The Best Selection of Cross Necklaces for Women
You’re probably quite familiar with a cross – it’s very popular imagery for Christians to wear to display their faith. But did you know that they’re not the only group who uses a cross? The cross goes quite far back. We first saw the cross in the Upper Paleolithic era, which was between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. Several petroglyphs, or rock art carvings and engravings, were found in European caves then, and the symbol has been an important part of our history since.
There have been a variety of types of crosses, including the Egyptian crux ansata, which is what we know as an Ankh today and represents life, and the crux gammata, the Eurasian cross of divinity and spiritually, known today as a swastika. You might not have even thought about either of those as a cross, but they are! The cross has been a representation of the four elements, the cardinal points, and even the representation of the connection between physical and spiritual – the axis mundi. This is where the cross gains prominence in Christian mythology, and through comparative mythology, it’s seen to tie in ancient cosmological ideas with present interpretations. Pretty cool, right?
Since we’re a jewelry site, we thought it would be an interesting idea to find necklaces that represent various types of crosses through the ages and show them to you, with a bit of history behind them as well! If you’re a history buff, you’re going to love reading about all the different ways the symbol of the cross has been expressed. There are so many kinds of crosses out there, so we selected both popular interpretations as well as some less mainstream, but equally interesting, styles. We’re sure you’ll learn something new in this list, and hopefully find something new to wear, too!
One of the oldest crosses, the Tau Cross was originally the symbol of Dumuzid, an ancient Sumerian shepherd god. Dumuzid was later to be known as Tammuz, and in Greek, his name started with the Tau symbol, hence the namesake “Tau Cross.” This cross was later co-opted by Christianity and is most likely recognizable to modern-day Christians as the crux commissa. St. Anthony adorned his habit with a blue Tau cross, and since Anthony of Egypt was the patron saint of the Antonines, the cross gained prominence amongst both the Antonines and the Franciscan Order.
The Christian significance is the result of Tau meaning 300, as part of the number 318, or τιη. The 18 references Jesus’ initials, Ἰησοῦς, Iēsus (I and H.) The symbol was beloved by Christians not only due to these numbers but also due to its resemblance of the cross that Jesus was crucified on. You might also recognize the Tau in the form of an Ankh – this was an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph which symbolized the concept of life. The Coptic Orthodox Church, the main Christian church in Egypt, uses the Ankh as their cross as well. As you can see, it’s an incredibly important symbol in both ancient and modern religions, and a great way to show your support for your patron saint or the gods of old!
1. Pewter Tau Cross Necklace
A beautiful representation of the Tau Cross made in the Christian tradition, this necklace is made from pewter and placed on a threaded cord. This is a minimalistic design that allows you to showcase your devotion, and if you look closely on the cross itself, there’s a little figure on the cross! It’s almost as if this necklace is like a handmade piece of art. It’s incredibly well crafted, and measures approximately 2″ large, which is perfect for a statement necklace such as this. The design combines both modern and ancient stylings and is a great addition to a “religious bohemian” style outfit.
This Tau cross is an excellent way to represent your affinity with either Catholic or Franciscan spirituality, as the crucifixion in the middle is incredibly symbolic to their orders. It’s a great way to show affiliation with the Secular Franciscan Order without being overt, as the modern stylings will not be as apparently religious to someone unless they also share your faith. It’s a great piece to have that will spark conversation with the right people: either those who already know or those who want to learn.
2. Olive Wood Pendant – Christian Tau Tao Cross Franciscan Design
Olive wood has a lot of significance in many cultures and religions. The olive tree is considered to be the tree of life, and imagery of the olive tree has been found on tablets placed in ancient tombs. The rich, fertile soil of ancient Sumer was perfect for growing olives. The olive tree was one of the first trade goods in Mesopotamia, dating back all the way to the 7th millennia BCE. Olive trees and olive oil were sacred and often offered to the gods as offerings for peace, prosperity, and general good will. This sentiment has been passed on through thousands of years, and both ancient and present-day religions place the olive tree in special significance.
This olive wood Tau cross is made from an olive tree in Bethlehem, considered part of the Holy Land for Christians. Since the wood is natural, no two crosses will end up being the same due to the unique patterns in the grain. This necklace does come with a certificate of authenticity denoting it is genuine olive wood from Bethlehem, as well as a prayer card referencing the tree of life – the olive tree! This pendant is nice and thick, allowing you years of wear. It’s incredibly beautiful, and the polish on the wood really brings out the grain patterns. No matter your affiliation, we’re sure you’ll love this beautiful necklace!
