What is gothic jewelry ?

Gothic jewelry is much older than you think. It is believed that Gothic is a sub, culture took place in the 1970-80's, but it has ancient roots dating back to the 13th century. After a few decades of domination and the oblivion that followed, it returned to the Victorian era and finally finalized as a subculture only in the 20th century. Today, echoes of past times can be seen in the Gothic style jewelry. These are the Christian and floral motifs of the medieval period, the luxury, rigor and sophistication of the Victorian period, and the scandalous symbolism of the modern interpretation.

Many people associate the Goths with Satanists because they share a common symbolism (pentagramsinverted crossesbats, etc.). In reality, they are people with a different vision. The Gothic subculture was built on the concepts of vampirism, decadence, sensuality, the forbidden, passion, obsessions, romanticism, tragedy, suffering and cruel reality. Forming an organic whole, they define gothic fashion in general and gothic jewelry in particular.

Gothic accessories and jewelry

The accessories are the backbone of the Gothic. The Gothic subculture evolved from the punk-rock music landscape of the 1980s and props played a key role in the punk and gothic images. As for the latter, they complete their look with hats, gloves, necklaces, rings and caps, among others. Even though there is a wide variety of styles within Gothic fashion (Steampunk, Victorian, Vampire, Androgen, etc.), accessories are essential to define a person belonging to this mysterious and diverse subculture.


Gothic jewelry revolves around so-called white metals, especially silver, platinum, white gold and steel. White shades are adored because they contrast with dark outfits and favorably underline the gloominess and heaviness of the gemstones. Popular gemstones are black (onyx, black pearls, black CZ stones) but stones that add a touch of color are also welcome. These are emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, and basically any colored gemstone. The only exception is rubies and garnets, i.e. red stones, because their red finish resembles blood drops.

In general, the gothic likes to play with colors, despite the predominance of monochrome shades. Specially inlaid gemstones of many colors cause associations with stained glass windows, which are the culmination of the Gothic style in architecture.


 Gothic motifs and jewelry

Victorian Goth, Romantic Goth, Renaissance Goth and Ancient Goth are styles that build on the traditions of medieval fashion and art. The products corresponding to these styles are the most beautiful, spectacular, sophisticated and refined. The culmination of these jewels is the intricate patterns.

If you've ever seen a Gothic cathedral, you can't ignore the elaborate patterns embellishing the exteriors and especially the interiors. Refined gothic jewelry has adopted these complex patterns and motifs.

Ornaments from the Middle Ages are characterized by great diversity, symbolic meaning, grace, harmony and respect for strict logical laws. One of the most common designs in Gothic jewelry is called lancet, because lancet arches are an essential attribute of Gothic architecture.

Interlacing, the most common and best-known type of Gothic lace ornament, which has greatly enriched Gothic jewelry designs. This ornament is extremely diverse: roses, fish bubbles, clovers, quatrefoils, six-leaf foliage, straight geometric shapes, spherical triangles and quadrangles.
Gothic motifs are impossible to imagine without floral ornaments: stylized leaves, roses, vines, oak, holly, ivy, clover, maple, absinthe, fern and buttercup. In addition to the rounded floral motifs, the Gothic adores images of thorny plants: blackthorn, thistle, wild rose, burdock, etc. Numerous motifs intertwine the vine (the symbol of Christ) with branches of blackthorn (the symbol of passion). Flowers and Krabbes, stylized flowers, leaves and creeping plants are other popular motifs in Gothic. Palm and plant shoots, as well as lilies on a high stem, continue the Gothic floral motifs. In addition to flowers and plants, Gothic also features images of animals, birds, centaurs, human heads, individual figures (most often biblical characters), and episodes from the Bible.

However, not all motifs were inspired by architecture. Images popular in art and conforming to the spirit of the Middle Ages are also visible in Gothic jewelry. Some of them denote the negative aspects of our lives, e.g. suffering, the eternal battle of good and evil, death, etc. These motifs are coats of arms, skulls, swords, points, coffins, etc. At the same time, Gothic is romantic, and we can see it through pendants and rings displaying hearts, interlaced hands, keys and crowns.

Three characteristics of gothic jewelry

Unlike other styles of jewelry, Gothic cannot be defined in a single sentence. That's because Gothic has so many ramifications, often controversial, that their mode ends up being totally different from each other. Nevertheless, we will try to distinguish a few key features:

Cold contrast

Gothic white gold or silver jewelry is made of white metals symbolizing mortality, mystery and restraint. Their cool colors are complemented by contrasting inlays (rubies, sapphires, black diamonds, etc.). Such a palette of colors makes sense: scarlet colors represent blood, black and dark blue imply darkness and gloom.


Symbolic stylization

As we have already pointed out, the Gothic cannot do without symbols. The large skulls, crosses, crowns, knights, dragons and many other themes are Gothic bread and chick butter.


Despite the fact that the Goths are associated with darkness, rigidity and occult rites, Gothic jewelry in itself is super feminine and exquisite. Many items in this style feature delicate lace lines, often complemented by pearl inserts. Just as English Gothic cathedrals had pointed arches and sharp corners, these body ornaments convey mystery not through brutalism but rather through grace.


