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The meaning and history of all things engraved and pers

(Pictured: 14k White Gold, Marquise Diamond Promise Ring)

Although I strongly disagree with those who believe that only precious metals, preferably gold, should be used for purity and promise rings (these terms are sometimes interchangeable, but a promise ring can apply to keeping any sort of promise, noble in nature, in most cases), there is a natural tendency in us to ascribe very high value to gold. This results in a subconscious belief that the value of the material will somehow “rub off” on the wearer, making her or his commitment more enduring and steadfast. But what about the color? What implications are we creating by choosing a particular metal for a meaningful ring?

Choosing the right metal for a purity ring or a promise ring

White is the color of purity and chastity. There is hardly anyone who does not know that, as this symbolism comes very naturally. This makes white gold and silver ideal for purity rings. It is also important to remember that the lack of traditional golden color implies not cheapness, but modesty. But purity is not the only meaning of white. This color also indicates a new beginning, clarity of mind, purified thoughts and actions – qualities that broadly conform to the aspirations of most people considering a purchase of a promise ring for themselves or for someone else. White can also mean bodily cleanliness and therefore health – this brings up another important commitment to oneself.


Well, there is nothing wrong with gold, of course 🙂 But doesn’t it seem that the color of gold signifies personal success, security, high status, power, confidence. (gold is also the color of the sun, which adds imagery of good health). These qualities, in my humble opinion, indicate the result of someone’s efforts, other than the present efforts and commitments.

Given these considerations, it would seem that silver and white gold are ideally suited for purity and promise rings. Yellow gold, however, definitely has its place in jewelry!

What is white gold?

There is a misconception regarding what white gold actually is. One must be aware of the fact that white gold is not some sort of specially processed or rarely find metal. Yes, some people do believe in that kind of nonsense… White gold is an alloy of gold and one or more white metals, such as nickel or palladium. If any consolation is required, yellow gold is also usually used in jewelry as an alloy, because pure gold is a rather soft metal.
For promise rings also see:

Men’s Promise Rings: Simple, Discreet, Meaningful

Promise Rings: History and Meaning

This is my first entry in a series of posts that will explore various styles and designs of the cross in many cultures, but primarily in Christian symbolism. Many of these crosses have distinct shapes and applications. They are perfect for jewelry and other decorative arts, especially when a specific religious theme (or affiliation) needs to be emphasized.


Maltese cross is a variation of the Cross Pattée or Cross Formée, but its points emphasized by additional angles between them. Originally the symbol of Amalfi, a small republic in 11th century Italy, this emblem was adopted by Medieval crusaders, particularly the Knights Hospitaller. Maltese cross is also believed to have been acceptable as a Knights Templar symbol. The eight points of the Maltese cross are sometimes interpreted as representative of eight crucial (no pun intended) values:

  • Loyalty
  • Piety
  • Frankness
  • Bravery
  • Glory and honor
  • Contempt of death
  • Helpfulness towards the poor and the sick
  • Respect for the church

This interpretation is interesting, but it is very unlikely that it has much to do with the early period of this emblem’s use. Nevertheless, the Maltese cross is often adopted as a symbol by organizations that have their pride in military valor and serving others. The Maltese cross pendant shown above has a classic shape, associated with the term. Very often, however, the term is used to describe the so called Cross of Saint Florian (see the engraved pendant below). The two shapes are distinctly different, however the Cross of Saint Florian, who is believed to serve both as a firefighter and a soldier, does share some important connotations with the Maltese cross.

It is my assumption that these symbols are especially appropriate for jewelry worn by the wives and mothers of brave men in uniform. As such they can be excellent choices for engraved wedding rings, engagement rings, charms, pendants and other momentous presents.

Leaving aside considerations of correct usage, appropriateness, symbolism etc., the Maltese cross is also one of the most stunning and pronounced geometric patterns used in jewelry and decorative art. A wonderfully designed example of the use of this symbol can be found in this 8 karat gold ring with a white topaz dome by Jude Frances.

See also:

The Knights Templar Cross

These laser engraved pens look interesting, of course. There is one problem, however. What if you don’t have a coat of arms? The manufacturer has this to say:

I currently have list of over 11,000 available names including Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese heraldry…Who wouldn’t like to see their family crest engraved on a beautiful hand made pen?

