Cross jewelry is a little controversial, and though it would easily be one of the trendiest jewelry designs, not everyone is for the idea of wearing cross jewelry.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and you may support cross jewelry or not, but not before you actually understand what cross jewelry means.
So, in this article, let’s look at cross necklaces and what they mean.
Cross necklace meaning
For Christians, the cross symbolizes Jesus Christ’s Suffering and his Resurrect. Historically, however, people would wear the cross because it was believed that the cross offered protection against evil spirits – this belief stands to date, and the cross is still worn to symbolize security and one’s faith. That said, it’s important to note that the appearance of the cross differs depending on the wearer’s denomination. There should be qualms, however, regarding mix and match options for the cross or even the design preferences.
It, therefore, means that there is more than one type of cross, and these crosses carry different meanings. These include:
The Papal Cross – as the name suggests, this is the cross that is designed just for the Pope. This cross features 3 horizontal bars placed towards the top of the vertical bar, with the bottom horizontal bar being the longest while the top bar is the shortest.
Pectoral Cross – This cross is designed uniquely for the Bishops. It measures about 6 inches wide, and it’s meant to sit right in the middle of the chest and not near or on the collarbone.
Roman Catholic or Latin Cross – This is the other religious cross. It is a simple cross, but its vertical bar tends to be longer than the horizontal bar. This cross design is rather common, and you may have seen this ring design in the world of jewelry.
Celtic Cross – The Celtic cross has horizontal and vertical bars, but in addition to these bars, there’s also a ring at the intersection of the bars. Interestingly, the origins of the Celtic cross remain unclear, with one of the older accounts noting that this cross was associated with specific regions that were evangelized by the Irish Missionaries between the 9th and the 12th Centuries. It is also believed to date back to the 19th Century Celtic Revival.
Russian Orthodox Cross – This cross features 2 extra horizontal beams, with the shortest of these bars (the first) said to represent the sign of the cross; the middle represents where the hands of Jesus were nailed on the cross, while the lower bar at the bottom of the vertical bar is said to symbolize the footrest.
Crucifix – this is the kind of cross that depicts Jesus’ image on the cross, and it’s a standard depiction across most of the Christian denominations.
Other crosses include the Greek Cross, the Armenian Cross, Canterbury Cross(associated with the Anglican church), Gnostic Crosses, the Jerusalem Cross, Inverted Cross (St. Peter’s Cross), Cross of Constantine, Scientology Cross, Forked Cross, Tau Cross, and finally, the Greek Orthodox cross.
- It’s interesting to note that regardless of the type of cross necklace an individual chooses to wear, the cross necklaces symbolize the wearer’s faith. It is a physical representation of their beliefs; it enhances their awareness, and in most cases, offers a great sense of comfort to the wearer.
- That said, the cross necklaces are not a new thing or rather, they are not just associated with the Christian religions since the cross symbols on jewelry is a tradition that dates as far back as the oldest civilizations like the Ancient Egyptians – they also wore them as part of their belief system or as worship and celebration of a god. It wasn’t until the Romans popularize the cross as the Christian symbol when they were converted into an entirely Christian empire, something that ended the persecution of Christians and the religion.
- Today, Christians wear cross necklaces as a celebration and declaration of their faith. And in most cases, the cross necklace is gifted during religious celebrations like first communions, baptisms, Easter, and Christmas. They also represent re-dedication to the faith for individuals who are already seasoned in their faith or perhaps persons going through a hard time trying to keep their faith.
What does a sideways cross mean?
- This cross design dates back to the Ancient Egyptians thanks to their looped cross called the Ankh. For them, the cross represented fertility and life. There has been widespread use of this cross that looks like a lowercase letter “t,” and this cross shape is said to be an emblem that symbolizes the wooden post that Christ was crucified on, hence an important symbol of sacrifice, love, and faith.
- The meaning of this cross has been reimagined in the modern world, though. Some people consider it a trendy fashionable cross design, but this ‘fresh’ update is not just a style representation; it’s also a symbol of honor and patriotism in countries like Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, and other Nordic counties where the cross is seen in tombs, to signify the souls’ resurrection or as was rumored in 1219, a sign that the gods were in favor of the Danish forces – so, wearing the sideways cross represents honor and patriotism.
Meaning of cross necklaces in the fashion scene
- In the fashion world, cross necklaces are sold as fashion jewelry, but there is also an equally large number of fashion and jewelry stores that sell high-end crosses. Essentially, cross fashion jewelry has since developed into a style statement and is one of the most popular fashion trends. Some people see this trend as an adoption of the cross necklace as a piece of fashion as offensive and insensitive, but others take it as an appreciation of this Christian symbol.
- With this in mind, jewelers create different kinds of cross necklaces to serve different purposes, which is why there are cross necklaces that represent an expression of love and faith. In other cases, people will buy necklaces because of the sheer beauty of the piece of jewelry.
Is it OK to wear a cross necklace?
Yes, depending on your intentions and faith, the cross necklace could have one of two meanings – a religious symbol or a non-religious symbol.
For religious individuals, the cross necklace is a wearable reminder of their faith, the Lord’s loving sacrifice, and an important way for these individuals to connect to their faith. It’s also regarded as a physical proclamation of faith and, in other cases, a grounding reminder serving as encouragement when faced with challenges. The cross necklace would also inspire wearers to live by faith and grace.
For non-religious individuals, the cross necklace is an accessory that people connect to in different ways. And thanks to the diverse cross necklace styles, individuals are attracted to different designs of necklaces. Generally, the cross inspires dedication and strength in people’s daily lives – even for the people who don’t practice or observe the Christian faith, the cross is very inspiring and empowering to them.
Others wear the cross as an important symbol that reminds them to have faith and hope, where this symbol serves as an important motivator encouraging them to be their best selves. The cross is also deemed as a declaration of a life guided by love and caring for other people.
So, whatever the reason behind your preference for the cross necklace, this piece is personal, especially for people who wear it with appreciation and understanding. This is not, however, to say that the same meaning is what makes everyone wear the cross necklace.
It is worth noting that wearing the cross necklace does not, in any way, mean that you are mocking Jesus.
Does a cross necklace protect you?
Well, no symbol can protect you. However, most people wear crosses and ankhs because they believe that the cross offers them some great sense of protection against all evil, jealousy, harm, spells & curse, bad luck, hoodoo, and all forms of danger.
Tips for wearing a cross necklace if you are not religious
Generally, the cross is considered an accessory that allows the wearer a great sense of self-expression, hence the high demand for the necklace even among non-religious individuals.
- Personalize the cross. You could have a birthstone or any other preferred gemstone added to your cross necklace.
- If you wear the sideways cross, it’s recommended that you wear it with a casual outfit for a more stylish feel. But you could still dress it up, for example, with diamonds. You could wear it around the center of the chest or necklace or even to the side for that stylish asymmetrical look.
- Choose a cross necklace whose design and materials best express who you are.
- You could wear it as a pendant necklace, perhaps one with an additional charm.
- Get a gemstone encrusted cross necklace.
- Only wear the cross necklace if you are comfortable wearing it; make sure that it looks and feels good on your body.
- Opt for thicker chains for a more stylish look.
- Go for a layered look, say, one with a cross pendant and the other chain with a different kind of pendant.
Cross necklaces are often misconstrued, but they are meaningful, even to the non-religious individuals, and as seen above, there is nothing wrong with wearing the cross necklace, your religious affiliations notwithstanding. Just make sure you are comfortable wearing the cross necklace.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.