Influence of the subculture

Studded jewelry, massive rings, heraldic amulets, satanic symbols, this is what we see the Goths and their girlfriends wearing. These elements are much simpler than the true Gothic. Grace has given way to massiveness, incongruity and ostentation.

Gothic crosses

Perhaps the favorite accessory of any Goth despite a particular subgroup to which it belongs is a cross pendant. The defining characteristic of Gothic crosses is their mass, sophistication and high weight. The Goths and Gothesses display this bold accessory.

The cross is an ancient symbol and its history is still uncertain. It was known centuries before the birth of Christianity. Images of two bars placed perpendicularly can be found in Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures and paintings. However, there are many different explanations and legends about the original meaning of this sacred symbol.
There are different reasons why Goths wear crosses. The simplest version is that the followers of the Gothic are Christians. This may seem strange to many people, but it is more common than you might think.

The second reason also has to do with religion. The cross is a derivative of a Catholic crucifix. The link between Catholicism and Gothic dates back to medieval times, when the Gothic style in architecture was common for cathedrals.

The third reason is aesthetics. The crosses, despite their simplicity, seem exceptional. They are recognizable symbols that catch the eye like a powerful magnet. Combine this familiar shape with openwork patterns, the scattering of dazzling gemstones and intricate designs, and you have an eye-catching accessory that deserves praise and admiration.
Perhaps the last reason is indignation. The Goths do not look like ordinary people. Their look is shocking, disconcerting and even horrifying. In any case, no one will be indifferent. Taking a beloved cross and twisting its appearance (as well as its meaning) is a sure way to stand out among the crowd and make people whisper behind your back. It doesn't matter whether these chitchats are with a touch of negativity or positivity. The main point is that Goths get noticed.

Types of crosses in Gothic

The crosses that we normally see in Gothic style jewelry come mainly from the Germanic culture (since this is where the Gothic was born). Depending on designs and shapes, crosses can have different meanings. For example, an inverted cross is believed to represent death. Although this meaning is not incorrect, the inverted cross also symbolizes the disagreement between a person and all that Christianity represents.

At the same time, many people carry crosses for personal reasons of which they are the only ones aware. These may be different hidden emotions that a bearer wishes to convey through the cross, such as anger, for example.

There are many types of crosses, and most of them are found in one way or another in Gothic jewelry.

Latin Cross

The Latin cross is the most common Catholic symbol. It is believed that Christ was crucified on the cross, hence its other name, the Cross of the Crucifixion. It has many other names, the Western Cross, the Cross of Life, the Cross of Suffering, and so on. One of the most intriguing Gothic crosses is known as the Tree of Life. Its image resembles a person with open arms, symbolizing God in Greece and China long before the advent of Christianity.

Reverse cross (st. peter cross)

This cross is typical of Satanists. Christians believe that the upside down cross symbolizes a perversion of the Latin cross, a parody of God and his symbolism. Black wizards and sorcerers often used the inverted symbolism to demean good and exalt evil. While the inverted cross truly projects ideas opposite to Christian ideas, in fact it is directly linked to one of the most revered saints, the apostle Peter.

According to legends, Saint Peter was crucified on such a cross. The unusual manner of death, or rather such an instrument of death, was chosen by Peter himself as punishment for Christ's betrayal. Peter was crucified upside down and died in that position.


So why is this cross widely used among Satanists? A regular cross has four ends, and each of them has its own meaning: the upper end is God the Father, the two lateral ones are God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and the fourth lower end of the cross means Satan. By turning the cross upside down, the people have placed the devil above the Holy Trinity, thus demeaning him.

Tau Cross

The tau cross takes its name from the letter T in the Greek alphabet, although this form is common in many other ancient cultures. For the ancient Egyptians, the symbol Tau referred to both fertility and life. Combined with the circle (which represents eternity), it became the "ankh", the signifier of eternal life. In biblical times, since this symbol was the last letter of the Hebrew letter, T gained the meaning of the end of the world. It also represented the sign of Cain and the sign of salvation. Its alternative names are the Egyptian cross and the cross of St. Anthony. Because of its resemblance to the gallows, it is also called the gallows cross. Some people think that it is the shape of the cross where Christ was nailed to the cross.


Ankh had no special meaning in the Gothic until the movie Hunger, the story of vampires wearing Ankh necklace, was seen. Since then, it has become one of the most sought-after props.

Celtic Cross

The Celtic cross is sometimes called the cross of Jonah or the great cross. The circle incorporated in this cross designates the sun and eternity and probably has pagan roots. There is speculation that the Celtic cross derives from Chi Rho, a monogram of the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek. Therefore, although the original shape of this cross comes from pagan times, it has become a widespread symbol of Christianity in Ireland.
The unusual shape, original motifs (such as Celtic knots or floral patterns) and complex meaning made the Celtic cross popular among the Goths. They appreciate its beauty, its soft and strict form and its eye-catching quality. In addition, the Goths developed the meaning of the circle placed at the intersection of the bars, which is the light to ward off demons.

Gothic can be intimidating, but for most people it is irresistibly beautiful. You don't have to be one of the Goths to make Gothic accessories vibrate. Also, most Gothic style jewelry has little to do with the Gothic subculture, as the artistic style born in the Middle Ages and the modern movement have little in common outside of the name. But perhaps this dissimilarity and diversity is what makes the Gothic even more intriguing.

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