Necklaces & Pendants Guide
Jewelry serves to both accessorize and personalize any outfit. Your jewelry can make a statement about you and your individual style. Jewelry is commonly given as gifts for a variety of secular and Jewish occasions alike. A jewelry item can be given for a birthday or anniversary.
Judaism is full of celebrations where it is traditional to give gifts. These include a girl's Bat Mitzvah at the age of twelve or a Jewish wedding. Necklaces and pendants make for great jewelry gifts for these occasions.
Jewish jewelry is very common. Jewish themed necklaces and pendants may include the Hebrew words of the Shema, Star of David, Hamsa, and Chai symbols.
Necklaces are usually adorned with a central design, which often has symbolic meaning. In Judaism, these symbols can come from Kabbalah, the Torah, Jewish history, and tradition. Some of the more popular symbols include the Star of David, Hamsa, Chai, and Choshen design.
The Star of David, also known as the Magen David, is a historical symbol that has come to represent the Jewish community in modern times. The symbol originated from the shield of David and can be found in ancient Siddur prayer books and synagogues. Today this hexagram shaped star can be found on the Israeli flag and is a very popular design for necklaces.
The Hamsa symbol is an a hand symbol with the palm facing up and the thumb extended outwards. This symbol is common in Middle Eastern cultures and religions. The meaning of the Hamsa is protection against the evil eye. In modern times, the Hamsa is a Kabbalistic symbol and is displayed on wall hangings, blessings, and necklaces and bracelets.
Chai refers to the two letters that form the Hebrew word meaning 'life'. Numerology, the concept that letters have mathematical associations, is popular in Judaism. By studying the numbers associated with Hebrew letters, many scholars have found what they believe to be hidden meanings of the words. The letters of the word Chai add up to eighteen in numerology. Thus, the number eighteen has gained spiritual significance in Judaism. Gifts of money are often given in multiples of eighteen for this reason.
Choshen jewelry is a type of jeweled design that is common for Jewish jewelry items. The Choshen pattern shows twelve multicolored stones in two lines. This design was first found on the breastplate that was worn by the high priests of the Temple when performing holy duties. Each of the precious stones represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Necklaces and pendants can be made of materials such as metal, nickel, and stainless steel. More sophisticated and expensive necklaces can be made of 925 sterling silver and 14 karat yellow gold. The chain of the necklace itself can be made of silver or gold. Some necklaces feature disk on key flash drives for a more tech savvy option. Many necklaces display Hebrew text, such as the words of the Shema prayer "Hear O Israel: the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is one."