When I travel, I love to learn of cultural symbols, traditions, and items that locals cherish. Precious stones, symbols, and artifacts can shape a community, a belief, a people. I am not alone in this thinking as I called on my traveller friends to share with you our readers the most beautiful jewellery pieces in the world that they came across on their travels that had a special significance. Some of these pieces are sacred, others can be purchased while visiting the country in question. How many have you seen from our list?

These are Some of the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World - Fill My Passport
the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

The Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

Claddagh Ring – Ireland

By Fill My Passport

The Claddagh ring is symbolic of relationships in Ireland. It originally came from the beautiful and scenic village of the same name Claddagh, located in County Galway. It was first discovered in the early 17th century. Depending on how it is worn, the status of the couple is determined as follows:

On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: denotes single status. On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist symbolizes a steady relationship. If worn on the left hand with the point of the heart pointing toward the fingertips, the couple is engaged.  If the ring is worn on the left hand with the point of the heart pointing toward the wrist the couple is married.

Gold Claddagh Ring
Gold Claddagh Ring – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

The classic symbol is easily identifiable with the featured heart between two clasped hands with a surmounted crown. It traditionally symbolizes love, friendship, and loyalty.

Bali – Buddha Necklace

by: Meghna & Pushkaraj of Trailing Abroad, Facebook

We visited Bali, Indonesia recently and absolutely loved everything the island had to offer. From beaches, beach clubs, waterfalls, jungles to temples and rice terraces, Bali is an action packed island with so much to offer.

Buddha Necklace, Bali
Buddha Necklace, Bali, Credit: Trailing Aboad – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

Balinese culture is a mix of Hindu and Buddhist traditions and though most of the population on the island is Hindu, Balinese Hinduism has a lot of Buddhist influence in terms of customs. While roaming on the streets of Bali, you’ll find plenty of Buddha statues, show pieces and souvenirs on display for sale. As I was shopping around in the charming boutiques and quaint little shops of Seminyak, I laid my eyes on a gorgeous necklace, symbolic of Indonesian culture. That very instant I knew that this was going to be my lucky charm and a perfect take-away from this incredible island. I have adorned this necklace many a times ever since and it remains my most precious find from Bali.

Mursi Tribe Symbolic Discs – Ethiopia

By: Becky Morales of Kid World Citizen

Among the 6000+ Mursi, there are 8 villages spread out in the mountains of Mago Park, in the south Omo Valley in Ethiopia. We met a young couple- newlyweds- who showed us how she would stretch out her pierced lip by hanging heavier bracelets from it. Girls start to cut their lip around age 15. When they marry at age 16-17, they wear the clay disk when serving food to men, or at special occasions such as weddings or dances. They do not wear it all the time. In fact, if their husband dies, they remove the disk forever and will never marry again. The government has tried to stop the lip-cutting, but the Mursi swore they would never change their traditions. In fact, they consider themselves almost like a country within a country. The disk is an accessory of beauty, one that is uniquely theirs.

Ethiopia- Mursi Tribe
Ethiopia- Mursi Tribe Credit: Kid World Citizen, the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

Evil Eye – Greece

By Sandy of Tray Tables Away

The Evil eye is a symbol that has been found throughout the Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East for over 3000 years. It is believed that if the evil eye looks upon you you will be cursed with bad luck and misfortune and the only way to ward it off is to wear a talisman or symbol of the eye yourself, sometimes several at once.
Evil Eye Jewellery
Evil Eye Jewellery – Credit: Tray Tables Away, the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World
Throughout Greece and Turkey in particular jewellery stores and souvenir shops are heaving with Evil eye merchandise from fridge magnets to fine jewelry and intricate home wares. In recent years many celebrities have taken to wearing the eye in many forms and it is often worn as a pendant, bracelet or earrings by Greeks, Turks and many visitors to those countries.
I have personally purchased a number of beads and earrings on my trips to Greece and Turkey. These are a few in my collection.

Gau Necklace from Bodh gaya, India

by: Liza of Soul Drifters Travel 

During my travels to India two years ago I went to a place called Bodh Gaya in the state of Bihar which is very close to the Northern border of Nepal. Near one of the Buddhist pilgrimage sites there was a Tibetan market where people from Tibet come to sell their Buddhist relics. At one of the stalls there was a man the size of a small boy. I could tell he had many years on him and had that he had travelled far and wide. He picked up a specific piece of jewellery and put it in my hand and told me it will keep me safe while travelling. (I think he could see I was far from home.) It is called a Gau or prayer box, it’s a religious relic it’s hollow and can be used to cherish a religious or personal item. At the bottom it has a leather pouch that is sewn shut, he said there is a Mantra (sacred verse) inside written by a Buddhist Monk. The leather is from a Yak which is a wild Ox from the mountains of Tibet. When ever I travel now it comes with me.
Gau Necklace from Bodh gaya, India
Gau Necklace from Bodh gaya, India. Credit; Soul Drifters Travel, the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

