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There are many symbols of strength and power that have existed since ancient times. These symbols are all around us, featured in jewelry, fashion, architecture, myths and lore.
Many of the most famous symbols of power today come from various ancient religions, myths, and cultures. A lot of those are easy to translate from one culture to another because of their intuitive and universal nature while others are pretty specific for the cultures that created them. What they all have in common is the nature of their symbolism – designed to represent power and strength.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most popular symbols of power and strength used in jewelry and what exactly they represent.
Arrow pendant by Ann Bijoux Designs. See it here.
The arrow symbolizes power and strength, as it’s used to take down an enemy or to hunt prey. In this light, it’s use as a weapon makes it the perfect symbol to represent authority and power. However, arrows are also used to point someone in the right direction, and in this capacity, this symbol represents knowledge. It’s ability to move fast makes it a symbol of speed. The arrow is also connected with the Greek deities Artemis and Apollo, who were hunters, and Cupid the god of love. These associations make the arrow a multi-faceted symbol.
Mjolnir – a.k.a. Thor’s Hammer
Forged iron Thor’s Hammer pendant by Kvenland Forgeworks. See it here.
Mjolnir was the one-handed war hammer of the Norse god Thor. As the god himself represented power and strength, as well as his control over storms, thunder, and lightning, his hammer Mjolnir also represents these concepts. Coincidentally, it was also a symbol of fertility, both of the land and for married women, but it’s mainly associated with power and strength. Similarly, war hammers in all cultures are symbols of power and strength which is intuitive as they are more strength-demanding than all hand-to-hand weapons used in combat. Thor’s Hammer is one of the most popular and masculine symbols of power and is often featured in pendants, charms and watches in various forms.
Fenrir – Norse Wolf
Fenrir wolf ring by Jewelry Talisman. See it here.
Another symbol from Norse mythology, Fenrir the wolf is often stylized in various depictions in pendants, bracelets and rings. A symbol not of governmental, religions, or military power but of personal strength, the Norse wolf Fenrir symbolizes one’s ferocity and brutal power and rage. Fenrir was the mythical Norse wolf who killed the All-Father god Odin during Ragnarok as revenge for chaining the wolf for most of his life. As such, Fenrir was commonly used as a symbol of retribution and inescapable destiny.
The Norse symbol has also spawned countless other wolf-related myths in literature and pop-culture, most of them usually portrayed as mindless beasts or antagonists. While they too symbolize strength and power, In Norse mythology, Fenrir represented a more “justifiable retribution” delivered through unstoppable strength and rage.
Sterling silver dragon pendant by Crash and Duchess. See it here.
Dragons are a common part of most religions and mythologies but they’ve also outgrown these constraints over the centuries. Today dragons from East Asia to Western Europe and the Americas are viewed as a universal symbol of ancient power, strength and wisdom.
In different cultures, dragons used to symbolize different things. They represented imperial rule and authority as well as evil monsters that heroes had to slay. They controlled water and weather or breathed fire and poison, they were ancient, wise and benevolent beings or giant, world-ending harbingers of doom. Either way, however, dragons have always symbolized inhuman and often unimaginable power.
Lion stacking ring by Bella Mantra. See it here.
Lions are one of the most universal symbols of both personal physical power and royal authority and sovereignty. The reason is very straight-forward and understandable – the sheer power and dominance of lions at the top of their respective food chain together with the fact that male lions just look so magnificent and authoritative with their glorious manes.
Even though lions aren’t really the biggest or most powerful of the big wild cats, their majestic look alone puts them ahead of tigers as power symbols. And even though there have been no lions in Europe for tens of thousands of years, even many Northern European countries today have lions as their national emblems and crests.
Lightning bolt dangle earrings by Uniqa Jewels. See them here.
The lightning bolt was often featured as a weapon of immense strength in ancient mythologies, wielded by the likes of Zeus and Thor. It was a weapon used to bring justice and to mete out punishment. However, the symbol was also seen in relation to rain, which brought water to the lands and fertilized crops. Today, the lightning bolt remains a symbol of uncontrollable power and strength. It’s also a beautiful design, in its symmetry and simplicity.
A Raised Fist
Raised fist pendant by Jewelry Gart. See it here.
A universal symbol of power, strength, rebellion and revolution, as well as fighting and war, fists have always symbolized power and the fight for gaining power. From hate symbols like the Aryan fist to the chain-breaking clenched fists of civil rights activists, this is one of the most universal and recognizable symbols.
The raised fist is a somewhat different symbol from the others on this list as it’s usually used to represent the fight against the ruling power rather than symbolize power itself. However, it doesn’t just represent a “fight for power” it’s also meant to symbolize the unrecognized power of those rising against an unjust rule.
Money and the Dollar Sign
Dollar sign earrings by Renier Jewellery. See them here.
Ever since the Phoenicians invented it approximately 5,000 years ago, money has been both a literal and a metaphorical symbol of power. Invented as a physical representation of an object’s numerical value, money quickly became much more than that.
While some people could still be more “rich” and “powerful” than others even during the barter age before money was invented, these simple coins and sheets of paper made that power much more tenable, physical, flexible, and therefore – easy to protect, solidify, and expand. And because money expressed value and power in such a clear way, they also quickly turned into a metaphorical symbol of power and dominance over lower economical classes. The dollar sign and other symbols of currency are popular in jewelry.
These are among the most popular symbols of power commonly seen in jewelry. While many of them also represent other concepts, such as luxury, wealth, potential, aggression and others, they’re all, first and foremost, symbols of power and strength.