The Powerful Symbolism of Judaica Jewelry
Judaism is replete with symbolism throughout its rich and diverse history dating back thousands of years. Some of these symbols have naturally made their way into modern daily life, especially in the form of jewelry. In Israel, no notable jeweler of repute will refrain from carrying a vast collection of exquisite pieces of bejeweled art that utilizes symbolism at its core. Here are just a few examples of these age-old symbols that are seamlessly integrated into equally timeless works of precious and semi-precious jewelry.
Star of David
The Star of David is one of the most recognizable symbols in Judaism. It is a universally acknowledged cultural image and is often worn to publicly express one’s identity and faith.
Although the Star of David, also known as Magen David, is widely accepted and recognized, it is actually a relatively modern symbol. Representative of King David’s shield, or the emblem on it, the symbol was not mentioned in Jewish literature until the Middle Ages. Around that time, the Star of David became exclusively associated with Judaism, as Jews were required to wear “badges of the Magen David” in order to identify themselves. During the 17th century, the Star of David was seen on the outside of synagogues, sealing their identity as Jewish houses of worship. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century, when it became an integral part of the Zionist movement, that it really gained popularity.
Star of David necklaces accent your outfit, allowing you to wear your faith close to the heart and serve as a reminder of your heritage — that you are a descendent of Israel. The necklaces are available in a variety of styles, from simple and traditional to modern and flashy. No matter what your style preference, there is most certainly a Star of David necklace best suited to your unique personality.
A Jewish Ring featuring Star of David is an excellent way to show your eternal commitment to your faith and to God.
Star of David bracelets are a more subtle expression of your Jewish faith. They don’t stand out as a centerpiece of your outfit, but you know that it’s there and the meaning behind it.
Star of David earrings are an extremely fashionable expression of who you are — a child of Israel committed to your Jewish faith. They range from small, conservative studs to fashionable, dangling pieces.
Lion of Judah
The Lion of Judah is a symbol that is an integral part of Jewish lore since ancient times; an Asiatic lion connected to the blessing that Jacob gave his son Judah. Most modern-day jewelry can be traced back to the tribe of Judah, which is also the source of the name Judaism. The symbol was recently chosen to represent the City of Jerusalem, and it resides on the city’s flag.
The Lion of Judah is usually seen on the ark at synagogues and the Torah scroll’s mantle covering. Jewelry collections often have the Lion of Judah necklace in multiple variants, and you’ll also find cufflinks with the Lion of Judah motif – both make wonderful gifts for men of strong faith.
Traditionally, Jewish households place the Mezuzah at their entrances. Necklaces based on the mezuzah theme are said to protect the wearer, and continually carrying a mezuzah charm showcases your love and devotion to God. An important symbol in Judaism, a mezuzah necklace is a unique expression of commitment to spirituality which you can carry with you, proudly displaying your Jewish heritage.
Various materials and styles are used to make Mezuzah charms. They are an exquisite complement to any collection of jewelry. Recent uses of the mezuzah hark back to ancient times when the amulet would be worn in a protective capacity. It allows the person to carry the Shema Yisrael wherever they go, which plays a role in establishing one’s connection with God.
Inherent beauty aside, mezuzah necklaces are typically worn for many reasons; many feel closer to God, touching the necklace for guidance or when they need to feel at peace. Mezuzah necklaces can be extremely unique in their design and mesmerizing in their craftsmanship. The Western Wall in Israel has been an inspiration for the pattern of mezuzah pendants and, on the reverse side, some even have portions of Hebrew scripture. A mezuzah Judaic necklace is perhaps the most subtle way to carry your faith.
The word Hamsa, also called Khamsa and Hamesh, translates to “five”, referencing the number of fingers on a hand. In Jewish culture, the hamsa is called the “hand of Miriam”, believed to ward off evil spirits and bring prosperity. Over time, it has become a universally recognized symbol, with the image of an eye placed in the palm of a hand. Hamsa can found as an attractive symbol in people’s homes and is sometimes even worn by people as an ornament. Hamsa necklaces come in diverse styles and designs, and contemporary options are plenty.
The Hoshen in Judaica jewelry is inspired by Israel’s rich cultural history. Aaron’s priestly breastplate is specifically designed as a symbol of hope, available in the form of pendants, earrings, and brooches embedded with a setting of 12 gemstones representing the 12 tribes of Jacob. According to the Talmud:
“The breastplate (hoshen) atoned for false judgments; as it is said, And thou shalt make a breastplate of judgments” (Ex. 28:15).
Hoshen jewelry serves as a magnificent expression of one’s faith, heritage, culture, and history. These pieces of jewelry are much more than just fashion; they serve as representations of faith. Jewelry helps a Jewish person establish his connection to the Jewish nation, God and the Torah. A believer can express pride in his faith, reclaim glory in spirit, and retrace the Jewish nations’ ancient history that dates back to antiquity. By wearing a symbol on the body, a Jewish person expresses pride in being a member of an ongoing tradition that emphasizes getting back to the roots of one’s faith.