As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.
The arrow is a meaningful symbol that can be interpreted in several ways. Because of its versatility and beautiful design, arrow symbolism is popular in art and fashion, especially in jewelry and tattoos.
Let’s take a look at what the symbolism of an arrow is and what it means when worn in jewelry.
A Quick History of Arrows
To understand the symbolism of an arrow, it’s useful to take a look at the history and uses of this object.
Arrows were used as weapons since ancient times, with the oldest bow and arrow dating back to at least 10,000 years and have been used in war and for hunting and sport around the globe for millennia.
An arrow has three parts – the arrowhead, the shaft and the fletchings. The shaft is the body of the arrow which holds the arrowhead and the fletchings on either end. Arrows are traditionally considered a symbol of Native Americans.
For Native Americans, the arrow was a tool for hunting and for protection. It symbolized the sustenance of life. While people don’t go to war with a bow and arrow anymore, arrows are still used in sport and hunting. Being able to shoot an arrow accurately demonstrates skill and the ability to pick out targets.
Arrow Symbolism and Meaning
The meaning of an arrow can vary depending on the direction or type of the arrow. Before we go into that in detail, here’s a quick rundown of the general meanings of an arrow:
- Concentration – To shoot an arrow to target, you need to be able to ignore distractions and to focus with great concentration on where you want your arrow to go. These are the marks of a skilled archer. An arrow represents the ability to ignore the noise around you, regardless of what they are and to focus on where you want to go with single-minded purpose.
- Reaching Goals – The purpose of an arrow is to hit its target or, in other words, to reach its goals. An arrow symbolizes reaching your goals and achieving your targets.
- Protection – An arrow has traditionally been used to protect a person from potential harm. Arrows have come to represent protection and defence from any evil that can come to you.
- Sustenance – Arrows were used to fight enemies and to hunt food, two important aspects of sustaining life. As a result, an arrow symbolizes maintaining and protecting life.
- Moving Forward – An arrow, when propelled by the bow, moves forward to new targets. It’s represents motion and the desire to improve your life.
Arrow Symbol in Jewelry
Depending on the direction of the arrow and the way it’s depicted, the symbol can hold a completely different meaning. Here are some of the more prominent ones.
- Arrow Pointing Downward – An arrow pointing downwards symbolizes peace. While not as popular as the peace symbol, this is a beautiful subtle statement.
- Looped Arrow – An arrow is known for being straight and precise on its way to reach its goals. So an arrow with a loop represents the opposite. It means that you’ll get to your destination, but maybe not in the way you’d originally imagined. On any path, there are obstacles and hurdles that need to be overcome but in the end, you can still reach your goal.
Twisted arrow pendant. See it here.
- Crossed Arrows – When two arrows are crossed, they represent friendship and close ties. In this design, each arrow represents one party of the friendship, and the cross pattern shows an evergreen friendship.
Crossed arrow bracelet. See it here.
- Moving Arrow – A round twisted arrow symbolizes motion and movement. It’s a representation of power and independence that shows confidence in your purpose and in knowing where you’re heading. It can also represent doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals.
- Arrow Pulled Back – An arrow pulled back by the bow and about to take flight represents standing on the threshold of your dreams, looking towards the future and the anticipation of what’s to come. It’s a symbol of positivity, hope and potential. However, it’s also a reminder that in order to go forward, you’ll sometimes be pulled back, but that taking a step back isn’t always a bad thing. This can also be a symbol of the Sagittarius star sign.
Pendant with arrow pulled back. See it here.
- Heart and Arrow – Although this typically symbolizes wounded emotions from love and passion, today this symbol symbolizes unending passion and love for a person. It’s a way to say that you’re captured by them and have eyes for no one but them. This comes from the symbolism of Cupid’s arrow, where according to legend, if you’re struck by Cupid’s arrow, you’ll have undying love for the first person you set eyes on when the arrow hit you. Corny? Maybe. But still cute and one of the oldest symbols of romantic love.
Unique take on pierced heart and arrow. See these earrings here.
- Infinity Arrow – The infinity arrow is a stylized symbol that merges the arrow and the infinity symbol. It looks stunning, simply because it blends so well together. The infinity arrow can be interpreted to mean endless possibilities, potential and things to discover awaiting you.
Infinity arrow bracelet. See it here.
When to Gift Arrow Jewelry
Arrow symbolism is one that many can relate to and it fits a variety of different occasions. If you’re looking for a gift for someone special, a close friend or family member, an arrow jewelry gift can be meaningful and symbolic.
Here are some occasions when arrow jewelry gifts are appropriate:
- An arrow is perfect as a coming of age gift as it’s a way of wishing a person luck and of acknowledging that you believe they can achieve what they set out to do. A twisted arrow or a single straight arrow are perfect for such a gift.
- Perfect as a gift between lovers, arrow jewelry makes for a good Valentine’s Day
- An arrow jewelry gift is a nice touch for a graduation gift as it’s a reminder of things to come and things to achieve.
- As a wedding gift, an arrow accessory speaks of promise and potential. When coupled with a bow, it’s a reminder that marriage is about teamwork and that in order to get where you want to go, you need to work together.
Where to Buy Arrow Jewelry
The arrow is a ubiquitous symbol and you’ll find it in lots of jewelry stores, from online marketplaces to high end stores like Tiffany & Co. Consider why you’re buying the jewelry and your budget before you decide where to purchase.
We recommend starting your search on Etsy or Amazon as these sites feature a wide range of arrow jewelry in a variety of designs, quality and prices. You’ll come across unique, stylized versions, to genuine antique and vintage jewelry. Take your time to sift through to find your ideal piece!