Pretty, powder pink rose quartz is THE gemstone when it comes to love, so I thought this would be a good time to feature it, with Valentine’s Day around the corner.
Rose quartz is (obviously) part of the quartz family (which also includes, among others, amethyst, opal, and citrine) and comes in colors ranging from very pale, translucent pink to dark rose. Some have rutile needles which gives the stone an asterism effect, and you can find transparent stones as well, but they are much more rare, and so pale in color that you can hardly tell they’re pink. (more…)
With holiday travel fast approaching, I thought a post featuring charms that protect travelers would be a timely subject. Travel insurance is all well and good, but with air travel becoming more of a hassle every time, gas prices constantly fluctuating, and fall hurricanes and winter snow storms are on our doorstep, those of us who travel can use all the added protection we can get!
All cultures have their own special way of doing this, and as we saw in the black cat charms post, in certain parts of England, having a black cat on a ship is believed to help keep storms away, and having one in the house is thought to bring fishermen back safely.
Here are a few other charms, amulets and talisman believed to help get you to your destination (and back) without hiccups (read about the protective properties of each below the images):
Runes are characters (often thought to have magical powers) from several different alphabets that were used by Germanic people around the 3rd – 13th centuries. This Nephrite pendant (which also comes in other materials) has a hand carved bind rune (a combination of two or more runes) of Raidho (symbolizing the journey of Life, means of transportation, street smarts, travel, movement) and Elhaz (symbolizing protection, safety). Handmade by Carine of NYC Spellbinder
2. St Christopher
While not formally a saint any more, St Christopher has long been considered a protector of travelers, and is carried by Catholics (and others) all over the world. Vintage silver and enamel St. Christopher charm with a 1940’s sedan on the reverse side. From Eleanor Brown Boutique
3. Traveler’s Prayer
The Traveler’s prayer (Tefilat HaDerech in Hebrew) is a traditional Jewish prayer recited at the beginning of a trip for a safe journey. Black Italian braided leather bracelet with a 14k gold and sterling silver charm inscribed with a part of the prayer. From Most Original Gifts & Jewelry Most Original Gifts & Jewelry
Moonstone, a member of the feldspar group, is associated with much folklore. including attracting passionate love, aid in gardening, balancing emotions, and providing travel protection, especially on water and at night. All useful things to get help with for sure! Vintage (1930s-40s) 14k gold and moonstone pendant from Arnold Jewelers (via Ruby Lane)
Malachite is a green copper carbonate said to help the wearer be comfortable in changing situations, assist with releasing negative experiences, and provide protection from accidents, especially in air travel. Handmade Malachite and sterling silver pendant by Alysha Bushey
Amber, fossilized pine tree sap from millions of years ago, was carried by travelers for protection in ancient times. Today, Amber is more known for clearing negative energy, and anybody who has been at an airport lately knows what a valuable property that can be! Cognac-colored Baltic amber pendant set in 925 sterling silver by Amber Regina
Milagros (“miracles” in Spanish) are small charms that have been used in Spanish folk culture for centuries. They are traditionally used in religious offerings and for healing, but are also carried for protection and good luck. Donkey sterling silver charm. with a turquoise flower on an oxidized chain from Sundance Catalog
8. Kotsu Anzen
The Japanese Kotsu Anzen omamoris are traffic safety charms, amulets that protect travelers from accidents while for example riding a bike, motorcycle or driving. Polyester and rayon Kotsu Anzen from IKI Japan
No, not the fancy brand with the gorgeous orange boxes. This time, we’re talking about the ancient Greek god of of roads and travel. Hermes had a lot on his plate, and among his numerous duties was being the patron god and protector of all travelers. Black onyx amulet engraved with the Star of Hermes by Best Amulets
With Halloween around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time for a post featuring black cat jewelry. I have to confess that I’m not a huge fan of Halloween myself; I actually think it’s kind of creepy (I know that’s the point, but I still don’t like it). But I do love cats!
