Table of Contents
The Chai, pronounced as ‘khai’ is a known Jewish and Hebrew word, symbol, amulet and a blessing. A symbol that was first seen in the Middle Ages in Spain became an integral part of Jewish symbolism. The meaning it holds is ‘life’ and in Jewish geometry it equals 18. All of those are just the basics of a long–time Jewish belief and symbol that remains to this day in the shape of beautiful, meaningful necklaces and pendants.
The following article will dive into the deeper meanings of ‘chai’, the various pendants and necklaces in the collection of the Israeli Center of Judaica and the different materials and designs available.
To hear this whole article without effort, please click the Play button
Am Israel Chai!
The famous sentence is one of the most triumphant phrases in Hebrew that regards the survival of the Jewish people all over the world in general and the Jewish population of Israel in particular. As you can see, the word holds a great meaning in Jewish folklore. Not only that, but the geometric meaning is great as well. The sum of the letters of the word ‘chai’ is 18, a holy number In Judaism already from the days of the holy temple.
It is a tradition to bless over drinks with the word ‘L’chaim!’ and on happy occasions. Because of the great meaning to the word, even in events that require a gift, it is a belief that a sum of money in the multiples of 18 is good luck!
Because of the great meanings of Chai, it has become a symbol of happy life and good luck. With such tradition, high quality jewelry was just a matter of time. Like the star of David and many other Jewish symbols, the Chai symbol found itself fairly common in the shape of 14K gold Chai Jewelry. Because of the great meaning to the word as a blessing and what it represents, it is very common to see Israeli Citizens and Jewish people from all over the world carrying on their chest a necklace with the Chai pendant in the form of sterling silver chai pendants for example.
The chai pendant is a versatile Jewish symbol to combine with other symbols on jewels. A very common combination is the ‘Chai’ letters interwoven with the star of David, like this Chai and Star of David Pendant or with some element that attributes the city of Jerusalem. While the ‘Chai’ can stand on its own as a beautiful piece to wear around your neck, the more symbols combined with it, the more meaning, blessing and luck are attributed to the Chai.
Gems and Metals
You can find chai jewelry pendants in various metals. The most common one is gold Chai jewelry. The more affordable version is sterling silver chai jewelry. Silver is much more affordable than gold, but it doesn’t mean it holds little value.
Sterling silver is pure silver 925 that has been reprocessed and polished, turning those pendants into high-quality silver chai jewelry necklaces.
In addition to all of those, when combining two Jewish symbols or more, it is very common to combine another metal or precious gems. For example, in the collection of the Israeli center of Judaica you can find a Chai pendant combined with the star of David, dotted gently and elegantly with small diamonds and various gems.
A Chai Jewelry is the Perfect Gift
First of all, the legal age of adulthood in Israel is 18. From this age and onwards, the Israeli citizen becomes fully responsible for his life and future. There are many important milestones on the way to adulthood. One will go through full military service, end of high school, world traveling and many more. In celebration of all of these, many parents and friends buy their loved ones sterling silver chai jewelry or 14K gold Chai necklace with diamonds, so they will have good luck, good life and good health; no matter what path they are walking.
The price range for the lucky charm starts from the most affordable one and all the way to straight up luxurious pieces of jewelry. You may find affordable Sterling silver chai jewelry for 30 dollars and all the way up to two thousand dollars.
The prices vary due to the core material and the amount of it being used in each jewelry. The more it is made of gold, which is usually 14 karats, the price will go up.
Importance of Chai Chains for Men
It may sound like a minor detail, but silver chai pendants, or golden ones, are highly affected by the chains upon which it’s hanging. Why? In Israeli tradition, the chai on a man’s chest is considered to be very manly, or as you say in Yiddish ‘mensch!’. A big part of the mensch characteristics a chai silver necklace gets comes from the chain. That is why it is very important to choose a chain that is as gentle or as bold as the chai pendant which hangs from it.
The Deeper Meaning
So, what does it mean to carry the numeric value of 18 on our chest? What does it mean to carry the word ‘life’ wherever we go? The simplest answer is the correct one. It is a Jewish symbol that represents a period of time. It is a charm that stands, glorifies and wishes life and luck wherever we go. It is a representation of religious values and a testament to one’s own values.
Other than silver chai necklaces and pendants, there are many more variations of the ‘chai’ symbol as jewelry. There are cufflinks, earrings and even good luck bracelets!
Browse the full ICOJ Jewish Chai Jewelry collection
The Israeli Center of Judaica
It is very easy to get lost in between all of the various molds, pendants and necklaces that already exist in the jewelry market. From rose gold to silver – the Israeli Center of Judaica offers many various designs, styles and materials to the lucky charm. In our website, you will find the exclusive collection of chai jewelry pendants and necklaces by Avi Nadav.
From different designs to combinations with diamonds, Nadav’s collection of Chai necklaces is available.
The Israeli center of Judaica is a home for Jewish artwork, so don’t be surprised if you find many more creations and jewelry.
Browse the full Avi Nadav Jewelry Collection
The article before you came to shed light about one of the most common Jewish jewelry that comes in the shape of necklaces and pendants. As you can see, in Judaism symbols and amulets have great meaning and there many features attributed to such symbols. The chai necklace goes a shocking long way back into history, from the days of the holy temple; all the way to the Middle Ages and our modern times. ‘Am Israel Chai’ is that point exactly: the Jewish people have been through a lot, and in spite of all the challenges on the way to modern times, Judaism survived and prospered. The Jewish belief of the Israeli people shines, through many symbols and traditions.
For any question on the matter, we urge you to use our website and contact us. The Israeli Center of Judaica will be more than happy to answer your questions and update the various collections of chai jewelry and Judaica products.