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What are Collectible Christian Religious Medals?

Early in the history of the Christian religion, people adopted the practice of wearing medals with religious images such as of Sts. Peter and Paul. Then later in the Middle Ages, it became a common practice for Catholic shrines like Carmel to distribute them to Pilgrims and later in the Sixteenth Century, the practice of blessing the medals as sacramentals arose.  Although Catholic medals have the most diverse assortment of persons represented on their medals, Protestants have also retained the practice of wearing the cross or images of Christ or angels.

What are Sacramentals?

A sacramental in the Catholic Church is a blessed object that is a sacred sign that bears a resemblance to the sacraments.  All of that is just a fancy way of saying that a sacramental is not a magical charm. Sacramentals in the Catholic Church are not limited to religious medals: they also include scapulars, rosaries, other objects with the images of saints on them, and chaplets.

  • Pendants - Although you can sew Christian medals into clothing, the most typical way people wear them is as a pendant.  They come in all medals from aluminum to sterling silver to gold. Other religious images that come in pendant form are the cross and the crucifix.
  • Devotionals - Religious medals can also be a part of a larger devotional object like a holy rosary or the divine chaplet which are carried around and used for prayer. Some scapulars also have a scapular medal attached.
  • Popular Saints and Medals - If there is a saint, there is a medal made with the image of that saint somewhere, but some of the most common and popular medals are Jesus, St. Christopher, the Miraculous Medal, St. Benedict, the Sacred Heart, and St. Jude. It is not uncommon for four medals to combine in one cloverleaf or four-way form.

Choosing Religious Medals as a Gift

Religious jewelry is not just for Catholics, so there are many options for you to purchase depending on the devotional practices of the gift recipient. You can purchase these as gifts at any budget level since the materials they use range from aluminum to stainless steel, gold or silver-filled, solid gold or silver, or pretty much anything. You can also find a fitting box for a Christian medal on a necklace, reliquary, or rosary.

  • Patron Saint - Many people have a patron saint, so getting them something with their patron saint on it is an ideal gift especially for events like baptisms or confirmations.
  • Christian Jewelry - For Catholics and non-Catholics alike, there are a ranges or devotional items like crosses, holy images, and Jesus in the forms of pins and pendants that make great gifts.
  • Devotional - If you the person you are buying a gift for has a special devotion or is a third order regular member of a religious order such as the Carmelite Order, you can get them a Brown Scapular. There are many orders that have devotional objects or garments. 
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