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The Symbolism of the Maltese Cross

(above) An original design by Joe Schubach. This solid 14kt white gold hand made, hand fabricated pendant features a 15mm natural gray Tahitian pearl along with 1/3ct total weight pave and bezel set natural diamonds. The piece hangs from a 16" black rubber cord with a 14kt white gold clasp.

As we prepare for Valentine’s Day at our shop in Scottsdale, we began uncovering the meaning behind certain pieces of jewelry. Valentine’s Day is loaded with symbolism and often, it’s reflected in the jewelry: hearts, keys, circles, etc.

Today, we wanted to share with you the information we found out about the Maltese Cross, inspiration for one of Joe’s most popular pieces (seen above):

According to one website:

The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of honor. Its story is hundreds of years old.

When a courageous band of crusaders known as The Knights of St. John fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but horrible device of war. It brought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross.

As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens would hurl a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.

Thus, these men became our first Fire Fighters and the first of a long list of courageous men. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor – a cross similar to the one fire fighters wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.

The eight points are said to symbolize the eight points of courage:

  • Loyalty
  • Piety
  • Generosity
  • Bravery
  • Glory and honor
  • Contempt of death
  • Helpfulness towards the poor and the sick
  • Respect for the church