What is the origin and meaning of the cross pendant ?

February 5, 2024

In the past, people wore jewelry with a cross as an illustration of their status, religious belief, or opulence. Cross pendants represented sacred objects. But nowadays, cross jewelry has become decorative accessories for some and each person has the freedom to give them the meaning they want. In other words, you have the option of wearing a cross pendant to either affirm your faith or as an accessory. This guide offers you the origin and meaning of cross-shaped jewelry.

What is the origin of the cross?

The cross is, originally, the most famous symbol of the Christian faith. Depending on your look, you can opt for a double cross necklace or a pendant made up of a single cross. Contrary to popular belief, the cross does not have its origins in the time of Jesus Christ, but many centuries before.

In ancient Israel, a + sign was drawn on the forehead to symbolize divine blessing. Many cultures have also used the cross throughout the ages, up to the present day. But, currently, the cross does not only have religious significance. Other people wear it for decoration.

What is the symbolic meaning of the cross?

Symbolically, the cross is the sanction given to criminals and slaves who did not have Roman citizenship. In Christianity, the cross has long represented persecution. But after King Constantine converted to Christianity, the cross took on a purely religious meaning.

For example, in the past, bishops and the pope wore crosses made of precious metals (silver, gold), decorated with stone. The monks, for their part, wore a wooden cross as a pendant. In pre-Hispanic America and ancient India, the crucifix was similarly a symbol of religion. The Catholic cross represents one of the oldest pieces of jewelry worn by humans, whether religious or not.

What are the different types of crosses?

As mentioned above, the cross is not just a religious object. Various civilizations wear them and each type of cross has its specific meaning. In Christianity, the representation of the cross is made by two straight bars, one horizontal and the other vertical. The two bars intersect to form a 90 degree angle.

  • The different types of Christian crosses that exist are:
  • the cross of Saint Anthony (T-shaped);
  • the cross of Saint Peter (Latin cross upside down);
  • the cross of Lorraine (one vertical bar and two horizontal ones);
  • the Orthodox cross (a Christian variant);
  • the Huguenot cross of the Protestants, etc.

To these different types of crosses are added the cross of Saint Andrew, the Egyptian cross, the Greek cross (like a +), the Papal cross, etc.

In summary, the cross pendant has religious meaning for some and decorative meaning for others. It is up to you to favor it among other types of jewelry according to your perception.