While we’ve shared a lot of practical graduation gifts for high school students, some of us are a little more sentimental when it comes to our grads. If you’re searching for a heartfelt graduation gift for a special high school or college graduate, sentimental, symbolic keepsake jewelry can be so thoughtful. Especially when it conveys a message that’s meaningful for your grad.

I’ve gathered 7 wonderful ideas for symbolic keepsake jewelry that can fit any budget, so you can find the perfect piece to celebrate this major milestone. Whether you’re shopping for high-quality gemstones or something more affordable, we hope you find some inspiration here.

Symbolic Keepsake Jewelry for Grads: 7 Gifts with 7 Meanings

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Symbolic jewelry gifts for grads: A keepsake locket from Monica Vinander to represent family forever

To Symbolize Love of Family:
A Keepsake Photo Locket

Crafted in recycled sterling for our eco-conscious grads, with or without gold-plate, this beautiful necklace from Monica Vinander becomes meaningful graduation jewelry when filled with favorite photos. Make it even more personal with complimentary engraving at select Nordstrom stores.


Symbolic keepsake jewelry gifts for grads: Hamsa mini pendant from Statodoro on Etsy

To Ward off Negativity:
Mini Hamsa Pendant Necklace

This beautiful, sustainably made, 18k gold-fill mini Hamsa necklace from the top-rated Etsy shop, Statdoro, is so dainty — and yet so powerful. It’s an ancient talisman with meaning across multiple cultures and religious. It’s worn to protect against negativity while inviting strength, power, and protection. Right in time for graduation gifting, it’s 30% off through the weekend.


Symbolic jewelry gifts for grads: dana Rebecca Designs diamond studs

To Symbolize Adulthood and Responsibility:
A First Pair of Real Diamond Studs

An incredibly generous graduation jewelry gift: A first pair of real diamond solitaire studs. One wonderful place to look is Dana Rebecca Designs, home of all kinds of gorgeous celeb-favorite jewelry (Emily Blunt! Taraji P Henson!) Plus, they just kicked off a 17th-anniversary sale with 17% off sitewide through the weekend, including a sale section with discounts up to 40% off, gifts with purchase, and more.


Symbolic keepsake jewelry for graduates: An aquamarine teardrop necklace from the Last Line, providing protection through life's storms

To Provide Protection Through Life’s Storms:
An Aquamarine Teardrop Necklace

Gemstones are a beautiful source of symbolism in a jewelry gift, and it doesn’t have to be the grad’s birthstone either. Consider aquamarine, which was historically carried by sailors to protect them through storms. I think this aquamarine teardrop pendant from The Last Line is just stunning. What’s more, its healing properties include calming anxiety and providing courage and inner strength. Who couldn’t use more of that?

Symbolic jewelry gifts for grads: Storied Necklace from Fresh + Zero connecting the past, present and future

To Symbolize Life as a Story with Many Chapters:
The Storied Necklace or Earrings

Another longtime favorite indie shop of ours, Freshie & Zero, has a line of sweet keepsake jewelry that’s meaningful but subtle. The “Storied” necklace or earrings interconnect three circles, reminding the wearer to learn from the past, live in the present, and keep a bright eye on the future as we live our stories authentically.

Symbolic jewelry gifts for grads: D'Iyanu gender-neutral African pendant with an Andinkra symbol of wisdom

To Symbolize Wisdom and Ingenuity:
African-Inspired Pendant with an Adrinka Knot

A piece of jewelry honoring your culture or heritage can be meaningful to carry forward with you into the next chapter. If your grad has African roots, look at D’Iyanu’s affordable jewelry including this gender-neutral necklace, featuring the Adinkra knot symbol over the African map. It represents wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence, and patience.

Symbolic jewelry gifts for grads: A keepsake gold and diamond compass cham from Gorjana

To Symbolize A Safe Journey as They Find Their Way in the World: A Gold Compass Charm

This is one special keepsake jewelry gift for a grad: A 14k-gold and diamond compass charm from Gorjana, to hang from a favorite chain. It reminds them to be safe as they explore the world and to remember that they’ll always have guidance. It’s also a reminder that they can always find their way back home. Oof.

See the high school graduation gifts that seniors tell us they want.