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The Antique Jewellery Company

The A-Z of Antique Jewellery Symbols

Jewellery is rich with symbolism and can be highly sentimental. Find below some of the recurring symbols or motifs you may spot in our collections and what they represent.

Acorn

Fertility, immortality, strength

Anchor

Offering guidance and strength. The Archangel Michael carries a sword, while the Archangel Gabriel carries a horn. Crying angels signify death and mourning. Cherubs are often used to represent children

Angels

Hope, faithfulness

Antlers

Strength

Arrow

Mortality, love

Axe

Duty (especially military)

Bear

Strength, guardian of the family

Bee

Organisation, efficiency, community spirit

Bells

Friendship over confrontation; if the bell rings it is believed to ward off evil spirits

Birds claw

Thinking / praying for you

Buckle

Protection, authority, victory

Butterfly

The soul. The three stages in a butterflies life cycle also takes on a religious meaning; the life of a caterpillar, death represented by a chrysalis and rebirth as a butterfly

Clasped hands

Friendship

Coral

Protection from evil, especialy when worn by children

Crescent

Female spirituality, moon Goddess, glory

Cross

Religion, Christian faith

Crown

Sovereign, authority, victory

Crown on heart

‘Ruler of my heart’

Dagger

Honour, justice

Dogs

Loyalty

Dove

Peace, Christain faith, Holy Spirit. Sometimes has an olive spring in its beak meaning hope

Eagle

Noble, strength, wisdom, courage, power

Eye

Protection

Faith, Hope & Charity

Symbolised by an anchor, heart and cross

Feathers

Obedience

Fish

Unity with Christ, Christian faith, generosity

Flowers

See bottom of page for list of meanings

Flying birds

The soul

Griffin

Bravery, vigilance

Hand

Friendship, sweetheart, for a loved one (male)

Harp

Heavenly worship, a bridge between heaven and earth. Also used to represent Ireland

Heart

Love, passion, charity. A crown on the heart symbolises ‘ruler of my heart’. A flaming heart means ‘passionate love’

Horseshoe

Good luck, protection from evil spirits

Keys

Guardian, authority. To enter somewhere, ie. heaven or your heart

Laurel leaves

Triumph, peace

Lizard

Surviving love (lizards were once believed to be fire-proof!)

Owl

Vigilance, wisdom

Peacock

Immortal, beauty, knowledge

Pearls

Teardrops

Phoenix

To rise again, re-birth

Shield

To defend

Skull

Death, mortality

Snail

To persevere

Snake

Everlasting love, wisdom

Spider

Wisdom, hard work recognised, prudent

Stag

Harmony, will fight if needed, honour

Star

Spirit, guidence

Sword

Honour and protect, crossed swords may indicate death on the battlefield

Sun

Power, glory, life giving, male God

Urn

Mourning, death – particularly for older adults

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