3. 10k Yellow Gold Egyptian Ankh Cross Gold Pendant
We couldn’t mention the ankh without sharing a beautiful example of one. If you’re into Egyptian cosmology or just love the aesthetic, you’ve got to check out this beautiful yellow gold 10k ankh pendant! This handcrafted necklace has a gorgeous geometric hammered pattern, with milgrain detailing along the edges. The 10k gold is solid and polished to a brilliant luster and will withstand decades of wear. The pendant itself is about 4cm high and 2cm wide. While the necklace is only 10k gold, the color is so rich it looks like it’s 14k! It’s an incredible value for what you’re paying for with this necklace.
The geometric cutting on the pendant really makes it sparkle and gives the pendant almost a reflective look. You can also reverse the pendant and wear it flipped over if you prefer a flatter, but deeper gold hue, as it almost seems designed to be reversible! Since it’s handmade, it’s got a lot of wonderful character to it and is beautiful no matter which way you wear it. While this necklace does not come with a chain, the pendant itself is totally worth picking up! It would go quite well with a gold byzantine chain, or a simple fine gold link chain. You could even pair it with a curb link chain! The pendant’s bell (the opening) is large enough to fit a 5mm chain on it, so if you prefer larger necklaces, this would be perfect for that! We’re sure you’ll love this ankh – be sure to give it a chance!
This is the cross you’re likely most familiar with – that iconic “t” shape! Called the crux ordinaria, it has its beginnings as a crucifixion device in Ancient Roman times. If you’re familiar with the story of Jesus, this was the stake in which he was nailed to and condemned to death on. Used as early as the 2nd century CE, this symbol has become sacred in many sects of Christianity and is a symbol many people still wear today to show solidarity in their faith, as well as a source of personal strength. It is an incredibly powerful piece of imagery for Christians, and no list about cross necklaces would be complete without sharing at least one piece of jewelry with this type!
4. Angelady”God We Trust”Cross Pendant in Crystal from Swarovski
If you’re looking for a way to share your love of your religion in a modern way, look at this cute cross pendant from Angelady. This necklace, titled “The Dream of Eden,” aims to be a spiritual totem for people, with the artist stating that they desire for it to bring people peace, emotional exploration, and self-awareness in a busy world. Made in the shape of the Christian cross, it is a beautiful rendition of the idea behind the Christian cosmology’s idea of the garden of Eden. The leaves are supposed to represent the rebirth of your trust in God. It’s quite a beautiful sentiment for someone of faith.
Made of copper and plated with 14k gold, this beautiful necklace is a great fit for someone who’s interested in more delicate jewelry. In the center is a beautiful pink Swarovski crystal. If you’re not familiar with Swarovski crystal, it’s an amazingly shimmery crystal made of quartz, sand, and various minerals. It remains a trade secret as to exactly what they are, but you can be certain that they’re incredibly beautiful! The leaves are inlaid with a rich green enamel, accentuating the floral design quite nicely. The necklace pendant itself is a decent size, nearly 2″ tall and 1″ wide. It’s a delicate and old-fashioned design with a modern twist. You’ll love this bright and beautiful necklace!
5. Symbols of Faith Inspirations 14k Gold-Dipped Red Swing
Lockets are a great way to keep the things you hold dearest to your heart close to you, and what better way to do that than with your own faith? A unique locket, this 14k gold dipped pendant features ornate detailing on the outside. The dipping is unique for this style of jewelry as it adds a much thicker coating to the metal underneath, resulting in something incredibly strong and thick – it feels just like solid gold! The pattern on the front of the locket is of an ornate, ancient looking style, with red enamel accents. The back of the locket has a cute floral and tree pattern but is subtle due to the gold dipping. The best part about this locket is the surprise hidden inside – it opens to reveal a beautiful cross inlaid with rich red crystals.
The chain the necklace comes with is 30 inches long, which allows you to wear it with a variety of outfits. You could wear it with blouses, tunics, sweaters, and even dresses – it’s a great way to add a bit of antique and mystical flair to your outfit. It makes a great companion to layered necklaces as well and would fit quite nicely in an antique or Victorian style stacked necklace style. This locket is a magnificent way to keep your faith close to you, but still allowing you to keep it a secret unless you decide to open up about it. We adore this necklace – it’s a beautiful sentiment for someone of faith.
