|This ring, embossed with the Crusaders Cross, is a reproduction of two rings with the same motif. One ring was found at a Native American site in western New York and the other ring was found near the site of Old Fort Saint Joseph. They are now in museums at Rochester, N.Y. and Niles, Michigan. These rings were used in the frontier trade with the Native Americans from 1630 through 1760.
This cross style was used by the Knights of St. John as a distinguishing emblem during the Crusades. Malta was the island home for this military and religious order from 1530 to 1798. As a result, the cross is known as the "Maltese Cross", the "Cross of St. John", as well as the "Crusaders Cross".
The cross's symbolic meaning of service, honor, and protection, as well as its history, has lead to its use on fire service badges.