Have something to wish for? Better wish on a wishbone! If you’ve ever eaten a chicken or turkey down to the bare bones, you’ve seen a wishbone. But you don’t have to be a meat-eater to revel in the glorious symbolism of wishbone jewelry! Fact is, wishbones are folkloric symbols that foretell good fortune, luck and optimism. Who needs stars to wish on when you’ve got a wishbone in hand? But what does it mean and how did this quirky tradition begin?
The backstory isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Let’s do some digging to unveil the symbolism and meaning of wearing wishbone jewelry.
In jewelry, wishbones most often occur as necklace pendants. However, abstract and unique variations exist as wishbone earrings, bracelets and rings. Long before wishbones were a shiny glint of metal to accessorize with, they were simply a forked bone found in birds. Say what?
That’s right, a wishbone is part of a bird carcass called the furcula, which is two clavicles connected together. The furcula is located between the breast and neck of a bird and helps birds flap their wings and take flight.
What you might not have expected upon first glance of a wishbone jewelry item is for it to be modeled after anatomy, but that’s exactly what it is! What makes the wishbone so special, and why aren’t other bones popularized to the level of this one? We can thank folklore for the rich symbolism of wishbones!
How can something as simple as a wishbone hold such significance? Like many symbolic objects, wishbones began as a custom, grew into a tradition and eventually became a symbolic ritual. So, where did it all start?
During Medieval times poultry was a cornerstone of mealtime. As such, cooks would cut the bird, remove all the bones and clean it before cooking. They’d place all the bones to the side for drying, taking extra care to keep the wishbone intact. Of course, at this time, it wasn’t called a “wishbone” yet, but a “merrythought.”
The bone served as a “merrythought” or conduit to invite good fortune. To enhance the bone’s powers, people hung and dried the wishbone for three days to ensure it was dry enough to make a clean break. Then, two people would make a wish and pull the bone to break it in half. Except, one person has a longer piece of the wishbone.
The person with the longer piece has had a “lucky break” and thus, their wish will come true! But what about the person with the “bad break?” Well, unfortunately, in folklore, their wish remains a wish.
On occasion, a wishbone will result in an even break right down the middle. While this is highly rare, the result is a good fortune for both parties! Over time, the “merrythought” evolved into a “wishbone” and became a widespread, global tradition. While breaking a wishbone results in good fortune for one person, a wishbone intact holds another meaning.
When a wishbone is left unbroken, it represents good luck, potential and the promise of good things to come. And that’s how wishbones made their way into the jewelry scene!
While a dried up animal bone might not seem like the most aesthetic design element, wishbones are incredibly popular in jewelry! From wishbone pendants to rings, there are a variety of ways to wear this unique and meaningful symbol. Let’s explore!
The slender and fluid lines of wishbones lend themselves beautifully to wishbone pendants. Typically, the pendant faces downward which looks delicate along the collarbone and chest. Wearing a wishbone pendant close to your heart compounds the positivity and good fortune. When you wear the pendant, say your wish as you put the necklace on as a personal ritual.
If you love the design of a simple pendant, wear a wishbone necklace with a ring around it. If your ring isn’t too large, you can put it through the necklace chain and let it hang over the pendant. Because the widest part of the pendant is at the bottom, it’ll hold the ring in place. This is a unique and stylish way to invite good luck, fortune, and potential in your marriage or engagement.
But you don’t have to link an engagement or wedding ring through it, you can use the wishbone to hold any ring that holds meaning to you! Take extra caution to measure your ring and the wishbone pendant first to ensure the ring is not wider than the greatest width of the pendant. If it’s smaller than you’re good to go! A wishbone necklace pendant as a ring holder is a great option for those who work with their hands or are simply looking for an alternative way to flaunt their ring. Speaking of rings...
One of the hottest trends right now is to wear a wishbone ring. Unlike the necklace pendant, a wishbone ring is slightly more abstract and interpretive. A wishbone ring has a delicate V-shape that peaks at the center of the ring. Wishbone rings hold significant meaning, as they represent the bond of two lovers, the uniting of two souls, and matrimony. It’s no surprise, then, that wishbone rings make great stackable rings for a wedding ring set!
Another stylized version of the wishbone are wishbone earrings. These accessories are wildly popular and come in a variety of styles; from thin, metallic to chunky wood pieces. The common factor among wishbone earrings is that they don’t look exactly like a wishbone. In fact, many of them look more like a horseshoe or upside-down “U”. Whether you favor minimal designs or statement pieces, there’s a style of wishbone earrings for you!
Wishbone jewelry personifies good fortune, solidifies the bond of love, and symbolizes promises to come. Best part? You can wear your good luck on the go for any occasion. Whether you elevate an understated outfit with a pair of chunky red wishbone earrings or string a delicate wishbone necklace around your neck, you harness the positivity of good fortune by wearing this symbolic accessory.
Was this article helpful?1 person found this article helpful