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Greek Key Meaning

GThe Greek key symbol was very significant in Ancient Greece. It symbolized eternity and infinite love.  Although we now commonly see it in jewelry, architecture, and fashion, Greek key jewelry has a profound meaning and a rich history. 

Are you curious about the Greek key meaning? Here is a brief explanation of this distinctive symbol. 

Greek Key History

The precise time of origin of the Greek Key symbol is unclear. However, given its wide distribution in the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, it predates the Hellenistic period, which ended when Rome conquered Egypt in 30 BCE.

The Meander River, a river with many twists and turns, inspired the modern-day Greek key pattern, also known as a Greek fret, such as you often see on pattern of Greek key wedding bands, rings and other jewelry.

Several ancient cultures—like the Etruscans, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Romans, Byzantines, Mayans, Chinese, and Egyptians—used symbols of the Greek key.

In 1977, an ancient artifact unearthed in Turkey revealed the earliest use of the Greek Meander. 

During excavations, archeologists discovered the grave of Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. They found an exquisite ceremonial shield adorned with ivory and gold figures here. The border of this shield featured an ivory-engraved Greek Meander. 

Greek Key Meaning

The Greek key design’s constant back and forth twirling, such as in Greek Key Earrings, resembles the twisting path of the Meander River in Asia Minor, now Turkey.

The design of these Greek key patterns may have its roots in Greek mythology. They may represent the minotaur, a terrifying creature held captive by the labyrinth, a maze with a pattern similar to that of the Greek key.

Greek Key Symbolism

To the Ancient Greeks, the Greek Key symbolized ‘infinity’ and ‘the eternal motion of things,’ owing to its unbroken and seamless pattern, as is often seen in jewelry, such as Greek Key Rings.

As it has a continuous line design, the Greek key is also related to ‘eternity’ and ‘unity.’ Wedding bands often use the Greek Key pattern to symbolize eternal love.

The winding design resembles a serpent, which is symbolic of protection and healing. This may explain why Philip II of Macedon’s shield had the symbol engraved.

Geometric Patterns

The most well-known Greek key pattern comprises a long continuous line that folds back on itself.  

The Versace Pattern of the key has two lines forming an interlocking pattern instead of one. This pattern can be horizontal as well as circular. 

Another pattern that has appeared several times in history resembles the English letter T.

Use In Jewelry

The Greek key or Meander symbol has been incorporated into jewelry and fashion for ages. Many pieces of Greek key jewelry from the late Georgian period had the symbol embossed. The versatile design makes it perfect for jewelry like rings, wedding bands, earrings, crosses and bracelets.

Greek Key Crosses

Many historians believe that the Greek key pattern can create the labyrinth pattern found in Chartres Cathedral in France. 

The Christian faith has embraced the labyrinth as a symbol of the path that leads from sin to redemption.  Greek crosses also symbolize infinity or eternity as well as the promise of eternal life.

The Greek Key symbol holds an important place in history and religion. The profound Greek Key meaning has made it a popular symbol in modern jewelry representing eternity, love, and unity. 

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