Amulets and Symbols in Jewelry Design
Whether you call them amulets, charms, fetishes, or talismans, virtually every culture had them. I like to think of them as little works of art, but they are so much more than that. They were worn on the body to bring luck, heal, enhance fertility, protect against injury (during travel, hunting, or from bites and stings) or ward off evil, depending on the wearers beliefs and intentions. They came in many forms, made with different materials, and adorned with different symbols. The meaning and significance in the symbolism of a particular image changed from east to west, culture to culture, and even day to day. Even if you do not believe in their magical powers, it is fun to know the intention of the artists who created them, and the power felt by the person who wore them before you, as many of the pieces are antiques. Below is a list of amulets and symbols found in many of the pendants and beads in KatieO jewelry.
The snake is one of the most widely used symbols because it embodies so many forces and traits. With its ability to shed its skin it became a symbol of rebirth and renewal. Since its shape resembled the male organ and the umbilical cord, and its ability to produce so many offspring it was used as a symbol of fertility. In agricultural societies it represented the fertility of the soil. The snakes serpentine form and motion made it a symbol of winding rivers, waves, the landscape and lightening. Since its deadly venom was also used in healing medicines it was a symbol of wisdom and healing. Its ability to live in the water associated it with the primal water from which all life was created. In ancient Egypt the snake was a symbol of strength and was worn to help protect against enemies. In parts of Africa the snake is a symbol of inner strength, energy, and spiritual power, and were thought to be the messengers of the ancestor. In some Native American tribes the snake was a symbol of thunder and lightning, and was responsible for bringing the rain that nourished the earth and ensured a good harvest.
In Chinese Astrology people born in the year of the snake are considered to be diplomatic, lucky, intuitive, and popular.
Top Left: Python, from the Mens Heritage Necklace Collection
Bottom Right: Rattlesnake, from the Mens Heritage Necklace Collection