Of his many iconic wardrobe choices and accessories, the one and only Elvis Presley was particularly fond of a necklace he had made a year before his death. But this wasn’t just any ol’ necklace.
Elvis Presley’s sense of humor was one-of-a-kind. Those who knew him recount to this day a delightful, jovial demeanor that was absolutely magnetic. He had many dark times, to be sure, and struggled much with loneliness. Yet he was fond of combatting life’s shadows with the light of humor.
Despite this, The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll would be his own downfall. No one could have predicted the death of Elvis Presley, but amidst his hard struggles with substance abuse and resulting failing health, did the King know his time was near?
A now-iconic joke the King once told about himself may hold the answer.
Come the final years of Elvis’ life, the icon would wear a particular necklace nearly everywhere he went. Many photographs of the necklace exist to this day (see below) as does the necklace itself at Graceland. The jewelry is, however, not just one necklace, but a combination of three remarkable ones.
Elvis Presley, a devout follower of God, wore a cross around his neck, yes. But he also wore a necklace bearing the Star of David, and another with the Hebrew word “chai” – which translates to “life” in English. The latter of these pieces can be seen to this day at Graceland in a cabinet next to the keys for Presley’s iconic 1955 pink Cadillac. Elvis even had this necklace adorned with 17 diamonds upon its creation. How very Kingly.
Elvis Presley and the Thing Called Death
So why the mixture of religious symbols on a man most knew as devoutly Christian? Angie Marchese, Graceland’s vice president of archives and exhibits, explains.
“He would often make a joke, ‘I don’t want to get left out of heaven on a technicality,’” says Marchese in an interview for The Jerusalem Post. “So he would wear a Star of David, a chai and he would also wear a cross. He wanted to keep all his bases covered.”
How’s that for a fantastic answer? Elvis’ remarks are made that much more poignant, too, when learning of the years he wore this necklace combination: 1976 to 1977.
Elvis Presley fans will immediately recognize the latter year. On August 16, 1977, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll would leave this word tragically and unexpectedly in his Graceland home.
Hopefully, Elvis would leave this world with the full comfort of his religious beliefs, ones that he made sure to have reflected in such unique necklaces. With “all his bases covered,” Elvis surely would make for marvelous company for whoever awaited him on the other side.