Cats as symbols have a long history, as long as civilization itself. Through the ages, there have been many powers attributed to them – they have been considered good and evil, gods and witches, healers and bringers of disease, and some of the things that were done to them are too horrible to even think about (Google “France cat burning” and you’ll see). Black cats in particular were and are viewed with suspicion – we all know that a black cat crossing the street in front of you is supposed to be bad luck, and even to this day, rescued black cats are only half as likely to find new homes as their white, calico, gray, etc. siblings.
But, fortunately, they have also been considered good luck. In ancient Egypt, the cat Bastet was a goddess of love and protection; killing a cat was a crime that brought a death sentence, and many cats were mummified and buried in coffins, just like humans (archeologists found a cemetery in the city of Bubastis with over 300,000 cats in it!).
In England they were thought to bring fisherman back safely from the sea, and sailors believed that a black cat on the ship kept storms at bay. Receiving a black cat as a wedding gift is good luck, and there is an English proverb that goes “Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack”.
And in Japan, Maneki Nekos, very popular cat figurines that come in all kinds of materials, shapes, sizes and colors (including black), are believed to bring good luck and protection to their owner.
As I mentioned above, I personally love cats, and certainly think they are good luck, whether black or any other color. And their grace, beauty and air of mystique have always made them perfect models for artists of all disciplines, including jewelry. Here are some of my favorite recent cat charm and pendant finds:
Birthstones in general are thought to have begun with the biblical breastplate of Aaron (around 1300 B.C.) – a garment set with 12 precious stones – and it is believed that each stone was associated with a zodiac sign (like in Vedic astrology and Ayurvedic medicine). The tradition of associating specific gemstones with particular months is rumored to have begun in Poland in the 1700s, and the list as we know it today here in the US was adopted as a standard by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912.
The Birthstones For December
While most agree on which stone(s) go with which month, there are some variations. For December, the standardized stones in the modern tradition are Tanzanite, Turquoise and Zircon. Some also include Blue Topaz, but in several ancient traditions (as well as Ayurveda), Ruby is the stone for this month. So the December birthstone color is mainly variations of blue, with the blood red ruby as an exception.
As always with gemstones, each birthstone is said to have certain properties, meanings and powers. Here is a little bit of information on each stone (scroll down to the end of the post to see my selection of a few favorite charms incorporating these stones):
A mineral discovered in Tanzania as late as 1967, Tanzanite (scientifically known as blue Zoisite) didn’t become an official birthstone of December until 2002 (and is the only addition to the original list from 1912). Its natural color is a brownish red, and it takes a good bit of heat to bring out that purple/deep blue color. It was discovered after a wildfire on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro by geologist Manuel D’Souza who brought it to Tiffany & Co’s attention. They re-named the Zoisite “Tanzanite” and brought it to the market with great success. It is a popular, rare and consequently expensive stone – it is only found in Tanzania and once the supply is gone, it’s gone. Tanzanite is also the anniversary gemstone for the 24th year of marriage.
Tanzanite is said to help open the heart and third eye chakras and aid in communication with the spiritual world.
The word Zircon derives from the Arabic and means gold and color, and Zircon (not to be confused with cubic zirconia) does come in a variety of colors. Its natural hues are in the brown, orange and red family, but it also comes in green and yellow and, with the help of heat treatment, clear and blue. The clear variety has long been used as a diamond imitation, but today, the most popular hue is blue (a very pretty light pastel aqua color). Zircon can be found in many places around the world (although most are mined in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam), and it is a relatively inexpensive, and very popular, gemstone.
Zircon is an important stone in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is thought to bring wisdom, a noble heart, good luck, joy and wealth. It also relieves pain, helps with sleep problems, and protects the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. I think we can all use one of these!
