Ankh jewelry is instantly noticed. A cross with a loop attached at the top, it is easily recognized in the Christian religion, for the similarity to a cross or crucifix. However, it is not considered to be a symbol of the Christian faith. Many different people, of all different religions, and in fact some of those with no religion at all, enjoy wearing the ankh symbol. As a piece of jewelry, it is attractive and somewhat mysterious, suggesting various myths and historical legends.
Upon first glance, the ankh might be mistaken as a sandal pendant. Some historians feel this is an accurate description, although many who believe it has deeper significance would quickly disagree. Academics in Egypt feel it is more likely indicating the importance of the Nile, in history and modern times. To show the unification of the country, the extending arms are considered a representation of the path of the river.
The ankh is commonly called the Key of the Nile, said to celebrate the mythical union of Isis and Osiris. It may suggest that the union of these two gods cause the flooding of the Nile, an annual event that is thought to be life giving in Egypt. It is also thought to be a symbol of fertility, with the symbol suggesting a similarity to reproductive organs. The loop indicated on the symbol is without a beginning or end, suggesting life eternal.
The ankh was thought to deliver a strong and divine protection against the evils of the world. As a strong talisman of this, it was worn by Egyptian kings, as well as featured in the many illustrations of gods and goddesses. In addition to having strong ties to an eternal afterlife, it suggests symbolism to the life sustaining elements of water, air and the sun.
In death, the ankh might be placed in the hands or on the forehead of the deceased, to deliver them to the Boat of the Sun God, where they would be granted immortality. Sometimes, it would be placed upside down on the forehead of the decedent, to ensure that such secrets to immortality would not be shared.
Perhaps a key to the afterlife, it has long been crafted into beautiful pieces of jewelry worn by both men and women. While some find comforting the stories of faith represented in such a charm or medallion, others choose it because it is a lovely article of jewelry, constructed of gold or silver or other precious metals, and sometimes adorned with valuable stones. Egyptian ankh jewelry would make a beautiful keepsake for travels made, or dreamed of. Ankh jewelry is also a thoughtful gift for a newborn child or expectant mother, representing strength against the evil in our world, as well as long life.