The High Cross
The high cross is a variation on the crux ordinaria and is unique to medieval Irish and British Christians. It is called the high cross due to a unique tradition in these areas to erect large crosses, generally around eight feet in height, as monuments. Originally an association with the Celtic sun god, these obelisks were co-opted by Christians in Ireland to spread the word of their own religion, while using popular pagan imagery.
These were typically adorned with traditional Celtic knotwork and interlacing but died out in popularity due to the Roman Catholic influx. But it once again gained prominence in Ireland during the mid-19th century during the Celtic Revival, when Irish nationalism began to grow and imagery of old was once again erected. Today, these high crosses are now very common imagery with Irish Catholics.
6. Tara Gold Celtic Cross Necklace – 18K Plated & Black Enamel
If you’re looking for something unique and fun, but still holding true to a Celtic heritage, we’re sure you’re going to love this necklace. It’s a beautiful modern representation of the high cross, which is something you don’t see often! Plated with 18k gold, this high cross is inlaid with black enamel and has beautiful Celtic triquetra knotwork designs filled with enamel in maroon, blue, and two shades of green. The cross has a gold halo around the bars, typical of the high cross. This necklace would be well suited with an outfit in black or earth tones – it would be a great idea to try and match the colors in the knotwork to a piece in your outfit. It’s the perfect piece to add a bit of subtle color to your outfit.
Measuring 3/4″ tall and 1/2″ wide, it’s a dainty necklace, and would be perfect as a subtle reminder of your faith. It comes with an 18″ long gold-plated chain, so no need to worry about purchasing one. This gorgeous piece is crafted by Solvar Limited, a family-owned company that’s been making jewelry since 1941. This necklace is crafted in Dublin County, Ireland, so not only are you getting that iconic imagery, but it’s also authentically Irish! If you’re looking for a way to represent your Irish Catholic heritage, we can’t recommend this one enough.
The Sun Cross is an ancient symbol which represented the sun, found as early as 1440 BCE on burial urns in England. It is a symbol which has been used by many various religions throughout the centuries and is most famous for representing the main god in Norse and Germanic paganism: Odin and Woden, respectively. In this context, the symbol is representative of a wheel, which shows the passage of life into death, and the circle of life.
If we consider the cross to be a Solar Cross, we see the four parts it is broken into representing the seasons and the cardinal directions. It’s also been used as a consecration cross in Christianity, in which 12 of these would be carved or painted into the walls, pillars, or alters of a newly built church in medieval times. This cross is also the planetary symbol for Earth – it’s amazing how many different uses this symbol has had in human history!
7. AeraVida Ancient Solar or Sun Cross – .925 Sterling Silver
A beautiful example of the solar cross, this genuine sterling silver pendant is a great addition to anyone’s jewelry collection that’s interested in paganism, the occult, or ancient cultures. Designed by artisan Khun O’, this handcrafted necklace is a dainty, yet powerful image of one of the most ancient symbols in human history. Measuring just 17mm around, it comes with an 18-inch-long silver chain, a great length for a subtle centerpiece necklace.
The design in the pendant is quite beautiful, reminiscent of floral and vine patterns, with a small bit of knotwork. There is a gorgeous black patina in the necklace, which serves to accentuate the detailing even further. It gives the necklace a beautiful antique look, one that is quite fitting for such an ancient symbol. Its small size allows you to have a more delicate outfit and can be a great addition in a layered necklace style, as its size won’t be overbearing in comparison to others. If you’re looking for a delicate necklace, this is one you don’t want to pass up!
Byzantine/Eastern Orthodox Cross
Another variation on the crux ordinaria, the orthodox cross is one used in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It’s a very prominent symbol in the cultural landscape and has been a part of the religion since the East-West Schism, an event in the 6th century that caused the Catholic and Orthodox churches to split apart. Looking at the cross, you will notice it has two extra bars. The top beam is representative of INRI, which means “King of the Jews,” a reference to the nameplate hung above Jesus during his crucifixion. The next cross beam is the standard one we see in the Christian crosses.
The final, tilted beam on the bottom represents the footrest which Jesus’ feet were nailed to. Depending on the interpretation, this upwards slant on his right side is pointing towards heaven, or towards St. Dismas, who was crucified to his right. The left side is then pointed down towards Hades, or the thief Gestas, who was crucified to his left. It’s a religion deeply rooted in tradition, and their cross reflects that well.
