Have you noticed that skull jewelry always captures glances? According to esoteric psychologists, we show interest in skulls because we realize our mortality. One way or another, we have all encountered the theme of life and death. Throughout history, each culture had its unique response to the symbolism of death. Based on their perceptions of this inevitable phenomenon, they formed their own system of customs and beliefs.
Meaning Beyond the Bones
Look closely at the people who flaunt skull necklaces. From bikers to rock stars, from fashion designers to truckers, from celebrities to average Joes, they have all succumbed to the charms of this millennia-old symbol. Some may say that they opt for skulls only because the symbol is outrageous, brow-raising, shocking… While it is true that many people seek attention by all means possible, the majority of skull wearers find something that resonates with them in this seemingly grim image.
For instance, a 925 sterling silver skull necklace can become a reminder that our existence at one point or another will come to an end. This reminder is not always somber. On the contrary, it can serve a good purpose as an exhortation not to waste time and live one’s life to the fullest. In this context, skull jewelry becomes memento mori.
At the same time, a person who wears skull ornaments wishes to demonstrate that they are not afraid of “otherworldly” things. They perceive death as a transition to another world, and this is a natural and inevitable outcome of life. This significance of the skull is widespread in Latin America. Death doesn’t intimidate people there. Instead, it is celebrated. The world-famous Day of the Dead brings together the living ones and their deceased loved ones. The symbol of this festival is a vibrant, flower-embellished sugar skull.
Besides these meanings, skulls and skull jewelry can act as:
- an attribute for magic rituals and spiritual practices;
- a mean of intimidation;
- a protective amulet and talisman;
- a universal symbol of wisdom, truth, and equality.
Themes and Motifs in Skull Necklaces
The way the skull is depicted, and other symbols that accompany it, can significantly elaborate on its meaning. Below are some of the most widespread themes associated with the skull.
The skull of a bull stands for strength, courage, and dexterity. The horned bovines are also a symbol of family ties, protection of loved ones, as well as bread-and-butter individuals.
The Jolly Roger (the skull and crossbones) is the ill-famed pirate emblem. Originally, it denoted the ruthlessness and despair associated with the life of a pirate. Along with that, it can stand for adventurous disposition, curiosity, recklessness, and the equality of every person in the face of danger.
The death’s head is otherwise known as Totenkopf. Being originated in Elizabethan England, it then turned into a symbol of Prussian (and later German) regular troops. This design shows a skull with a missing lower jaw. At first, it represented people who lead morally questionable lifestyles (criminals, culprits, etc.) but later it became an emblem of the ones who rebel against society and its rules.
The Grim Reaper is perhaps the best-known embodiment of death. A figure holding a scythe, in a dark robe, and with a skull instead of a face is the last thing you’ll see in your life. But those who choose Grim Reaper jewelry don’t intend to summon death. On the contrary, they challenge it and want to have the last laugh. It is believed that the mark of death on one’s body will help cheat death.
The skull in itself represents the duality of life and death. However, a rose that a skull holds in its teeth can take this meaning even further. Besides, this juxtaposition can signify the contrast between beauty and deformity or good and evil.
Another symbol that puts an emphasis on the contrasting phenomena is the skull alongside a clock. It shows that our days are counted and we should enjoy life while we still have time.
The beloved Gothic symbol of the snake crawling out of a skull’s eye socket represents the power of knowledge. The snake here is wisdom while the skull is death. The knowledge that we share with others in our earthly life will remain indestructible even after the death of a physical body.
Skull Necklace Talismans
The skull is a complex symbol. Although it carries a handful of meanings, it is rarely clear which one of these meanings a wearer wants to project. Therefore, although the skull symbolism is thoroughly studied, it remains a deeply personal thing. For this reason, we do not advise presenting skull jewelry as a gift unless you know a recipient well enough to know their motifs of flaunting skulls. That being said, if you’re aware of the significance of this symbol and you want to give it with sincerity in your heart, it will immediately turn into a powerful talisman.