Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crown and Cross

Historical symbols and ancient markings are very interesting to me and I think they add a certain meaning and provide openings for personal interpretations.

They can be icons in cultures and bring a sense of mystery and history to anything that uses them.

One symbol I like and use a lot is the fleur-de-lys. It means 'lily flower' and it is a stylized design of an iris or lily. The fleur-de-lys frequently appears on the design of a compass rose to mark the northerly direction, a tradition that comes forward also to the present time. The designs have been said to represent faith, wisdom and chivalry.

The symbol of the fleur-de-lys appeared in European coats of arms, with the French monarch and the Spanish monarch. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the sole remaining monarch of the House of Bourbon and has the fleur-de-lys on their flag and coat of arms. The fleur-de-lys features prominently in the Crown Jewels of England and Scotland; the Crown created for Queen Victorian in 1838 has in its center the Second Star of Africa cut from the great Cullinan Diamond, and above it are alternating crosses and fleur-de-lys. The royal crown of France is a circle with eight fleur-de-lys ornamenting the top.

The symbol appears on French postage stamps but is not officially adopted by any French Republic; it's also the emblem of the Italian province of Florence due to Medici influence in the 16th century. In architecture it shows up in many places including the railings of the fence in front of Buckingham Palace in England.

In North America the fleur-de-lys is often associated with areas formerly settled by the french. Louisiana and Quebec, for example. It appears on military insignia and the logos of many different organizations, and as a religious symbol it may represent the Trinity.

The heart shape symbol originated as an ivy leaf, which symbolizes eternal love and faithfulness. It's found on memorial stones and artifacts of pottery and wall friezes painted in the bronze age, so it's very ancient. It's prominent in folk art, especially the Pennsylvania Dutch designs.

The crown is a symbol of loyalty. In Ireland the claddagh symbol, with the heart, hands and crown, is used as a symbol of love, loyalty and friendship and is often used as a wedding ring. A Luckenbooth, symbolized as two interwined hearts with a crown, is a 17th century symbol of love, betrothal, affection and friendship, with the two hearts entwined with a crown topping them.

I've made several of these crown heart cross beads. This one is an especially pretty light greenish color, with a design on the reverse side that is taken from an ancient mosaic tile pattern. It has the upraised crown pattern, with the heart, fleur-de-lys and cross symbols on it.

It has an opening from top to bottom for wire or beading to go through it, to make an ornament or a jewelry design.

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