The Symbolism of Tree of Life Jewelry


With its upward reaching branches and gorgeous multi-colored stones, the tree of life jewelry motif has never faltered in being universally accepted and beloved amongst the many cultures throughout our history. Typically, this highly symbolic design is fashioned into a Tree of life necklace and is popular among those who wear it for its rich, varied, and multi-layered meanings.

You can recognize a tree of life necklace by the stunning design; branches fan out and reach upward towards the top of the necklace, while the roots of the tree hold firmly and steadfast to the bottom. The leaves will be denoted by colored stones (sometimes birthstones) and will always appear at the end of the branches. In some designs the tree is enclosed in a circle, in others, the tree attaches directly to the necklace chain.

In this guide, we are going to explore the history of the Tree of Life, the meanings behind it, how it has evolved over time, and how to select one as a special gift.

HOW THE tree of life pendant SPANS OUR HISTORY

The tree of life, as a symbol, is well represented across many cultures when we take a look back and trace its roots. It can be found in almost all ancient cultures and was often used to link religious, spiritual, and philosophical ideologies, such as the afterlife, divinity, and ancestral roots, which is what makes it iconic to those who cherish it.  The symbol can be found in Celtic, Christian, Egyptian, and Buddhist cultures, all of which have multicultural belief systems.


In Celtic lore, the tree was believed to be doors to other worlds, bringing us closer to our ancestors and the connection between Heaven and Earth.

The representation of the three of life comes from the Druid belief that the trees held spiritual connections to deities, family, and ancestors, even going as far as to say that they are the gatekeepers to the Celtic Otherworld.  The tree of life is sacred and stands for connection.


In Christian belief, the tree of life appears in the Bible’s story of Adam and Eve. In the garden of Eden, the tree of life, which represents eternal life, was forbidden to Adam and Eve.

The tree is a representation of the love of God and is linked to wisdom in the Book of Proverbs.


In Ancient Egyptian lore, the tree of life’s branches is what represent the Heavens, whereas, the roots which dig deep into the Earth’s soil, represent death.

The tree serves as a symbolic representation of the center of the universe, which brings forth abundance, but also has a connection to the underworld.


With Buddhism, the tree of life is a representation of the path to enlightenment.

It was under the Bodhi tree that Buddha attained his enlightenment, and thus, the tree is revered and sacred in this culture for symbolizing existence.

While we see a lot of cultural nods towards the existence of life, death, and our ancestral bloodlines, the tree of life can also symbolize other meanings that may mark other lines of thinking. For instance, in the cultures listed above, we see wisdom and abundance come through, but the tree is multi-layered and can also represent connection, rebirth, growth, uniqueness, and strength.

WHAT LIES BEHIND THE meanings of the tree of life?

One of the main reasons why the tree of life is such a beloved symbol and is thus, widely used in jewelry, is due to the fact that it can be interpreted in many ways. It does not just represent spirituality, philosophy, or religion, but can also represent other universal motifs.


Everything is connected to another. The tree of life represents this specifically with the design. The circle illustrates the circle of life, the tree acts as the linchpin connecting the earth and the sky, and the cyclical nature shows that we are all connected.

You could even look at the circle as the world and the tree as everything within it.  For some, the leaves represent abundance and the roots must dig deep into the earth to provide this abundance.


When you think of the word “tree” any type of tree could come to mind. Some may think of a great white oak tree, others a maple, and some a birch. There are so many different types of trees and every species sub-type has its own characteristics.

While all trees may start out the same, each one is unique as it grows and passes through trials and challenges that mark its lifespan. No tree is exactly the same as another and thus, for some, the tree of life necklace represents individuality.


As trees shift and change from one season to another, much like how we do from one chapter in our lives to another, they will have periods of time where they will flourish and others where they are dull and barren.

With every new season, the tree of life comes back with beautiful, full, and colorful leaves, symbolizing resilience, renewal, and rebirth.  We can connect to this meaning, because as humans, we too must endure the chapters of our lives that are challenging and find the ability to be resilient and flourish in seasons of abundance.


If you have ever taken the time to research your family ancestry, it is likely that you have come across the term, “family tree” which is used to show the connections between family heritage.

Every new branch represents another connection, and in most cases, a new cycle of life and the continuation of one’s bloodline.  This is why the tree of life has the meaning of fertility and family to some, as it always finds a way to unfurl new branches and make new life.


Not only are trees incredibly hard to fell by hand, but they can endure natural disasters and survive severe storms. They are pillars of strength and are unwavering in their resolute to stand tall and firm.

Their roots spread deep into the ground, which is why it takes great strength to remove them.  They are grounded, making them stable.


While trees do grow very slowly, they never really stop growing. There are trees that are hundreds of thousands of years old, continuously cloning and expanding themselves outward into the world.

As humans, we are always taking in new information, and while we may grow faster than trees, we never stop mentally growing either.


Sitting underneath a giant tree, shaded by the enormous canopy of leaves, is a very relaxing place to be.

It provides us with a sense of safety and calmness, as trees are rarely noisy and always quietly existing.  Trees bring serenity into the world.

When shopping for tree of life jewelry, you may come across it with other titles. While the name may be slightly different, the jewelry is still considered a “tree of life” piece.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF tree of life jewelry?

While the tree of life is commonly found on necklaces or pendants primarily, many designers have taken this symbol and implemented it into other types of jewelry.  You may find it on rings, earrings, and charms (& charm bracelets) and can take an abstract, modern, simply or embellished format.

They have also been found on lockets, bracelets, and made into individual essential oil diffusers that you can wear (not as common).  With the essential oil diffuser, it comes in the form of a necklace but has a clay inset that absorbs one to two drops of essential oil. You simply wear the pendant or necklace and inhale the essential oil throughout the day.

