin has its roots in Norse mythology. While its exact meaning remains under debate, it’s generally regarded as the symbol of wisdom. In the myth of ‘The Mead of Poetry’, it’s said that whoever drinks the mead from the drinking horn would gain wisdom and poetic inspiration. The Vikings left no written records of their culture, but this symbol remains popular in modern jewelry designs.
Horseshoe Diamond Necklace by Blue Nile. Check price here.
One of the most popular symbols of luck in the West, the horseshoe can be traced back to Irish folklore. In the Middle Ages, it was thought that iron could ward off evil, so witches greatly feared horses because of their shoes. Additionally, the number seven was believed to be a lucky number which added to the symbolism of horseshoes since they had seven nails in them. Today, horseshoe jewelry is believed to protect the wearer by warding off misfortune and attracting good luck.
Four Leaf Clover
Diamond Clover Earrings by Blue Nile. See them here.
Not to be confused with the shamrock, the four-leaf clover is rare, as clover plants normally produce only three leaves. The four-leaf clover acquired different meanings across different cultures, but in general represents luck, as well as faith, hope and love.
It’s a common belief of the Irish that someone who brings a four-leaf clover will be protected from accidents and unfortunate events. Choosing four-leaf clover jewelry is a great way of keeping this special symbol with you for always so that you’ll be protected from bad luck and misfortune.
Anchor Necklace by Blue Nile. Check price here.
Anchors have long been used to keep ships from drifting off into the sea, associating them with safety, security and hope. For some, the anchor represents holding on to certain beliefs, values and goals, especially for those going through difficult times. Anchor jewelry also makes a meaningful gift, showing the stability of the relationship between the giver and the receiver.
The Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt Necklace by Sarah Elise Jewelry. See it here.
One of the symbols of strength and power, the lightning bolt is commonly attributed to famous gods: Zeus, the Greek god of the sky, and Thor, the Norse god of thunder and lightning. In Navajo mythology, this symbol is associated with salvation and the presentation of divine gifts. The lightning bolt reminds us of the supernatural power and the power of nature, making it an edgy, daring choice for jewelry.
Arrow Necklace by Gianni Deloro. See it here.
Typically used to point towards a particular direction, an arrow symbol can serve as a reminder for reaching your goals and achieving your targets. It can also symbolize power and strength, as it has long been used as a weapon to hunt prey or take down an enemy. The Native Americans regard the arrow as a symbol of life, as it protects them from wild animals and enemies.
When associated with Cupid, the arrow symbol is depicted with a heart, symbolizing unending love for someone. If you’re looking for a jewelry gift to symbolize your deep friendship with someone, you can always for jewelry depicting crossed arrows. You can also go for bow-and-arrow jewelry that can represent new adventures and moving forward in life.
Diamond Butterfly Bracelet by Blue Nile. See it here.
Butterfly designs make stunning jewelry pieces, but these winged creatures also carry meaningful symbolisms. Mostly recognized for their metamorphosis, butterflies represent one’s major life transitions. They even played a role in mythologies of several cultures. In China, the butterfly is associated with love and romance, as well as long life and good luck. For more information on butterfly jewelry, check out our article on butterfly jewelry and its symbolism.
Jewelry has long been used as amulets for luck and protection, as well as a representation of one’s values and beliefs. When selecting a symbol for your jewelry, it matters to opt for something that resonates with you and tells your story. With our guide, you’ll be able to make some of these symbols a powerful means of expression.