Pure Topaz is clear as glass, but thanks to a variety of impurities, it also comes in many colors, including red, pink, brown, yellow (November’s birthstone), orange, purple, green and blue. The blue variety is the most popular one, and while it does sometimes occur naturally, the blue color is most often achieved with the help of irradiation (radiation) and heat treatment. The resulting colors range from a pale baby blue (known as Sky Blue) to the crisp Swiss blue to a nice, rich deep, almost teal, blue (called London or Super Blue). Blue Topaz, which is also the anniversary gemstone for the 4th year of marriage, is available in abundance, and as with all gemstones, the price depends on the purity and size of the stone, but in general, it is quite affordable.
Blue Topaz is said to balance one’s emotions, bring mental clarity, truth, abundance, joy and love, and help the third eye’s ability to see at a higher level. Other topaz healing uses include wounds and eating disorders.
Turquoise is one of the oldest known gemstones, used and appreciated for thousands of years, not only for its beauty, but also because it was believed to be a good luck talisman. Turquoise is of course turquoise, and it gets its blue-green color from copper. There are other, less common, variations on the color such as a deeper blue-green and bright green, and the color depends on the chemical composition of the earth where it is formed. The best quality Turquoise is a solid robin’s egg blue with no discolorations or veins, and most of these can be found in Iran and the southwestern part of the US. Turquoise, which is also the 11th wedding anniversary gemstone, is plentiful and affordable.
An important stone in crystal healing, turquoise is thought to protect the (physical) body, help the chi flow and combat depression. It helps with communication and creativity and strengthens the immune system. It is also believed to bring friendship, courage, a long life, happiness and good luck.
The popular Ruby is the birthstone for December in the Ayurvedic and Traditional system. In the modern, standardized list of birthstones, it is the stone for July, and it is also the 40th wedding anniversary gemstone as well as the zodiac birthstone for Capricorn. It is the red variety of the mineral corundum (a crystalline form of aluminum oxide) – all other corundum colors are called sapphires. The red color is the result of the (natural) addition of chromium, and colors range from light pink to deep red. Most rubies are heat treated to bring out richer color and more clarity, and the darker the color, the more valuable the stone. It is an expensive gemstone (several thousand dollars per carat for top-notch stones) – a ruby bracelet owned by Marlene Dietrich sold at Sotheby’s in 1992 for $990,000 (it was admittedly jawdroppingly stunning, but still!).
Ruby stimulates the heart chakra and is said to protect the heart from emotional suffering, aid in making wise decisions, promote happiness, a positive outlook, and ideal relationships. It is also thought to help with detoxification, eye problems, heart conditions, remove infections in the blood, reduce nightmares and depression and ward off evil spirits.
Whew, that was a lot of information! Let’s move on to the visual part of this post – my handpicked selection of some of my favorite December birthstone jewelry:
Elephants have long been symbols of strength, power, intelligence, wisdom and excellent memory in many cultures across the globe, and in some, they are even deities: India has Ganesh and Airavata, Thailand has Erawan. There are also lots of other beliefs and folklore associated with elephants, and many consider them to be good luck. Some say that is true only if the trunk is up; others claim only white elephants can be considered lucky.
I personally love elephants on everything and think they are all lucky. I never leave the house without my little Ganesh charm – he is said to bring wisdom and remove obstacles, and who can’t use that on a daily basis? I put him on either a necklace, bracelet or just as is in a pocket.
Here is a little roundup of some recent favorite elephant charm finds:
For quite some time now, I have been “collecting” names of artists, designers and manufacturers of charms and charm bracelets. Then it dawned on me: perhaps others could also benefit from this list, and find new favorite designers and styles? I asked a few friends, who all said YES! so I decided it would be a good idea to share it with you all.
You will see that it is a wide variety – everything from famous fashion designers to relatively unknown artists working out of their home studio. The list is constantly growing and I keep finding new and exciting designs all the time. However, I don’t put “just anyone” on the list – only original designs and I have to like them. So I guess you can say it’s a “curated list”.
As I mentioned above, this list is by no means complete, and I will keep adding to it on a regular basis. If you have a favorite designer you think belongs on this list (from anywhere in the world), please contact me and I will check them out and if I like what I see, I’ll add them.