Jade Bracelets – China

By Stephanie of Road Unraveled, Facebook

One of the most beautiful jewellery pieces in the world I have purchased is a jade bracelet I bought on the last day of my first trip to Beijing. I spent more than a week in Beijing and admired how so many of the women I passed on the street had gorgeous green bangles around their wrists. Before I returned home I made it my mission to buy one for myself. With the help of a very patient saleswoman I found my perfect bracelet—and learned a lot about why jade is so popular. China’s attachment to jade dates back more than 7,000 years, when it was prominently featured in ritual ceremonies to provide protection to both the living and dead. Today, Chinese women often wear jade bracelets for the same reason; they symbolize protection for the physical body and the person’s spirit. Many people also believe jade is a powerful stone that can improve a person’s health by enhancing immunity and restoring the body and mind. While most jade sold at reasonable prices is enhanced—meaning it isn’t genuine jade—it’s stunning and symbolic of China’s culture and history. Every time I wear my bracelet I remember its beautiful tradition and my incredible visit to China!

Jade Bracelet- China
Jade Bracelet- China – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World
Credit: Road Unraveled

Amber Jewellery – Poland

By Aga of Worldering Around, Facebook

Surrounded by the mystery due to its unknown (at the time) origin, for centuries amber has been treated as a magical stone. Highly valued in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, this hard, honey coloured gem was formed in the ancient times from the resin – a substance produced by trees.

Amber from Poland
Amber from Poland – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World
Credit: Worldering Around

In Poland amber has for long been related to the local culture. It had a strong connection especially with the north of the country, as the Baltic Sea Region has been the source of amber since the Prehistoric times.  Widely used in the cosmetic industry, in medicine for healing, it is also believed to bring protection and good luck, and of course, is a great material to create beautiful jewellery. If you stroll by the coast of the Baltic Sea in the north of Poland, you will find many stalls selling household items, toys and souvenirs made from amber. One of my favourite pieces of amber jewellery is a silver bracelet with the amber stones, given to me by my dad when I was a teenager. I always like to look at it and think about how many years it took for those small orange gems to be formed, far away at the bottom of the sea. Quite often you can also find insects, animals or plants captured in amber, because of its soft and sticky tree resin origin.

Navajo Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace

By: James of World Shopping Guide

For the Navajo tribe, the colour turquoise holds a lot of significance. Some sociologists believe that the ancient Native Americans believed turquoise stones to be pieces of the sky. It’s also known to symbolise luck, health, and happiness.

Early Navajo jewelry simply featured turquoise stones but, as the Navajo tribes learnt to work with metal, later pieces of jewellery featured intricate silver work as well. One of the most important pieces of Navajo and Southwestern Native American jewelry is the Squash Blossom Necklace.

Squash Blossom Necklace
Squash Blossom Necklace – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World
Credit: Annie Eagle

The origins of this necklace have caused a lot of confusion. While some believe that it’s based on squash blossoms, others suggest that they are based on the pomegranate-shaped buttons that are found on the pants worn by the Spanish.

One aspect that did come from the Spanish is the crescent-shaped “Naja” pendant, which Spanish Conquistadors wore on their horse bridles. Whether these “Naja” pendants were originally captured or traded is unknown, but they soon became an important part of the Squash Blossom Necklace.

The necklace holds small turquoise beads – little pieces of the sky that promote luck, health, and happiness. Whether that works or not is up for debate, but this is definitely a beautiful necklace to add to your collection or to give as a gift.

Luckenbooth Brooch- Scotland

By: Susanne of Adventures Around Scotland

The Luckenbooth Brooch has been a popular piece of symbolic jewellery in Scotland since the 1600s. It is definitely one of the most beautiful jewellery pieces in the world. The traditional heart-shaped design frequently features two intertwined hearts with a crown on top and is typically made in silver.

In the 18th century the brooches were sold from small workshops or locked booths on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and this are where the name comes ‘Luckenbooth’ originates. They have been gifted as romantic tokens for at least 400 years, often given to the bride by the groom on their wedding day as a sign of love and loyalty.

Luckenbooth_brooches
Luckenbooth_brooches – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World
Credit: Walker14806

Historically, Luckenbooth Brooches were also pinned on the clothing of a baby to act as a talisman to ward off evil spirits and often passed down from a mother to her daughter for good luck. It was also believed that wearing the brooch would ease the pain of childbirth and help the milk flow easily for a nursing mother. During the 18th century, Scots fur traders used the brooches as bartering pieces with Native American hunters and some Native Americans have adapted the design into their own jewellery decorations.