Well, the problem is that there is a lot more to heraldry than picking your last name from a long list and discovering some coat of arms associated with it. Family crests are unique and they really have to be properly adopted in order for them to be used. Unless you want to use them as a joke of sorts. These laser engraved pens cost $65 a piece, so the joke is on you. Coat of arms do not belong to last names, they belong to individual families, people! Heraldry is a very complicated and somewhat exact science. So much goes into designing every coat of arms, and every little part of it has some very specific meaning and origin. Do not take this lightly! There is a good news, however. Family mottos can be adopted freely and they do not need to be registered. In fact, many families have the same or similar mottos, and there is not problem with that at all. So, instead of using someone else’s coat of arms, adopt your own family device! I am sure some clever graphic treatment for such mottos can be easily designed, or you can simply use them as plain text: on rings, jewelry, silverware, pens etc.

Bible Verses About Love

These Bible quotes about love are given from three popular versions: KJV, NIV and the Vulgate (Latin translation by St. Jerome). Some of them may be suited for engraving on wedding rings, engagement rings, purity rings, as well as other objects that are related to weddings, anniversaries and other ways of celebrating love and relationships. Whether you decide to have them engraved or not, using them for guidance may be a good idea!

Genesis 1: 27


So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.


So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

LATIN (Vulgate)

et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam ad imaginem Dei creavit illum masculum et feminam creavit eos.

Genesis 2: 24


Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

LATIN (Vulgate):

quam ob rem relinquet homo patrem suum et matrem et adherebit uxori suae et erunt duo in carne una.

Proverbs 5:19


Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.


A loving doe, a graceful deer– may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.

LATIN (Vulgate):

cerva carissima et gratissimus hinulus ubera eius inebrient te omni tempore in amore illius delectare iugiter.

Proverbs 10:12


Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.


Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

LATIN (Vulgate):

odium suscitat rixas et universa delicta operit caritas.


Proverbs 15:17


Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.


Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.

LATIN (Vulgate):

melius est vocare ad holera cum caritate quam ad vitulum saginatum cum odio.


Proverbs 17:9


He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.


He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

LATIN (Vulgate):

qui celat delictum quaerit amicitias qui altero sermone repetit separat foederatos

Proverbs 30:18-19


There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.


“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:

19 the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.

LATIN (Vulgate):

tria sunt difficilia mihi et quartum penitus ignoro

viam aquilae in caelo viam colubri super petram viam navis in medio mari et viam viri in adulescentula.


Song of Solomon 1:2


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.

LATIN (Vulgate):

osculetur me osculo oris sui quia meliora sunt ubera tua vino


Song of Solomon 2:16


My beloved is mine, and I am his:

he feedeth among the lilies.


My lover is mine and I am his;

he browses among the lilies.

LATIN (Vulgate):

dilectus meus mihi et ego illi

qui pascitur inter lilia

Song of Solomon 4:10


How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

LATIN (Vulgate):

quam pulchrae sunt mammae tuae soror mea sponsa pulchriora ubera tua vino et odor unguentorum tuorum super omnia aromata

Note: the Latin version is a lot more bold!

Song of Solomon 8:6


Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. (NIV)

LATIN (Vulgate):

pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum ut signaculum super brachium tuum quia fortis est ut mors dilectio dura sicut inferus aemulatio lampades eius lampades ignis atque flammarum

Note: A part of this verse is sometimes quoted separaely: love is as strong as death (fortis est ut mors dilectio)

Song of Solomon 8:7


Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

LATIN (Vulgate):

aquae multae non poterunt extinguere caritatem nec flumina obruent illam si dederit homo omnem substantiam domus suae pro dilectione quasi nihil despicient eum

Note: you may want to use only the first half of this verse: Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. (aquae multae non poterunt extinguere caritatem nec flumina obruent illam)

John 15:13


Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

LATIN (Vulgate):

maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis


Ephesians 5:25


Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

LATIN (Vulgate):

viri diligite uxores sicut et Christus dilexit ecclesiam et se ipsum tradidit pro ea

Ephesians 5:33


Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV)

LATIN (Vulgate):

verumtamen et vos singuli unusquisque suam uxorem sicut se ipsum diligat uxor autem ut timeat virum

Note: you can leave out verumtamen et vos singuli

Colossians 3:14


And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.


