Dallas appraiser / estate jewelry buyer Patti Geolat, freshly returned from Bangkok, has been contemplating religious themes in jewelry, including her own personal pieces. Geolat occasionally wears a Shield of David, also known as the Star of David pendant, which she has noticed leads others to assume she is Jewish and ask if she is “part of the tribe.”
Some other traditional religious icons frequently incorporated into jewelry include the Virgin Mary, Jesus, crosses, various saints, the Buddha, lotus, yin yang, and the ohm. This is only an abbreviated list, and by no means the only religious symbols that are used. Just as an image of the Virgin Mary calls to mind a piece of Christianity, other symbols carry their own story. In Buddhism, for instance, the lotus flower symbolizes purity or a journey. The plant grows in murky water, reaching for the light above, until it emerges and blooms into a beautiful flower in the sun. A buyer might see a lotus necklace and know the meaning behind the symbol, or they may purchase the piece based on its appearance.
Geolat spends a great deal of time traveling the country and internationally. She attends many jewelry shows each year, and has noticed that newer religious jewelry designs are striking a balance between modernized and traditional. While these design shifts are noteworthy, the buyers purchasing these pieces are usually just as interested, if not more interested, in the meaning behind a symbol. However, she is quick to note that religious jewelry can mean many things to the person wearing it.
“Some people believe that a piece is for ‘good luck’ or ‘protection.’ Some people understand and subscribe to the practice. Others may be doing it for traditional reasons or reasons that are personal to the wearer.”
Whatever the reason, tribal designs are generally very personal to the wearer, and can often be an expression of their personality, interests, and personal beliefs.
Next time, we will expand into jewelry that can used to define an individual’s interests and heritage, and how fashion can be tribal.
Like these tribal-inspired pieces? Contact Judy Asa to purchase.