There are a variety of different symbols used in Tibetan jewelry. These symbols include Buddha images, plus other symbols that are important in Tibetan Buddhism. Here is a brief outline of some of the images used in Tibetan jewelry.
The Kalachakra mantra, also known as the ten-fold powerful mantra, is a combination of symbols placed on top of one another to form the symbol. This symbol is traditionally shown inside a wheel of fire symbol. This symbol is commonly shown on different types of Tibetan jewelry.
The Om symbol is another common symbol in Tibetan Buddhist jewelry. The om symbol represents the om sound, commonly associated with yoga today. This sound starts and ends all mantras in both Buddhism and Hinduism, and it is said that all sound originated with om.
The eight auspicious symbols are also commonly found on Tibetan jewelry. Each of the Eight Auspicious Symbols represents one aspect of the teachings of Buddha. Though each symbol holds power individually, when they are grouped together those powers multiply. Some of the eight auspicious symbols such as the endless knot symbol and the lotus symbol are commonly shown alone as well.
The Conch Shell: The conch shell is a symbol of power and authority. The shell is used as a horn in religious ceremonies to frighten away and banish evil spirits. It stands as a symbol of the the teachings of Buddha being spread to the world, like the sound of the horn being blown. Images of the Buddha have three curving lines at his throat that symbolizes his deep and resonant voice sounding forth as a conch shell being blown.
Parasol: The parasol is said to cast a shadow of protection. Just as a parasol casts a shadow to protect the bearer from the heat of the sun, the symbolic parasol casts a shadow that protects the bearer from the heat of spiritual suffering. In Tibet, the parasol is associated with royalty. It is a symbol of wealth and prestige.
Two Golden Fishes: The two golden fishes are usually depicted standing vertically on their tails with their heads curved toward each other . They represent the two great rivers of India, the Ganga and Yamuna. In Buddhism these two fish represent happiness because they have complete freedom in the water. They also represent fertility and abundance because fish tend to reproduce so rapidly. Also, the two fish together represent unity and fidelity in marriage.
Endless Knot: The endless knot is a series of right angles and intertwined lines with no beginning and no end. This image symbolizes how all things are intertwined, and each will affect the other. When this symbol is stamped on a piece of jewelry being given as a gift, it symbolizes the connection that exists between the giver and the recipient. It can also mean continuity and represent Buddha’s endless wisdom.
The Treasure Vase: The treasure vase is a pot-bellied vase with a short, narrow neck that has been topped with a jewel symbolizing the fact that it contains treasure. This vase is said to have an endless supply of whatever is stored inside. Therefore, symbolizing abundance and wealth.
The Wheel: One of the most important symbols in Buddhism, the wheel comes in three parts, the hub which stands for moral discipline, the spokes which are usually numbered 8 which represent the correct application of wisdom, and the rim which represents concentration which is necessary to hold the art of meditation together, just as the rim holds the wheel together. Over time, the wheel has evolved into a symbol of the teachings of Buddha. When the wheel is turned it symbolizes the rapid spiritual change that occurs when applying the teaching of Buddha in ones personal life.
The Lotus: This symbol is perhaps the most poignant of the eight auspicious symbols. At it grows, the lotus rises out of the mud at the bottom of the pond, passes through the water, and rises above the water to bloom. This beautiful flower shows how the soul can pass from the the primordial mud of materialism through the waters of experience and into the sunshine of enlightenment.
The Victory Banner: This symbol stands for Buddha’s victory over the universe and his subsequent enlightenment.
Buddhist jewelry is a very important part of the culture of Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. The symbols used on Tibetan jewelry can be used as amulets and protect the wearer.