Constantinato is one of the most traditional jewellery choices in Greece. As a piece of jewellery, this particular piece consists of a gold Byzantine coin with a hagiography of the Emperors Saint Constantine and Saint Helen, with the cross between them. In today’s article we will look at some of the basics of the symbolism of the Constantinato, as well as the forms where you might encounter it.
What is the symbolism of the Constantinato?
According to folklore, pregnant women carried a Constantinato both to protect the fetuses and to make childbirth easier. In other words, one could say that the role of the jewellery was mainly to act as a talisman, such as in cases against bascania for children. According to tradition, the beliefs about the Constantinato are mainly traced back to the canonized persons they depict in conjunction with the story of the discovery of the Holy Cross by St. Helen in 326 AD. The consequence of this was that the Constantinato was considered a very important sacred symbol.
For many years the Constantinato as a talisman held the position that the cross holds today. Concerning the story of its creation, it is said that when Saint Helen found the Holy Cross she cut it in two and left one part of it in Jerusalem, while the other part she carried to Constantinople. The sawdust from the chopping was mixed with precious metals from the alloy of which the first Constantinatons were cut. In the Revolution of 1821, the possession of Constantinato by the Greeks was considered a talisman for the “bad bolts” in battle. They are also considered by many to be treasured family heirlooms, and their owners used to bring them to churches every Maundy Thursday to be eulogised.
Nowadays, Constantinatos are worn by men, women and children. We offer them as gifts at baptisms or births of children, but also to older children or adults as amulets. They are made in yellow gold, are round (coin) shaped and are often double-sided. On one side we see the hagiography of the Emperors St. Constantine and St. Helena with a cross between them and on the other side is engraved IC XC NI KA (Jesus Christ conquers), also with a cross. Today there are many options in sizes and shapes, as well as Constantines decorated with enamel or even gemstones. In our e-shop, you can find luxury gold jewellery such as the Constantinat among others.
Contact us today to help you choose the jewelry that suits you best, or visit our physical store at 21 Karolou Dil 21, in Thessaloniki, for a live presentation of our collection.