Luckenbooth Brooches are widely produced in Scotland and are still popular gifts.  They can be found in most traditional jewellery shops around the country.

Pounamu Jewellery – New Zealand

By: Kaylie of Happiness Travels Here, Facebook

For the Maori people of New Zealand, Pounamu jewellery is symbolic and important part of their culture. The jewellery is made of Pounamu, also known as Greenstone or Jade. The precious stone is found in New Zealand’s South Island. The rivers where the stone is found are sacred and under the guardianship of the Ngai Tahu tribe. Only 10% of the stone collected is deemed suitable for the making of jewellery. Master craftsmen carve the stone, taking inspiration from the patterns and textures within the stone. Pounamu jewellery is a Taonga (treasure) and passed down through families. The essence of the wearer is believed to stay within the piece. The Hei-Tiki design, a tilted head with stylized carved features, sitting on a compact body, is the most well known and historically significant. In the past, a Hei-Tiki worn by ancestors of the family may have been given to a woman struggling to conceive. Nowadays modern designs also have their own meaning, such as the spiral, Koru, symbolizing new life and growth and the blade, Toki, symbolizing mana, strength and pride.

Feather jewellery, Easter Island, Chile

By: Ketki of Dotted Globe

On my recent trip to Easter Island in Chile, I came across Rapa Nui natives performing traditional dance shows wearing feathered headdresses, feathered earrings and necklaces as well as feathered hair ornaments. The shops in the town of Hanga Roa were also full of feather jewelry. I knew that flower leis and tattoos were popular among Polynesians but it was my first time seeing the magnificent feather jewelry. Intrigued, I decided to learn more about the origins of feather jewelry on Easter Island. The feathered jewelry native to Easter Island has traditionally been made with feathers of chicken, frigate bird, sea gull and masked booby which breed on islets near Easter Island. The feathered headdresses and other jewelry have traditionally symbolized power; in ancient times rare feathers were highly sought after by native chiefs to display dominance. The feathered jewelry made and worn by Easter Islanders serves as an tangible link to the forgotten aspects of the Rapa Nui culture and is becoming popular as souvenirs among visitors to Easter Island, Chile.

Ethiopia – Body Art and Circular Wounds

By: Clemens of Travellers Archive

The Mursi people are an ethnic group in southwestern Ethiopia, that lives lin the lower part of the Omo Valley, which is located in the “Region of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples”. The Mursi decorate their bodies largely with decorative colors. The men cut circular wounds around their nipples expressing that they have killed an enemy. On the back, shoulders and upper arms, both men and women wear this kind of ornamental colors, which adorn the body in circular patterns. The men wear different designs on different occasions, which are drawn with white chalk on the body. In addition to the ornamental colors, the lip plates and the paintings there are colorful headdresses worn by both men and women. There are many speculations about the importance of decorative paints and paintings. But the Mursi themselves do not attach much importance to the explanation of their body jewelry. For them it is simply part of their life and traditions.

Ethiopia - Mursi People
Ethiopia – Mursi People
Credit: Travellers Archive

The Star of David

By Rachel of Rachel’s Ruminations

The Star of David, also called the Magen David, is the symbol of the Jewish people, both inside and outside of Israel. It’s very simple: just two triangles arranged to form a six-pointed star. While it’s been used for centuries in Jewish contexts, it has also been used in Christian and Muslim contexts. It didn’t really start to represent Jews uniquely until the 19th century in Eastern Europe, when the Zionist movement needed a symbol for their flag. What later became the Israeli flag resembles a traditional prayer shawl, with the blue stripes top and bottom and the Star of David in the center. The star was used to more sinister purpose to identify Jews during the Holocaust.

These are Some of the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World - Fill My Passport
Star of David – the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World

While it’s not at all clear what it represents – there are a number of possible interpretations – today it is fairly widely accepted as a simple religious symbol, just as a cross represents Christianity and a crescent represents Islam. If you visit a synagogue, you’ll perhaps see it on the building itself, on prayer books, or on necklaces. When I wear a Star of David, I am declaring my affiliation and pride in my Jewish identity.

These are Some of the Most Beautiful Jewellery Pieces in the World - Fill My Passport
Beautiful Symbolic Jewellery Worldwide
Photo credits: Road Unraveled (Jade bracelet) Evil Eye – Tray Tables Away

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Fill My Passport collaborated with these wonderful travel bloggers on our experiences abroad. All opinions are our own.

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