Tattoos have always had symbolic meaning both to the the wearer and to the society they live in. As tattooing has exploded in popularity much of the original tattoo symbolism has fallen by the way side.While many tattoo designs have completely lost there original meanings, facial tattooing has remained taboo. This has allowed its symbolism to remain mostly intact.
The tattooed tear drop under the eye dates back to at least the 1960’s and it symbolism varies depending on the placement on the face and if the tear drop is filled in or empty. An empty tear drop most often symbolizes that the wearer has lost a loved one and they are permanently crying, but the empty tear drop can also symbolize a longing for revenge. If this revenge is carried out in the form of murder the tear drop tattoo is then filled in.
Also placed under the eye but with a less cryptic meaning is a dollar sign. The dollar sign symbolizes that money is all the wearer can see. The symbol began popping up around the early 1990’s and is most often seen on southern gang members, though the tattoo has crossed over and several entertainers now wear it.
A little known use for a cross tattoo design is to place it directly between the eyebrows on the bridge of the nose. This symbol,which started in New Orleans, symbolizes the wearer has committed at least five murders. Only worn by seasoned killers this tattoo design has not made the cross over into mainstream tattooing.