WHAT OTHER NAMES DOES THE tree of life necklace GO BY?

Common Names For The Tree of Life Necklace

  • A Family Tree Necklace (With Names) - Very popular for gifting
  • A Family Birthstone Necklace - Show Mom how much she's loved!
  • An Engraved Life Necklace - Ideal for any woman of any age!
  • Family Name Necklace - Customize one for a new parent!
  • Life Pendant - Gift the graduate a pendant they will treasure!
  • Tree of Life Pendant - Display your family roots!
  • Stacked Name - Tree of Life - Add the names of your children!
  • Engraved Family Tree - Capture the importance of family!
  • Tree of Life Trinity Pendant - Crafted for every individual style!

HOW HAS THE tree of life jewelry EVOLVED OVER TIME?

Like anything else, tree of life jewelry has evolved over time. While many still lean towards the more traditional styles, modern tree of life necklaces put a trendy spin on a classic design.


Traditional designs of the tree of life jewelry will feature a large tree that has branches that spread out towards the top of the necklace.

The leaves on the end of the branches will often be adorned with colored stones.  The tree’s trunk will stop a few lengths above the bottom of the necklace and the tree’s roots will extend the rest of the way, entangling themselves with the bottom of the circle.

The traditional design makes a great gift for individuals who are extremely spiritual or religious and have strong ties and connections to their ancestry and faith. Think pastors, ministers, grandparents and mothers who take great interest in their ancestry and origins.


Over time, the tree of life jewelry has evolved to now feature birthstones instead of colored stones and may not be enclosed in a circle at all.

In a lot of modern depictions, no roots are present and there may be engraved names along the outer circle. Some may even go as far as to just show the top of the tree with the leaves and the birthstones as depicted in the Tranquility Silver Tree Of Life Birthstone Necklace.

The more modern take on the tree of life may be better suited to individuals who associate connection, growth, peace, and strength with the tree of life rather than harboring beliefs associated directly with one’s religion.  Think daughters, sons, grandchildren, grandparents, and mothers who have strong ties to family who may enjoy the birthstone or engraved name aspect of the design.

OUR TOP FIVE reasons for wearing A TREE OF LIFE PENDANT!


When you are faced with hardship, this jewelry piece can help inspire and symbolizes immortality.


If you are of strong faith, this can be one way that the love of God is manifested and seen in your life.


If you are looking to find more abundance and prosperity in your life, the tree of life can bring forth the desire for more.


It can bring forward the significance of family or showcase to others that you take pride in the roots of your family


If you seek to become more aware of yourself and those around you, the tree of life can remind you of your quest for wisdom.


There are many different options available with tree of life jewelry. Adding birthstones, the names of family members such as children or grandchildren and selecting from a variety of finishes allows for you to truly make it a reflection of your life.


While traditional tree of life pendants has colored stones on them, more modern designs will have birthstones.


A lot of tree of life necklaces do allow you to place personalized engravings on them like the names of children.


Tree of life necklaces can be found in a wide variety of plated finishes including gold and rose gold.


When ordering from Messages In Metal, your personalized tree of life necklace will be constructed with anti-tarnish .925 sterling silver, a 20” matching silver chain plus a 2” extension, a 60-day return policy,  a choice of 1-6 birthstones, the ability to add names on select products (10 characters per), and a gift box for gorgeous presentation.

Want to know more? Watch our 'What's In The Box' video to find out exactly what you can expect when your Messages In Metal order arrives!

TIPS ON SELECTING A tree of life necklace


The first step you are going to want to take is to make considerations about the recipient.

  • Do they love colored stones, or do they have a strong connection to their birthstone?
  • Do they love the month they were born in?
  • What is their favorite color pairings?
  • Do they have someone special to them that would work well as an engraved name?
  • Do they have a strong connection to their family’s ancestry or faith?
  • Do they prefer modern jewelry, simple jewelry, or embellished jewelry?
  • Are they a resilient person or someone who has gone through a lot of hardships?


The second step you want to consider is your budget. How much do you have to spend, as a smaller budget may fair better in purchasing a more traditional style than a modern style with a lot of stones or special engravings.  Keep in mind that some companies may charge extra on any birthstones past the first one, so make sure to pay attention to this when customizing your piece.

If you are buying for a specific occasion, try to determine what is fitting for that occasion. For instance, of the occasion is extremely special, you may want to purchase a fancier and more expensive piece. If the gift is to show that you care but you want something that can be worn on a daily basis, choose a less expensive option.


The third step is to consider the size of the necklace. If the recipient usually wears slender jewelry, consider purchasing a pendant instead of a full necklace.   You will also want to consider the color scheme of the jewelry, as silver or gold may better suit the individual’s regular wardrobe.  If the individual wears a minimalist wardrobe, may not get much use out of a flashy piece, whereas, someone who wears exciting patterns may appreciate a louder piece more.


While the tree of life is firmly rooted in the spiritual, philosophical, and religious ideologies of ancient cultures, you do not need to strongly associate with any of the cultures mentioned in order to receive great benefit from it.  The tree of life necklace is a rich and multi-layered piece of jewelry that will always represent numerous meanings, of which you derive purpose or solace from.

Whether you are looking to celebrate the interconnectedness of life, find adventure in your familial roots, or celebrate the uniqueness of growth, the tree of life necklace can be personalized to anyone. This is what makes it popular and what makes it a fantastic gift to give.

Shop our Tree of Life Collection today and personalize one that celebrates how grand your life is!

Further reading:

A complete guide to choosing a name necklace for mom.

A guide to helping you choose the perfect personalized initial jewelry.

The complete buyers guide to Birthstone Jewelry & Gift Ideas.

By Conor Daniels January 24, 2020