Chai Necklaces

Chai, or the number 18, has many symbolic meanings in Judaism and Chai necklaces are some of our favorite and most popular designs.  Look for the beautiful sliding heart with a hidden Chai in both silver and gold. It can be worn by women of all ages and is artistic and not your standard piece of Jewish jewelry. Our Sterling Silver Dog Tag with a modern Chai cut out make an awesome Bar-Mitzvah gift. And our petite gold Chai necklaces are perfect for layering.


Chai Necklaces

The word Chai means ‘alive’ or ‘living’. While the Hebrew word is ancient, the use of Chai as a symbol dates back to origins in medieval Spain, and its long history has made it one of the most prominent symbols of Judaism. The symbol represents the will to celebrate and safeguard the importance of life.

Themes of Chai appear throughout the Torah, most notably in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as well as in the Shema prayer that is recited twice daily by those practicing Judaism.

The traditional act of ‘giving Chai’ involves the imparting of gifts in multiples of the number 18 in honor and commemoration of loved ones. This tradition gets its name because the Hebrew letters that make up Chai (Chet and Yud) add up to the number 18. Thus, giving gifts in multiples of 18 symbolizes giving the gift of ‘life’ to another and is considered to be good luck. Displaying the Chai symbol on a piece of jewelry is, therefore, believed to bring luck and long life to the wearer.

Like the Hamsa and the Star of David, the Chai symbol may be worn on a necklace or featured on a ring as a reminder of the importance of Chai and of living in the Jewish tradition. Chai represents a zest for life and the joy of Jewish identity. Chai necklaces are perfect for Bar or Bat Mitzvah gifts, where these coming of age rituals invite boys and girls to fully participate in their religious lives.

In addition to the customary Chai symbol pendant necklace, the symbol can also be oriented into the shape of a heart pendant, hung from a leather chain, or placed beside a peace sign pendant for some personalization. With a variety of styles to choose from, there is a Chai symbol necklace that will make a meaningful gift for every celebration of life.