And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

LATIN (Vulgate):

super omnia autem haec caritatem quod est vinculum perfectionis

Note: caritas indeed means love in this context, not charity as KJV would have it.

1 Peter 4:8


And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

LATIN (Vulgate):

ante omnia mutuam in vosmet ipsos caritatem continuam habentes quia caritas operit multitudinem peccatorum

1 John 3:18


My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

LATIN (Vulgate):

filioli non diligamus verbo nec lingua sed opere et veritate


1 John 4:8


He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

LATIN (Vulgate):

qui non diligit non novit Deum quoniam Deus caritas est


Romans 12:10b


In honour preferring one another

Honor one another above yourselves.

LATIN (Vulgate):

honore invicem praevenientes


Romans 12:12


Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

LATIN (Vulgate):

spe gaudentes in tribulatione patientes orationi instantes

Col 3:18-19


Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.


Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

LATIN (Vulgate):

mulieres subditae estote viris sicut oportet in Domino

viri diligite uxores et nolite amari esse ad illas

Engraved clocks are perhaps not as popular as they used to be, but this actually puts them in the unique gift category. Clocks are intrinsically useful, you can find one in almost every room, so there is never any need to fear that the recipient of the gift “already has one.” Of course, they do! But you can give them something better! To make and engraved clock even more special and definitely a great conversation piece consider staying away from the usual “To Bob from Mary” style of engraving. The options you have for a very classy engraving actually come from the world of sundials – perhaps the most ancient of all time-keeping devices. As you will see these suggestions will also work flawlessly for a watch, but the task of choosing the right watch for someone is a lot more complicated than finding a clock that person might like. Keep that in mind, especially if it seems to you that some of these suggestions sound too morbid.

So, for centuries, sundials were engraved with various quotes of wisdom. The connection between time and eternity, mundane and heavenly was thus recognized. In fact, many such engravings display influences of specific schools of philosophy! Many of these inscriptions refer to the sun, as the source of the sundial’s ability to keep time, but there are many that are more general and applicable:

AGE QUOD AGIS – Do what you are doing

ALIIS INSERVIENDO CONSUMOR – By serving others, I am worn away Note that although originally a sundial inscription, this phrase actually makes a lot more sense for a clock mechanism, it also indicates a particular philosophy of life.

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS – Art lasts, life is short

ASPICE ET ABI – Look (at me) and pass on

DEO FAVENTE – With God’s favor

DEUS ADEST LABORANTIBUS – God favors the diligent

DIES DIEM TRUDIT – Each day forces out another day

DISCE DIES NUMERARE TUOS – Learn to value your days

DUM SPECTAS FUGIO – I flee even as you observe me

EX HOC MOMENTO PENDET AETERNITAS – Eternity is hinged upon this moment

FESTINA LENTE – Make haste slowly There is actually a company called Festina that makes clocks and watches. In my opinion, only the complete quote makes sense. Who would want a clock that is too fast? The phrase indicates a perfect balance that must be achieved in a clock and in life.

HINC VIVERE DISCE – Learn to live by this example

HORA PARS VITAE – Every hour is a part of life

ITA VITA – Thus (passes) life

LABOR IPSE VOLUPTAS – Labor contains pleasure

NE QUID PEREAT – Let nothing be lost

NON NOBIS NATI SUMUS – We are not born for ourselves

NON REDIBO – I shall not return

NOSCE TEIPSUM – Know thyself

OMNIA FALCE METIT TEMPUS – Time reaps everything with its sickle

OMNIA FERT AETAS – Time brings all things

POST TENEBRAS SPERO LUCEM – I hope for light after darkness

QUID CELERIUS TEMPORE? – What is swifter than time?

SAPIENTIS EST NUMERARE – It is the wise who count

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI – Thus passes the glory of this world

ULTIMA DECIDET – The last one decides

UMBRA DEI – The shadow of God

VERITAS TEMPORIS FILIA – Truth is the daughter of time

VIGILATE & ORATE, TEMPUS FUGIT – Be vigilant and pray, for the time hastes away