Catholic Religious Medals

Jewelry as defined in Wikipedia is 'an item of personal adornment such as a necklace, brooch, ring or bracelet'. This item can be made from gemstones or precious metals or both, also from beads, shells and many other materials.
The word 'jewellery' derives from the word 'jewel; or the Latin word 'jocale' which means 'plaything'.  Jewelry is one of the oldest forms of body adornment.  Recently found beads from Nassarius shells are believed to be 100,000 years old.
Jewelry has been made to adorn nearly ever part of the body from hairpins to toe rings.  It has also been used as currency of trade goods; even to determine the depth of a person, family or country's wealth.  High quality jewelry made from gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds or rubies, and from precious medals such as gold and silver garner tremendous wealth.
Brooches, buckles and pins were initially developed as purely functional items while other amulets or devotional medals were believed to provide protection to ward off evil.
Many techniques create the finishes of platinum, gold and silver.  Most common are high-polish, satin (matte), brushed and hammered.  High polish gives metal a reflective shiny look.  A satin of matte finish reduces the shine.  Matte is commonly used to emphasize gemstones, emeralds, rubies or diamonds.  Brushed finished generally give the jewelry a textured representing brush strokes; hammered finishes give the jewelry a wavy texture.
Other common materials in jewelry are glass, wood, shells, bone, ivory and beads.   Silversmiths and goldsmiths use forging (shaping the metal by use of  compressive forces); casting (pouring liquid metal into a mold consisting of a hallow cavity of a desired shape and allowing the metal to solidify); soldering (the process of two or more metal items joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint); or welding (a fabrication or sculptural process joining materials by causing coalescence the process by which two or more droplets or particles merge  to form a single droplet (or bubble).
Religious medals represent the faith or belief of someone.  They have unique significance as an object of that person's faith or purpose.  Religious medals are prevalent in most religions.  In the Catholic faith medals are often used as memorials of special events or places. 
The Holy Rosary, for instance, is served as a physical means to recite a set of prayers indicating certain events in the Blessed Virgin's life.  Though not always worn, Rosaries can be purchased as necklaces (R41967).  A Rosary always has a miraculous medal at the base of the five set of Mystery beads. Rosary beads are made of glass, crystals, pearls, any number of fine gems including emerald, sapphires, rubies and diamonds.
The Miraculous Medal (R5020) which many look for when they choose to buy religious medals was a personal request of the Blessed Virgin to St. Catherine Laboure.  Its design was created by the Blessed Mother and has become the most popular of all medals.  On the front, Mary stands upon the head of a serpent representing her power to crush Satan.  The words, "Mary, conceived without original sin Pray for us who have recourse to thee" are engraved on the outer edge of the medal.  The back shows the letter 'M' (her initial) with both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary engraved below the initial.  The hearts represent Jesus and Mary's love for all of mankind.
Large religious medals especially for men of the Catholic faith are often the 'Cruciform'. (R16694)  The Cruciform has the base shape of a cross with a separate medal at the end of each arm.  St. Christopher (patron of travelers) St. Joseph (patron of a happy death, of fathers) or St. Michael, St. George (patrons of soldiers) are popular medals for the cross arm.  The Sacred Heart is traditionally placed at the top and a Miraculous Medal is placed at the bottom.  The words, "I am Catholic, Please call a Priest" are engraved on the reverse side to signify a request for the seventh sacrament (Sacrament of the Sick) should the person wearing the medal encounter some dire physical or mental need, especially death.
A Scapular Medal (R5075) is also popular of large religious medals and is found on cruciform or five way medals.  The five-way-medal is a cruciform with a fifth medal of the Holy Spirit in the center of the crossed arms.   St. Simon Stock was given the Scapular Medal by the Blessed Virgin in 1251 with the promise that all who wear it would be given special graces and saved from the fires of hell.
People buy religious medals to be given to babies at Baptism (R5023) or of St. Christopher (8022), St. Michael (5699) at the time of First Communion and St. George (8040) at Confirmation.  St. Jude (8060) and St. Francis of Assisi (R1696) are popular medals for any occasion.  St. Rita (8094) patron of impossible cases, abused women and St. Anne (8002) patron of housewives, pregnant women  and St. Therese of Lisieux (8210) Doctor of the Church, patron of 'the little way' and florists are popular medals among women.
The Catholic Crucifix is another those wanting to buy religious medals might choose.  The Crucifix may be large religious medals with a Hispanic style (R41091) or a Celtic Cross pendant (R4040) or a small, delicate necklace (R4036). 
Many medals are blessed antique religious medals maintained from generation to generations as blessed family heirlooms


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