By Åse Anderson
Jewellery has been used for spiritual protection and enlightenment by many different cultures throughout history.
From the evil eye talisman and the Hamsa hand to the Buddha and the lotus flower, there is a belief that wearing jewels depicting spiritual or religious motifs can protect a person from negative energies and promote spiritual healing.
In today's society, spiritual jewellery offers a sense of serenity in a hectic world and there are plenty of jewellery designers incorporating these age-old symbols into designs with a thoroughly modern aesthetic.
Bee Goddess, which claims to be the world's first talismanic fine jewellery brand, recently launched its collection exclusively at Harrods. The Ouroboros Bee Goddess ring, in rose gold with black pavé diamonds, takes its name from the symbol of eternity and depicts a snake about to eat itself to convey the idea that "All is One".
Alice Cicolini's Stone Lotus Lemon ring celebrates the lotus flower's association with Krishna, the Hindu God of Love. The ring is part of the designer's Stone Temple collection, which is inspired by the stone-carved jewellery from the 1920s and 30s, and created by traditional craftsmen in Jaipur.
The meditating Buddha is a recurring motif in the jewels by Peter Schmid, owner of German jewellery brand Atelier Zobel. A small Buddha carved from jade nestles in the middle of this brooch in silver and gold, set with cat's eye tourmaline and diamonds.
The iconic Buddha also gazes out serenely from this ring by Coomi Bhasin, the Indian-born designer behind the eponymous jewellery line Coomi. Dating back to the 15th century, the antique bronze Buddha head is set in gold with rose-cut diamonds.
The new Chakra collection by Vanessa Kandiyoti consists of 21 pieces representing the seven chakras within the human body. Each chakra has a different colour and the red rubies in these three pieces signify the Root Chakra situated at the base of the spine. While we would be happy to wear these jewels set with fiery red ruby cabochons for their beauty alone, they are also said to help ground the wearer and connect her to the power of the earth.
Based in the US, the recently launched Buddha Mama is a high-end jewellery line inspired by Buddhist and Eastern traditions. Founder Nancy Badia creates intricate one-of-a-kind pieces depicting Buddhist and Hindu motifs in gold set with precious stones in an array of colours.
If one spiritual symbol is not enough, this gold charm bracelet by Los Angeles jewellery brand Sydney Evan features a triple whammy of protection in the form of an evil eye, a meditating Buddha and the Hamsa, a Middle Eastern amulet symbolising the Hand of God.
Far from being a niche market, spiritual jewellery is being embraced by designers all over the world. Danish jewellery brand Shamballa Jewels first launched the Shamballa bracelet 13 years ago and today counts celebrities such as rapper Jay Z, Karl Lagerfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow and Giorgio Armani among its loyal customers. Comprised of studded gold beads strung together by the ancient macramé technique, the bracelet is said to encourage a connection to our inner compassion and wisdom. Today, Shamballa's collection also includes necklaces, rings, cufflinks and earrings.
Of course, opinions will be divided on whether or not a jewel can imbue its wearer with any spiritual shield. However, all these pieces are beautiful in their own right so, if this spiritual jewellery brings you an extra bit of luck or protection against evil, that can't be a bad thing.