In 1830, St. Catherine Laboure received an apparition of the Blessed Virgin and was instructed to strike a medal in Mary's honor. The inscription on the front of the medal reads "0 Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 1830" Mary stands upon a globe and is crushing a snake beneath her feet.
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Here are the answers to the questions we get every single day.
What's the right pendant size for me?
All the catholic jewelry sold on our site will be sized including the loop at the top of the medal.
When shopping for jewelry, consider personal preferences and body size. The taller the person the larger the pendant they can wear without seeming out of proportion.
So how do you know what size to pick when purchasing a pendant online? See below for a quick guide
CHARM SIZE: Babies, Children, and Small Charms
These are tiny pendants and are an excellent choice for small children or those looking to add a charm size devotional to an existing pendant. These medals are typically no larger than your pinky nail or US coin dime size.
Common pendant heights include 3/8 inch, ½ inch, and ¼ inch height.
SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZE: Women and Teens
The majority of pendants fall into the small to medium size range and are most commonly worn by women, older adolescents, and teen girls.
For small pendants, think of a pendant that is a bit smaller than a dime. Common pendant heights include 9/16th and 5/8 inch height.
A medium sized medal is preferred by most women, youth boys and teen girls. Common sizes include 11/16 inch, 13/16 inch, 3/4 inch and 7/8 inch heights. These pendants are very close in size to a US nickel coin.
LARGE: Men (and women that prefer larger jewelry)
If the pendant is one inch or more in height it is considered large enough for a man to wear. The larger/taller the man, the larger he may prefer to wear his jewelry, so be sure to get out a ruler if you are unsure.
How do I pick the right necklace length?
Where do you prefer to wear your devotional jewelry? On display for everyone to see or tucked into your shirt, closer to your heart? There is no right or wrong way to wear your crucifix or miraculous jewelry, what makes you feel comfortable is the right choice.
Our necklaces are displayed in total length in inches. The shorter the length the higher up on our chest the pendant will sit.
Children and youth: A 16-inch chain is appropriate to wear for a first communion age child. If younger, consider a 13 inch.
Women: If you like your pendant to sit just below your neck and visible with most tops, select an 18-inch chain. If you are a woman and prefer a longer chain that will not be visible with most tops, choose a 20 inch or longer. Please note, the taller or larger your body type, the longer your chain to fit around your neck.
Teen Boys: Many teens wear a shorter chain for two reasons, they are a bit smaller in size or they want to make sure the pendant is visible to others. Teen boys do well with 18 inches (very high up, close to the neck), 20 inches (below the collarbone) and 24 inches (by the breastbone).
Men: Many Catholic men will choose to wear a Miraculous medal or a crucifix tucked inside their shirt and to have it rest between their color bone, near to their heart. For this look, we suggest a 24-inch chain or longer. Most men will be able to put a 24-inch chain over their head (if you are a larger man, you may need to consider a slightly longer chain).
27-inch to 30-inch necklace is extra-long and many larger men prefer these lengths for their devotional jewelry so they can easily put them over their heads without having to open and close a clasp.
For the perfect fit, take a moment a measure the circumference of your neck, especially if you intend to purchase a shorter choker length (16” or less). With a soft tape measure, wrap the tape measure around your neck, note the measurement and then add two inches to that. This is the shortest chain option you should consider, and it will be above the collarbone.
Consider Your Pendant Size
Balance is important when selecting a chain length. A small pendant will look odd with a long bulky chain and a large pendant should be worn with a chain heavy enough to maintain the pendant and chain without breaking.
Our sterling silver chains are genuine .925 sterling silver chains. A .925 stamp guarantees that the chains are 92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% copper. Copper is added to strengthen the metal as silver itself is too soft for jewelry. Adding a bit of copper creates a durable material without compromising the color.
Added bonus! Our sterling silver chains are tarnish-resistant because they include a very thin top layer of rhodium. Rhodium is a very precious metal (more so than gold) and a few microns of this material is added to coat the sterling silver chains so that they look lustrous and will not tarnish.
