Jewels often play significant roles in the mythologies of many different cultures. Imbued with magical properties and the occasional curse, mythological jewelry and its stories explore themes of tremendous power, manipulation and romance. Read on to learn more about the fascinating lore of jewelry from around the world.
Necklace of Harmonia
Born from the adulterous affair between the Greek gods Aphrodite and Ares, Harmonia suffers the consequences of Hephaestus’s jealous rage. Given to Harmonia as a wedding gift, the necklace curses anyone who wears it with irresistible beauty, causing misfortune for many in the House of Thebes. One of the most infamous instances of this curse occurs in the Oedipus myth. In it, Jocasta commits suicide after finding out she has fallen in love with and married her own son.
Ring of Gyges
Resembling the lore of Tolkien’s One Ring, the Ring of Gyges grants the power of invisibility to its wearer. Legend states that Gyges of Lydia found the ring in a cave, stealing it from an entombed corpse’s hand. He uses the ring to seduce the queen and kill the king, becoming the new Lydian ruler in the process. Plato discusses the moral implications of the ring in the Republic, considering the corruptive consequences of invisibility and temptation.
Japanese mythology features tide jewels, which were magical gems used by the sea god. According to legend, Empress Jingu used tide jewels (individually known as kanju and manju) to conquer Korea. These gems also appear in a legend called “The Lost Fishhook,” in which one of two bickering brothers dives into the sea to search for the missing trinket. He marries the sea god’s daughter and returns several years later with tide jewels and fishhook in hand.
In Norse mythology, a pair of dwarven brothers creates a set of three exceptional gifts: Mjöllnir (Thor’s hammer), Gullinbursti (glowing boar) and Draupnir (gold ring). Every nine days, eight new rings emerge from Draupnir, which Odin eventually places on his son’s funeral pyre. While Thor’s hammer is deemed the most impressive of the three items, Draupnir’s ability to replicate itself and create infinite wealth is still extraordinary.
The Syamantaka jewel, seen as a sign of good fortune, is rooted in Hindu mythology. The jewel originally belonged to the sun god. Legend states that those in possession of the Syamantaka enjoy wealth and prosperity while avoiding myriad natural disasters. Producing huge amounts of gold on a daily basis, this jewel can also summon the sun god himself. Some believe that the gem is actually the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond!
Some pieces of jewelry with legendary histories, such as Claddagh rings, continue to be in popular use today. Browse through our collection of charms and charm bracelets and personalize your favorite pieces of jewelry to create your own magical legacy.