Armenian Jewelry: Traditions and SymbolsFriday, November 17, 2023
Since ancient times, jewelry was worn by both women and men.
If currently, jewelry refers only to accessories, back in ancient times it was more important due to its meaning and symbol that certain piece of jewelry carried in itself. Until the 1920s, Armenians had been wearing jewelry not only for beauty but primarily as amulets and talismans.
Today, few people know that each pattern, ornament, and type of jewelry possessed a number of important traditional functions in addition to aesthetic value. Jewelry as an element of traditional culture expressed the worldview of the owner, his social and sexual status. Each piece was worn for a special occasion: there were everyday, festive, ritual, and even enchanted jewelry.
It is noteworthy that in the past men wore jewelry no less than women. In addition to the aesthetic role, jewelry indicated the status and role of men: the more expensive, the higher the social status of the owner. The silver belt was a symbol of masculinity, while the golden belt pointed to wealth and prosperity.
Jewels, as a rule, were made of noble metals such as silver and gold. Precious and natural stones were widely used as decorations. Emerald, turquoise, pearls and pomegranate stones embedded in the metal were in high esteem. Jewels were an inseparable part of the Armenian national costume – “Taraz”. Jewels and costumes were passed by from generation to generation as a wedding gift.
The symbols and purposes of the jewelry are very curious. For example, an unmarried girl had no right to wear a gold belt, silver or gold ring on her right hand. Married women wore head ornaments, bracelets on their legs and arms, snake rings, necklaces with half-moon, triangular or almond-shaped pendants. Triangle or half-moon used to symbolize the feminine origins.
The sound of metal jewelry was compared with the sound of the sky, with the roar of a thunderstorm, which in ancient human understanding could drive away evil and possessed unimaginable power. The main symbol of jewelry was to bring fertility to a woman and protect her from evil eyes and evil spells, and, of course, emphasize feminine charm and beauty.
Another original Armenian symbol used in every branch of art is the pomegranate. Pomegranate motifs are widely used in modern jewelry. Pomegranate was the symbol of fertility and prosperity in the Armenian mythology. Rings, pendants, bracelets and necklaces with a pomegranate image will undoubtedly highlight your individuality. The symbol of eternity is another significant element of the authentic Armenian culture. Like pomegranate, it is used everywhere: from ancient khachkars to patterns on jewelry. The Symbol of Eternity is as old as the Armenian people itself. The Sign of Eternity is a symbol of the national identity of the Armenian people and symbolizes the concept of the eternal.