In a recent blog I looked at how I hope you to feel when you wear Liri jewellery – beautiful, to celebrate an achievement, to feel like someone cares. We’re all different and what jewellery evokes an emotion in me may be completely different from what gets you all excited.
In recent years there has been a clear trend in jewellery design where we are really looking at our jewellery to be something that has meaning for us. We aren’t just looking at styles of jewellery (statement, dainty, our favourite colour), rather we’re choosing charm jewellery to celebrate, make a statement and to wear something that has a special meaning for us at quite a deep, personal level. With the growth of companies such as Pandora and their signature charm bracelets being copied by numerous other designers, we are looking to charms to define our style, commemorate an event and to make that very individual statement to the world about what we are feeling and what we have experienced. There is no event or emotion we cannot commemorate with a charm.
But is the wearing of charms in this way anything new? I remember my mother having a charm bracelet, which she had cultivated since her teenage years in the 60s – full of weird and wonderful little pendants (one was even a 3D haunted house complete with ghost. Not sure what meaning it had though). However, I think the market has grown since then and there is no doubt that you can now get a charm to symbolise and commemorate almost anything. Yet despite new styles, if we look at some of the most popular charms, it’s clear that we are still looking to some of the same charms as we have done for hundreds of years. So what do the charms we choose mean and why are we still choosing them? Let’s look and see if we can find a pattern and what this could tell us about us.
The lotus flower is a very popular charm and comes in a variety of designs. It is a spiritual symbol, associated with Egyptology, Hinduism and Buddhism. Across each tradition, the beauty of the flower against the mud from which it grows makes it a symbol of beauty and purity. Its emergence from the mud also means it is a symbol of rebirth. More specifically, in Hinduism, it reflects the expansion of the soul. In Buddhism the lotus is symbolic of purity of the body, speech and mind. Its growth from mud is also celebrated, as its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. In Egypt, it was seen as a symbol of rebirth.
Considering the meaning across cultures, it is no surprise that we widely choose to wear this flower in our jewellery to commemorate new beginnings, growth and strength.
Hand of Hamsa and Evil Eye
The Hand of Hamsa has, and remains, a popular symbol across ancient religions in the Middle East and is seen to depict the hand of God. It is a symbol of protection and is seen to bring the wearer luck and good fortune. It is regarded as brining protection against another popular charm – the evil eye, which we see either as a stand alone pendant, or integrated within the hand itself. With these sentiments in mind, both have become popular charms in more fashionable, modern jewellery designs as symbols of protection against negative forces.
Whilst doing my research into jewellery trends, I didn’t expect to find a reference to a mathematical equation, but, that is what we get with the popular Infinity symbol. Since the 1600s it has represented the concept of the eternal, endless and unlimited. With this scientific sentiment in mind, we now give it to loved ones in jewellery to show that our love for them is eternal and will never end. Romance and science – who would have thought they would ever meet?
The Heart has always been popular in all styles of jewellery across all ages and cultures. Generally given to show love, affection and appreciation for the wearer, its meaning actually differs according to its shape. Did you know that a heart curving to one side at the bottom was seen to protect against witches in ancient times?
In recent years we have seen the increased popularity of the angel charm in fashion jewellery. Apart from expressing a religious belief, be it an angel or an angel wing, both are also seen to symbolise hope, happiness and protection, and are often given as a symbol of our guardian angel.
So what does this all mean?
So…..looking at each of these charms, I think we can agree there is quite a clear theme to them which says a lot about us as consumers today and what we want from our jewellery. There is no doubt we regard charms as positive – they signify warm and loving emotions. There is also an element of seeing them as something we wear to protect us against negative external forces and energies. So what does this say about us? Nothing new I don’t think. With each of the popular charms having been worn for centuries, I don’t think we humans have changed at all. We are still looking at the same pendants for protection, to reflect our own strength and our overcoming of difficulties, seen with the lotus, or to garner strength from others, as seen in the Hamsa and Angel charms.
However saying that we have not changed, in fact goes against the popular belief that mankind has become less spiritual or religious, and is now more materialist and selfish; I don’t think this is the case at all. We are still very emotional and continue to turn to symbols to show or create certain emotions and feelings for ourselves and others. We still want to celebrate strength, love, compassion and protection, and since we’ve been doing this for hundreds, if not thousands of years, I don’t think we will be stopping anytime soon. In fact, I think our charms will just become more specific and elaborate.
So, enjoy choosing that special charm for you, because clearly we love nothing more than expressing our emotions through our jewellery.