The cross is an ancient symbol, which has known many different variations over time. For Christians, it is of fundamental importance, although it has also been a very popular element in jewelry. In Planderful we will tell you the history and meaning of the most popular crosses.
What is the cross?
Everyone would say that it is a Christian symbol. However, Christianity was not the first religion to use crosses as an object of devotion.
From the Stone Age, and up to pre-Christian times, representations in the form of a cross were widespread. The so-called Celtic Cross was for the Germanic peoples the symbol of Odin. It represented a cross enclosed in a circle. Even in ancient Egypt, there was a symbol very reminiscent of the cross, the ankh, a symbol of life. Islam, on the other hand, has never recognized the cross as a religious symbol, because it denies that Jesus died on the cross, having been replaced by someone with a similar face.
The word "Cross" comes from the Latin Crux. For the ancient Romans, it was a tool used to inflict terrible tortures, crucifixion, in fact. But, staying within the sphere of symbols, we recall that in Roman numeration, the number 10 is written X, an element that is very reminiscent of a cross.
Coming to Christianity, as we have already anticipated, the cross is the main symbol of the religion. In fact, it recalls the death of Jesus, crucified by the order of Pontius Pilate, Roman Procurator of Judea, who condemned him to death. Paradoxically, from such a brutal and terrible act, the cross has been reborn and transmitted with a positive value, since the passion and death of Jesus coincide with the culmination of His mission of salvation for all men. A symbol of absolute love, therefore, of extreme sacrifice.
Nevertheless, it took some time for the cross and the crucifix to become widespread and recognized. They began to be used in an important way only from the 4th century onwards. The custom of placing a cross on the altar of churches dates back to the Middle Ages.
Thus, we see the various types of crosses and crucifixes that have spread over the centuries, as symbolic-decorative motifs with particular symbolic meanings.
It is the most distinctive cross, the one used to represent the Crucifixion of Jesus. It has two perpendicular arms, of which the transversal one is shorter than the longitudinal one.
It is a cross formed by four arms of equal size that cross at right angles. Typical of Byzantine art, it alternated over the centuries with the Latin cross as the basis for the plan of churches. Its four equal arms and the fact that it can be contained in a square, make the Greek cross the idealized cross, representing the Divine Nature of Christ.
The eight-pointed cross, also known as the Maltese cross, or St. John's cross, was a symbol of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, at least since the 11th century. It was also a symbol of the Hospitaller Orders of St. John of Jerusalem, on whose garments the white color stood out, recalling the Purity of the Beatitudes.
This cross is a symbol of Byzantine origin. The eight points probably symbolize the beatitudes enumerated by St. Matthew. Alternatively, they could represent the Christian virtues: Loyalty, Mercy, Honesty, Courage, Glory and honor, Disdain for death, Solidarity with the poor and the sick, and Respect for the Church.
It is also called the Cross of the Crusades since it is composed of a Greek cross which in turn is surrounded by four other crosses. This heraldic cross is a symbol of the Kingdom of Jerusalem since the five crosses from which it is formed have their origin in the five wounds of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
It is a Latin cross that is located on an anchor. It is the cross worn by those who work at sea, and also symbolizes the brotherhoods of the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of sailors.
This cross has the singularity in that its upper part is in the form of a ribbon. Therefore, this symbol means immortality, eternal life of the gods, and also of those humans who reach it after death. Later, it began to be seen as a key and adopted the meaning that with it, the dead could access eternal life.
-Cross of Caravaca
This well-known cross owes its origin to the Murcian municipality with the same name. Besides being considered a symbol of the Christian religion, it is an amulet of protection that is used by many people. It is therefore a mixture of religious meaning with superstition or magic, as it is also considered to prevent the evil eye. It symbolizes God and his angels.
-Cross with Jesus Christ
It is the universal symbol of Christianity. It is manifested with the same image as the Latin cross but with the body of Jesus Christ crucified on it.
The cross is jewelry
The cross, as far as jewelry is concerned, is widely used as a symbol of adornment and protection, a precious gift to give to the people we love the most and thus protect them against all evil. They are usually made of gold crosses and also silver crosses.
The creations of the designers have achieved that in a very simple way we can find hundreds of different models, it is very important to differentiate the crucifix from the cross. The difference is that the crucifix represents Jesus nailed to the cross while the cross will not carry the image of Jesus being crucified.
Although the most commonly used form is the pendant to hang on a chain, the cross can be part of a ring, earrings, a key ring, a bracelet, or any other jewelry item. These crosses can be decorated with multicolored gemstones or made of metal only. Cross necklaces are also popular accessories for casual subcultures such as rockers, bikers, goths, etc.
Discover the rest of the jewelry on the Planderful website.