Symbols of Faith

December 1998

Precious Metals:New Products

Symbols of Faith

Crosses, stars and other religious jewelry are rich in significance and give you a chance to help customers celebrate milestones

Throughout history, religious jewelry has been cherished, coveted and passed from generation to generation. When interpreted in jewelry, these crosses, stars and other symbols of faith can mark significant events in our lives.

Evaluate your community to learn what types of religious jewelry to sell. "Different ethnic communities are interested in different styles of crosses, for example," says Albert Sirazi, president of Big Apple Jewelry Mfg. Corp., New York City.

Birthdays and anniversaries are typical opportunities. People also give their children and grandchildren symbolic jewelry at the time of their bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, first communion or confirmation.

Religious jewelry can even be influenced by secular trends. When pop star Madonna wore crosses in the 1980s, thousands of teens followed her lead.

"Every store should carry a line of religious jewelry," says Bill Whitfield, national sales director for W.E. Richards, Attleboro, MA. "It's a conservative item with historical significance."

One hint from manufacturers: offer religious jewelry that can be personalized, such as with a birthstone or engraving.

And when displaying these pieces, add bulletins or literature from a local church or synagogue. The local connection is a unique way to start a conversation with browsers.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

Art Nouveau-style cross is crafted in 18k gold and encrusted with 1.02 carats of diamonds. It hangs from a mixed open gothic/open diamond-shaped cross chain with bar clasp. Suggested retail, $6,200 (pendant) and $3,225 (chain).
Loree Rodkin, Beverly Hills, CA; (888) LRodkin or (310) 273-7367.

Original tooling from the early 1900s is used to create this 14k die-struck cross pendant with a 6x6mm garnet. The chain is 18 inches. Suggested retail, $259.
W.E. Richards, Attleboro, MA; (800) 343-3978, fax (800) 435-2124.

14k pendant features images of Christ, St. Christopher, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph on the arms of the cross and the Sacred Heart in the center. On the back is a request for the last sacrament with the words "I am a Catholic. Please call a priest." Suggested retail, $69-$142.
Shiman, Providence, RI; (800) 556-7354, fax (401) 943-4230.

The Ichthys cross combines the symbols of the cross and the fish. Ichthys (pronounced IK thus) has Latin and Greek origins and means fish, a symbol that also came to represent Christ. The symbol is found on seals and lamps in Roman catacombs and sarcophagi.
SimplexDiam, New York City; (800) 233-1155, (212) 883-0888, fax (212) 883-9532.

14k gold Nativity coin is enhanced by four diamonds.
Skalet Gold, Chicago, IL; (800) 621-6017 or (312) 477-8100, fax (312) 477-6293.

Designed by Marcy Feldman, this 14k gold Chai charm is the Jewish symbol for life. Suggested retail, $204.
Heartwear Designs Ltd., Southfield, MI, (248) 569-3775, fax (248) 569-8806.

Cross ring features engraved and textured platinum with 0.40 carat of pavé-set diamonds in graduated sizes. A "private diamond" is set into each side of the shank bottom. Suggested retail, $2,650.
Jeffrey Pratt Fine Jewelry Inc., Dallas, TX; (800) 606-9764, fax (972) 492-4471.

A picture of the Madonna and the Sacred Heart is covered with Lucite and nestled in a 14k gold bezel. Suggested retail, $75.
Big Apple Jewelry Manufacturing Inc., New York City; (212) 944-9677, fax (212) 944-9621.

Asymmetrical 14k Star of David is a heartfelt interpretation of a universal religious symbol.
The Touch Inc., Waltham, MA; (781) 894-8133.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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