Types of Crosses and Meanings - The Jewelry Gifts Guide

types of crosses and meanings

Widely recognized worldwide, the cross is most instantly recognized with Christianity due to its significance in the crucifixion of Jesus. The symbol has been used for around 2000 years by Christians across the world. Over the years, it has been used abundantly in architecture, literature, jewelry, and worship. When given as a gift, the cross can signify a personal connection and hold religious importance too.

When someone mentions the words "the cross,” chances are that you are picturing the Latin cross, which has a horizontal crossbar shorter than the vertical crossbar. Although the traditional cross consists of a simple image with two bars crossed, there are a plethora of different variations.

When you need to choose any gift, the meaning and symbolism behind it are very important. The cross has a massive religious significance of the cross. So, when buying cross jewelry, you should know the types of crosses and meanings. While some crosses are more intricate for the sake of beauty, others have associations with different cultures.


Types of Crosses and Their Meanings

Anchor Cross

types of crosses and meanings

The anchor cross consists of two shorter arms horizontally crossing a slightly longer vertical bar. The vertical bar in the cross is adorned with the elements of a ship's anchor. The bottom of the bar sweeps upward in an arc, identical to the shape of an anchor's base. Like the top of an anchor, the top of the bar ends in a circle.

This cross is an indication of the strength Jesus gives to his followers. It also symbolizes that Christianity, for many of its followers, is the anchor that holds their life together. If your loved one prefers a subtle symbolism of their religion, then this cross would be an excellent choice for them.

The Ankh

types of crosses and meanings

Egyptian in origin, the Ankh goes back to the early days of Christianity. The symbol retains the recognizable cross shape except it is a bit fuller. Instead of a straight line, the top of the vertical bar forms a loop. Additionally, the bars are thicker. The bars are thicker at the ends and gradually grow thinner as they move towards the center of the cross.

The Ankh is a hieroglyph that means "life". During the fourth century, the Coptic Christians, a group of Christians, adopted the Ankh as their symbol of faith. In this sense, the Ankh is indicative of the belief in eternal life promised by Jesus.

Today, it can symbolize belief in the Christian faith depending on the wearer's interpretation of the symbol. The Ankh would be suitable for somebody with the Christian faith but believes in less traditional practices.

Armenian Cross

types of crosses and meanings

In 310 AD, Armenians designated Christianity as their national religion and became one of the first groups of people to do so. This cross harkens back to the early days of Christianity and has a more intricate design than the traditional Christian cross.

The class cross shape, while present, is adorned with floral embellishments. Each crossbar has pointed tips in a floral design with the horizontal bar being shorter than the vertical bar. Sometimes called the Siroun cross, which translates to "lovely cross", the Armenian cross would be an excellent fit for someone with Armenian heritage.

Budded Cross

The budded cross has a myriad of variations. You can identify this cross by the rounded buds at the end of each crossbar, top, and bottom. Some of these crosses have crossbars of different lengths while others have crossbars of the same size. Each design generally has a slightly different meaning.

One of the most popular examples is the budded cross with three round buds at the end of each crossbar. The three buds depict the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In a few variations, the buds could suggest growing and blossoming faith.

This cross is an exceptional gift for someone who has a particular affinity for the Holy Trinity or likes jewelry with a slightly more elaborate design.

Canterbury Cross

The Canterbury Cross is a rendition of the cross that dates to the early days of Christianity with a significantly different look from the traditional cross. Each crossbar is of the same length, but each beam ends in a swooping curve instead of being straight from start to end. The curves are big enough to give the cross a circular appearance. Each crossbar has a detailed triangular design.

The original Canterbury Cross, created in 850 AD and rediscovered in 1867, is made of bronze metal. The cross continues to be on display at the Canterbury Heritage Museum in Canterbury, England. This cross would be perfect for a history buff or for somebody who favors softer curves to sharp angles in a design.

Celtic Cross

The Celtic cross is connected to the Gaelic culture. The crossbars stem from a central circle with the horizontal crossbar being shorter than the vertical one. There is an ongoing debate about the symbolism of the central cross. Some believe the central circle represents a halo, while others think that it symbolizes the Roman sun god Invictus.

As Christianity spread throughout Ireland, the idea of Roman gods became intertwined with Christian beliefs. If your loved one has connections to Irish or Gaelic culture, then this cross would be a thoughtful gift for them.

Cross Fleury

The cross Fleury incorporates the fleur-de-lis shape into the cross. The fleur-de-lis is the image of a lily, which is fitting as the French word translates to “flower of the lily”. Sometimes, the fleur-de-lis depicts a lotus. All arms of the cross Fleury have the same length.

The symbol has been associated with French Royalty. The Roman Catholic Church interpreted the floral symbol's three petals as the Holy Trinity and associated the lily with the Virgin Mary. The cross could be unique for someone who has a French heritage or simply has an affinity for France.


The Crucifix illustrates the actual crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Crucifix probably carries the most weight out of all the crosses, especially for Catholics as imagery plays a massive role in Catholicism. Statues and artwork of Christ, Mary, and other saints aren’t as prominent in other denominations as in Catholicism.

As opposed to a simple, unadorned cross, the Crucifix serves as a strong reminder of Christ's sacrifices and resurrection for Catholics. This iteration of the cross will be an ideal gift if your loved one is a devout catholic.

Greek Cross

The traditional cross, at the most basic level, symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus. The Greek cross deviates from this meaning. With four arms of equal length, this cross is also known as the cross of earth. The four arms represent the four directions, the four elements - fire, air, earth, water, and the spread of the holy gospel.

The Greek cross would be a perfect gift to someone with connections to the Greek culture or with an affinity for the concept of the four elements.

Sideways Cross

The sideways cross is a popular choice for necklaces. This cross is generally a simple Latin cross, and the meaning behind it is more open to interpretation. Some wearers may consider it a simple symbol of their faith and the sideways position to be for aesthetic appeal. Others might interpret this cross as a symbol of the obligation of Christ's followers to take up the cross and follow the teachings of the Christian faith.

Some might interpret that the cross is sideways because Jesus laid it down after ensuring the salvation of humanity. This cross is perfect if you think your loved one is tied to any of these interpretations or if the cross has a personal meaning for them.

Sun Cross

The sun cross has a similar appearance to the Celtic cross. However, the meaning behind it slightly differs, and the design has a slight difference as well. The sun of this cross contains all four arms within its circular shape whereas the arms of the Celtic cross extend beyond its central sun.

This cross precedes Christianity. Throughout its history, it has accumulated meanings from multiple different religious groups and cultures, including Christianity. Today, it is often associated with the concept of God in general. This cross would be special to someone who has a name symbolic of the sun or believes in the general idea of God more than a religion.

Vine Cross

The vine cross illustrates an intricate design of plant life intertwining with the traditional cross. This cross is beautiful, but it has a much deeper symbolism as well. This cross would be a wonderful gift for someone who has a special connection to plant life and holds it in high regard.

The vine imagery is a representation of the Bible verse: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)


There are various types and styles of crosses based on the religious practices, house of worship, and leadership structure of a denomination. The cross or any other religious iconography is more popular or more meaningful depending on the denomination.

Many Christians choose to wear the cross as a symbol of their faith and as a reminder of the sacrifices made by Jesus for his people. The most recognizable and celebrated symbol of Christianity, cross jewelry, is a beautiful way for people to honor the faith.

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