by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Keys and locks have fascinated us for centuries and although there is no absolute certainty as to where the first lock and key was invented, evidence suggests they came from the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. One of the first known lock and key combos was a pin lock and made out of wood used in Egypt 4,000 years ago. Puerto Rico still uses this locking system today. From jewelry to fine art, books to songs, key symbolism is found worldwide in every culture in some shape or form. Keys open locks which mean they grant access; thus are totally functional and utilitarian, they still hold an element of intrigue and romanticism uncovering secrets or discovering hidden wisdom. The ancient Greeks believed one key unlocked the door to knowledge and life. Three keys worn together unlock the doors of love, wealth and health or balance. Throw in a little heart or two and you've now symbolized opening your heart or the heart of a loved one, unlocking emotions or tenderness. Don't you love symbolism and exploring their ancient meanings?
Skeletons in the Closet?
The most popular key, the skeleton key has been around about 3000 years. It's a key with most of the bit filed away so that it can open many different doors. It is also a term used to refer to a key that can actually open any lock. The skeleton key got its name for the skull shaped keyhole in older locks. If you have an older home these keys are still available in hardware stores. A skeleton key was so named because it had the ability to open every door within a house, giving you access to the house's inner workings, or "skeleton." The key also sometimes look a bit like a skeleton standing straight up.
Skeleton keys are commonly used in jewelry making and here are some examples:
Now obsolete, a skate key can unlock vivid memories of past childhoods happily skating down the sidewalk feeling the freedom that only comes from youthful joy and innocence, not to mention Melanie's hit song, "Brand New Key," from the '70s.
Here are some fun skate keys for your designing pleasure:
Whether keys have hidden meaning or their beautifully ornate designs appeal to your jewelry aesthetic, have fun exploring the many styles and varieties on the market today. Who knows, you may unlock a new trend or color wave to your creations!