Symbols of friendship easily transcend language barriers and cultural divides. They are often unspecific to any particular period of history or region of the world, and they have existed in just about every human society recorded throughout history.
Certain symbols of friendship may have been more prominent during particular periods of time, and others may have belonged to certain cultures or societies, such as the Claddagh symbol (two hands holding a heart), which is an old Celtic sign that was often used to represent friendship, love and loyalty; it was usually given and worn in the form of a friendship or lovers gem ring. The Arrows of Friendship was an old Native American symbol consisting of two crossed arrows, which was symbolic for forming bonds between different tribes, as well as between individuals wishing to bury past arguments and differences in order to form a lasting friendship. More recently, friendship bracelets have become a universal symbol of companionship. These colored gemstone braids are gifted between friends and became popular throughout America during the 1970's. Friendship bracelets are still prominent in the western world today. Still to this day, one of the most common symbols of friendship and loyalty used throughout eastern and western civilizations is colored gemstone jewelry.
Lapis lazuli is perhaps the best known gem of friendship, often called 'The Stone of Truth and Companionship'. It is a relatively rare, semi-precious stone that has remained popular through the ages and it is still truly loved, cherished and admired for its fascinating form and deep blue color.
Lapis lazuli is often used in jewelry and carved as ornaments. Lapis jewelry may be given as gifts to help form new friendships and strengthen existing relationships. It can also be given to ensure fidelity in love affairs and it's given to those suffering from emotional pain, since it encourages happiness in times of woe. It is also thought that lapis lazuli can give its wearer emotional strength, as well as clearer thoughts and greater wisdom. This is a gemstone that was well known in ancient times for its great healing powers. It was often worn around the neck in attempts to help cure epilepsy, skin problems and difficulties related to blood circulation. Lapis jewelry is also believed to be able to help reduce eye inflammations.
Topaz is commonly used for Friendship Rings and it is nicknamed 'the gem of friendship'. Topaz is considered in some cultures to be the ultimate representation of friendship and fidelity.
Topaz comes in a wide range of colors, but the rarest topaz occurs in natural pink, red or bronze-like orange color. Other notable colors include blue, brown, yellow and gold, but still the reddish violet and orange varieties are the most valuable and sought after gems. All the color shades found in topaz can be used in friendship jewelry, including clear topaz, which is often mistaken for clear sapphire or even diamond. However, it is extremely hard to find pure topaz which has not been altered through heat or irradiation.
Topaz is said to carry the ability to protect against evil, poison and tragedy. It is also said that by gifting topaz, the giver helps the receiver become more gracious and charismatic. All of these wonderful qualities have helped earn topaz the title, 'The Gem of Friendship'. Like lapis lazuli, topaz was also believed to have incredible healing abilities during ancient times; worn over the stomach, it was thought topaz could cure problems with the alimentary system, as well as gout and epilepsy. Most interestingly, topaz was often seen as an early cure for insomnia and it's thought to be able to prevent mental illnesses.
Other than lapis lazuli and topaz, there are numerous gemstones that encourage new friendships and help blossom old existing friendships as well. Moonstone and turquoise are among the most fashionable stones used in gemstone jewelry, often seen worn by the stars or down the catwalk, but there are other lesser known gems thought to encourage new friendships, repair broken friendships and reinforce expression in meaningful relationships.
Some lesser known friendship gems used in jewelry include:
Carbuncle gemstones can be any red gem cut and finished as a cabochon. Carbuncle gems have long been used in gemstone jewelry to reconcile friendships. Cabochons are most popular in gemstone rings, pendants or flat-back earrings. In ancient times they were thought to dispel evil and vindictive thoughts, as well as help quarreling friends who have fallen out, resolve differences and make amends.
Carnelian is another semi-precious stone used in friendship jewelry and it was thought that it could protect the receiver/owner against evil thoughts. It was also believed to help cement new and faltering friendships. It has long been thought that carnelian jewelry can also give the wearer stronger self-confidence.
Garnet is a very popular gem used in friendship jewelry. It is used to perpetuate friendships and thought to guarantee happiness and optimism to those who receive it as a gift, although it is often believed to curse those who receive it unlawfully. It is also said that garnet can change color when danger approaches, warning and protecting its wearer from danger.
Turquoise is the gem of renewing friendships. When turquoise jewelry is given as a gift to friends, it passes along love and courage to the owner while bringing happiness and prosperity to all around. Turquoise jewelry is said to be able to remove any animosity between the giver and receiver. In relationships, turquoise jewelry is believed to be able to help stop quarrels between lovers and increase their passion for one another.