But, do you know how Santa Claus came to be? The real Saint Nicholas, the person that inspired the modern-day Santa Claus, was probably the bishop of Myra (close to modern-day Finke, Turkey) in the 4th Century. While there are many legends about him, most of these stories share a few common characteristics and portray him as a man of great generosity.
According to many of these stories, Saint Nicholas was born into a wealthy family, and when his parents died he inherited a large sum of money. However, he didn’t use the money for personal gain; rather he gave all of it away to those who needed it. One of the most famous tales of Saint Nicholas tells of how he threw bags of gold coins into the windows of the home of three girls who were about to be sold into slavery or prostitution, providing a dowry for them so that they could be married instead.
By the 6th century, Saint Nicholas was famous, and the emperor Justinian dedicated a church in Constantinople to him. He was revered throughout Europe for centuries and almost 400 churches were dedicated to him in England alone in late Middle Ages. Even after the Protestant Reformation, which discouraged the veneration of saints, he remained popular in Holland and the Dutch brought his legend to the New World by the 1770s.
The name “Santa Claus” comes from the Dutch nickname for Saint Nicholas, “Sinter Klaas.” The modern concept of Santa was greatly influenced by the poem now known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” In it, Episcopalian minister Clement Clarke Moore described him as a jolly, kindly figure in a red coat.
The story of Saint Nicholas serves as an example of generosity for us today, and inspires us in our giving. Red and white jewelry, reminiscent of the colors of Santa Clause, is an excellent way to demonstrate your generosity this Christmas.
Garnet and diamond rings are excellent picks for any special person on your list. For example, the Cushion-Cut Garnet and Diamond Ring in 14K White Gold puts a 6mm cushion-cut garnet in the spotlight and surrounds it with a frame of glittering diamonds. A diamond-covered band ups the glamour of this piece. Or, choose a garnet and diamond pendant such as the Garnet Heart and Diamond Pendant in 14K White Gold, which suspends a heart-shaped garnet within a larger heart of white gold filigree.
If you’d prefer a piece that features two of the traditional precious gemstones, consider ruby jewelry accented with diamonds like the 2 Carat Ruby and Diamond Flower Ring. This classic style is a festive choice for the holiday season and an elegant piece year round. A 9mm-high, 2 carat ruby is encircled by a full carat of round diamonds like the petals of a flower.
These brilliant red and white pieces are both brilliant style statements and excellent ways to demonstrate your generosity. Choose one of in honor of the real Saint Nicholas.