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Fish Jewelry

Fish Jewelry -- Explaining the Fish

What is that symbol that is often seen affixed to the back bumper of cars across the country? It's shaped like some contemporary rendering of a fish and that's just what it is- a fish. And, it is anything but contemporary. The fish symbol is actually an old religious symbol dating back to the very first century A.D. Christian fish jewelry, such as fish rings , fish pendants or fish earrings is also called ichthys jewelry. "Ichthys" is the Greek word for "fish." The Greek letters that make up the spelling are Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon and Sigma. Collectively, these letters translate to "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." The English word is spelled IXOYE.

The significance of the fish is taken directly from the Bible. It may derive from the story where Jesus fed the multitudes with one fish and one loaf of bread or, it may come from the name he gave his disciples- "fishers of men." It ultimately became a symbol for Jesus himself. Whatever the origination of this symbol, it became an important one for Christians during the time of their persecution which began about 54 A.D.

Fellow Christians could recognize each other either by a symbolic handshake representing the fish or by discreetly displaying the symbol for others to see. They could not share their faith openly, so this symbol was a way for them to identify themselves and let others know it was safe to talk about their Christian beliefs. While they had to be discreet then to avoid persecution, Christians today proudly wear their fish jewelry to let everyone know what their faith is.

Fish Jewelry-- Variations of the Symbol

There are a couple of different variations of this symbol. Some are plain with just the simple curving lines that form the fish, but others have words and symbols inside. Fish bracelets in the bangle style may have the word "Jesus" spelled out inside the fish while others may have the Greek letters for ichthys -"IOXYE." Other words like love, faith and hope may also fill in this space. Sometimes the cross is also incorporated with the fish as a double symbol of Jesus and his sacrifice.

Fish Jewelry Options

There are any number of ways to wear fish jewelry. Because of the simple and open design, it makes for an intriguing look. Fish bracelets may come in a bangle or link style where the symbol is the links. Probably the most popular way to wear this religious symbol are with fish pendants . It dangles from the mouth of the fish and hangs down, the head is always up. The fish rings are also popular.

Any of these pieces can come in 14 karat gold or in sterling silver. Some more inexpensive pieces may be silver or gold-plated. But, because of this, there is versatility in wearing the pieces- different pieces for different outfits and seasons.

Because of the style, this type of jewelry makes a great gift for teens and kids. It's hip. Even though the symbol is very old, there is something clean and contemporary about the design that appeals to the younger generation who may not appreciate the fashionable look of a cross pendant. To them, it may seem stuffy and old, while the fish seems new and fresh to them.

This is why fish jewelry is great for celebrating confirmations or baptisms. If a young child or teen has decided to pursue their faith, fish pendants or rings are a great way for them to wear their faith. But, people of all ages can wear it. It is a universal symbol that appeals to many people, not just the Christian youth. Many adults are plugging in to new and different ways of showing their faith and fish jewelry is a way to do that.

For whatever reason, fish jewelry is growing in popularity and the symbol has been cropping up everywhere in the last decade or so. Car emblems and bumper stickers have been the most obvious signs that this is a popular symbol, but it is also used in home decorations, on clothing and of course, jewelry. It also makes for an interesting conversation starter. Most people know about and have seen the symbol, but few people may know what the actual significance of the fish is or how it originated. It is truly a fascinating story that can be shared with people of all faiths. Wearing dangle fish earrings can break the ice at a party, a new church or some other social function. Some people may just like the earrings, but this gives another opportunity for conversation about where to find pieces like them.

Choosing the right piece is easy and it is a fairly inexpensive way to display religious beliefs. In gold or silver, it is a simple fashion statement that means a whole lot more.