**NEVER CLEAN YOUR STERLING SILVER WITH CAUSTIC SUBSTANCES. Only use mild dish soap for cleaning.
Rhodium Plated Chain
A rhodium Plated chain is a perfect match for your sterling silver pendant. Our brass chains are layered in a thin coating of Rhodium (just a few microns) and are transformed into a lustrous silver-tone with tarnish resistant properties. This is a great option for your pendant as it keeps costs down without compromising on quality.
** NEVER CLEAN YOUR RHODIUM PLATED CHAINS WITH CAUSTIC SUBSTANCES. Only use mild dish soap for cleaning.
Gold Plated Chain
A Gold-plated chain has the look of gold with value pricing. The chain's base metal (typically brass, copper or other metals) is coated with a very thin layer of gold by using an electrochemical process.
Please note, over time, a gold-plated chain may wear off as it comes in contact with a person's skin or pollutants.
Gold Filled Chain
Although more expensive, a gold-filled chain wears just like gold and will not wear off.
Solid gold is bonded to a base metal chain. The heat and pressure of the bonding process fuse the base metal to the gold for a lasting combination.
Gold-filled chains are stamped with their gold percentage. Our gold-filled chains are 14KT gold-filled, or 10KT or 12KT.
What is Gold-Filled jewelry?
14 karat Gold-filled jewelry looks just like 14 karat solid gold jewelry, but it is a fraction of the cost.
With 14 karat gold jewelry being so expensive many of us are opting for the gold-filled versions of our favorite devotional jewelry. (don't confuse gold filled with gold plated as they are very different)
In simple terms, a gold-filled piece of jewelry has a thick layer of gold on the back and the front of the pendant. The two 14 karat gold layers are bonded together over a base metal. A gold-filled pendant will use less gold, so it costs less but looks just as good.
When you purchase a gold-filled pendant from the Catholic Faith Store, here's what you can expect;
Looks like solid gold
Maintains its value
Stamped on the back
Made in the USA
Will last for decades
It looks like gold, it wears like gold and that is because the outer layer is 14K (or 12KT) gold!
Rhodium is a very precious metal that can cost much more than gold and platinum!
By itself rhodium is generally not considered a feasible material to make jewelry from, because it is stressed & brittle, and very difficult to "work" properly for jewelry making. But Rhodium is fabulous as a plating for jewelry because it is glitteringly, dazzlingly, white and mirror-like. It's like chrome, but much whiter, and one of the most reflective of metals there is.
The majority of our silver colored chains (brass and sterling silver) are plated with rhodium to give them a protective layer that matches with the jewelry, and is very hypoallergenic.
Our 'high shine' jewelry pendants and charms are typically plated with a thick layer of rhodium to get that mirror-like finish that can't be achieved with sterling silver alone.
What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling Silver History
Experts believe that silver alloy, used today as sterling silver, originated in continental Europe in the 12th century. Pure silver was found to be a soft and easily damageable material. When combined with other metals, most commonly cooper, it produced a tougher material that could be heavily relied on. Throughout the next few centuries, Sterling Silver was used as currency and for household items. It was often used as silverware and became the material used in a proper table setting between 1840 and 1940 throughout the United States and Europe. Because of this popularity, silver companies began to grow. During this craze, companies began to experiment using Sterling Silver compositions in jewelry, as it was a material that was easy to mold into intricate designs and gave a luxurious look with its metallic finish.
Sterling Silver Composition
While pure silver can be combined with many different types of metals, Sterling Silver is created when combining pure silver with copper. Sterling Silver jewelry can be composed with different amounts of copper but is most often seen with the .925 stamp, meaning that the composition is of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. This has been found to be a good combination for maintaining the silver's durability without harming its sparkle.
How do I care for my sterling silver?
Sterling Silver Cleaning Instructions
NEVER use a sterling silver cleaning solution on your jewelry. It will take off the protective coating.
Take a half cup of warm water and a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid soap and mix together.
With a soft clean cotton cloth dip the cloth into the soapy water getting it moist.
Use the moist cloth to wipe the surface of your sterling silver jewelry.
Take the just cleaned jewelry and run under clear water for a few seconds to wash away any soap.
Allow jewelry to dry before storing
Other things to remember: When not wearing your sterling silver jewelry, keep it in an air-tight container or zip lock bag. Avoid household clean products getting in contact with the jewelry. And take off your jewelry when you swim, shower or are washing dishes.