8. 925 Sterling Silver Russian Orthodox Cross Pendant
Orthodox cross necklaces tend to be very plain and traditional, but we found a gorgeous ornate necklace that we just had to show you! Made of genuine sterling silver, this one-inch long pendant features beautiful detailing on the inside of the cross. The scroll and beadwork are beautiful and reminiscent of medieval patterns. The leaves form their own cross in the middle of the necklace, adding a bit of depth to the piece as well. The design detailing is incredibly clear and delicate and is sure to gain compliments no matter where you wear it. It’s well suited to be a daily wear, and with the nature of the item, you’ll want to!
Beautiful polished, this piece will shine as brightly as your love for Christ. It’s lightweight, strong, and incredibly comfortable – excellent for someone who wishes to have a finer piece of jewelry. This pendant does not come with a chain; however, any fine silver chain would complement this pendant beautifully. With nearly one gram of silver, this cross pendant would make an excellent addition to your collection if you’re of the Orthodox faith. It’s elegant and refined, but simple enough to be an everyday piece.
9. St. Nicholas Bethlehem Olive Wood Cross Necklace in Cotton Pouch
If you enjoyed the olive wood Tau cross above but want something a little more traditional, you’re going to love this St. Nicholas cross! The olive wood is authentically from Bethlehem, which as you know is the Holy Land for Christians. You might be familiar with St. Nicholas, the patron saint of travelers, students, and children, due to his connection to Santa Claus. St. Nicholas has been revered for centuries because of his numerous miracles and penchant for generosity. He enjoyed secret gift-giving, which is how Sinterklaas – “Santa Claus” – evolved! But he is especially important in the Eastern Orthodox church, with special reverence paid to him nearly every single Thursday with hymns from the Octoechos.
The shape is of St. Nicholas’ cross but has the Eastern Orthodox cross embossed in the middle. It also has IC XC NIKA on the cross, which means “Jesus Christ Conquers.” It’s famous iconography in the Eastern Orthodox religion and makes a beautiful addition to this olive wood cross. The cross itself is roughly 1.5 inches tall and 1.0 inches wide and comes with a 24″ braided cord. It would pair nicely with a gold or silver chain as well if you’d like something a little daintier than the cord. Be sure to give this handmade necklace consideration – it’s one of our favorites due to the authentic olive wood and overall quality.
Brigid’s cross is an ancient symbol famous throughout Ireland – even older than the High Cross! Woven from rushes of straw and typically made during Imbolc on February 1st to honor Brigid, the Celtic goddess of smithing, poetry, and fire. It is used as a talisman of protection against fire, as well as general protection against evil, for centuries when it’s hung above the doorway of a home. Brigid was also a goddess of life-giving, and is often associated with Spring, flowers blooming, and the birth of new lambs.
This is most likely where the Christian association with her began, as Brigid was adopted into sainthood when Christianity began to spread across Ireland. Although it’s more famous outside of Ireland with the association of St. Brigid of Kildare, it’s been an Irish folk tradition much, much longer.
10. Connemara Marble St Brigid’s Cross Sterling Silver – Irish Made
If you’re looking for a more unique and traditional way to represent your Irish heritage, this is an amazing necklace to pick up! The detailing of the rushes is exquisite, and the green stone inlay is an iconic Irish stone. It’s called Connemara marble and is only found in the Connemara region of Ireland. The best part about this stone is that no two necklaces will be alike due to its formation.
The pendant itself measures 7/8″ wide and 1.25″ tall and is accompanied by an 18″ long sterling silver chain. The workmanship of this piece is phenomenal. Another piece from Solvar, you can be assured that this jewelry is made of the highest quality – it’s even stamped by the Assay Office in Dublin Castle, a testament to the genuine Irish quality If you’ve chosen Brigid as your own personal saint, or simply want to wear a piece of Irish history, this is an excellent piece of jewelry to add to your collection.
So Many Kinds of Crosses!
No matter if you’re Christian, pagan, or anything in between, there’s no denying that crosses have a rich and vast history that goes back thousands of years. We’ve seen their iconography in cave carvings, surviving thousands of years later into ancient Mesopotamia, and even today in our own modern religions. They hold a special place in our spiritual culture, and most likely will continue to do so as we continue throughout the ages.
It’s amazing how many different types of crosses there are! While this article barely scratches the surface, we’re hoping you learned something today, as well as found a new piece of jewelry to wear. Which one of these crosses was your favorite? Let us know below!