Since charms come in several styles these days, I have created a little style “key” so that you can easily find the types of charms you are looking for:
European-style = bead charms Vintage = no longer in production, but can be found at auctions, etc. Traditional-style charms unless noted otherwise Traditional = Regular charms (with jump or split ring attachments. NOTE that traditional does not necessarily mean traditional looking bracelets; it just describes the type of charm Clip on charms = Traditional charms with a clasp attachment Italian charms = Modular link-style Craft = mini charms suitable for scrap booking, etc. Kids = charm bracelets for children Rings = interchangeable charm or bead rings, or rings with charms attached Earrings = interchangeable charm or bead earrings Necklaces = interchangeable charm or bead necklaces Mobile = cell phone charms Pre-made = already assembled charm bracelets, usually with the charms soldered on. Pre-made in parenthesis means it is the only type they offer, Pre-made on its own means they offer that in addition to separate charms Slide = slide charms Watch = charm watches
A Aaron Basha – Traditional (kids) Accessories & Beyond – Traditional (pre-made) Accurist – watch (European-style) Adamantus – Clip on Affinity - Clip on Ajda Lampwork – European-style Alengio - European-style Alex and Ani – Traditional (pre-made) bangles Alex Monroe - Traditional & Pre-made Alex Woo – Traditional (pre-made) Alia Jewelry – European-style Altruette - Traditional & Pre-made Amore & Baci – European-style, Kids Amore La Vita – Clip on AmuletGifts - Traditional & Pre-made (lucky charms) Analece Design – Traditional, Clip on, Anna Rose Jewelry – Traditional & Pre-made Anna Sui - Traditional (pre-made) Annika Bertilsdotter - Traditional, Clip on Annina Vogel – Pre made (from vintage pieces) Anson - Vintage Archive Jewelry – Traditional (pre-made), Vintage Art-Charms – Traditional (custom made from kids art) Ashley Pittman – Traditional (pre-made) Assya - Traditional (pre-made) Astley Clarke - Traditional (pre-made) Aurélie Bidermann – Traditional (pre-made) Avindy - Traditional (pre-made) Avon - Vintage Azendi - European-style, Traditional Azuni - Traditional (pre-made)
B Baby Phat – Clip on, Pre-made Baci Beads – European-style Bacio- European-style, Kids Badgley Mischka – Traditional (pre-made) Baglady - European-style, Traditional, Clip on Barbara Bixby – Traditional Basch - Traditional (pre-made) Bates & Klinke – Vintage Beau Sterling – Vintage Bell Trading Post – Vintage Belleek Living – Traditional (pre-made) Bellina Beads – European-style Betsey Johson – Traditional (pre-made) Betty Design – European-style Beverly K – Traditional (pre-made) Beyond Words – Traditional Biagi beads – European-style, Clip on, Kids Bill Levine – Traditional Bing Bang - Traditional (pre-made) Birdland Creations – Traditional (pre-made) Blee Inara – Traditional (pre-made) Blossom Copenhagen – Traditional Boho Soho – Clip on Bombay Duck – Clip on Bongo - Traditional (pre-made) Bon Bon Charms – Traditional Bonn Bons – Slide Bottega Veneta – Clip on Boxing - Italian Boucheron - Vintage Breadner - Vintage Brighton Charms – European-style, Clip on Bruno Zanetti – Italian Bugard Studio – Rings Bulgari - Clip on, Pre-made, Burberry - Traditional (pre-made)
C Carl Art – Vintage Carolee - Clip on Carolina Bucci – Traditional (pre-made) Carolyn Pollack – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Cartier - Vintage, Clip on Casa d’oro – Italian Cassandra Erin – Traditional (pre-made) Cath Kidston – Traditional (pre-made) Catherine Canino – Traditional (pre-made) Catherine Michiels – Traditional Cathy Dailey – European-style, Traditional Cathy Waterman – Traditional, Pre-made Cellini - Traditional, Vintage Chamilia beads – European-style, Kids Chanel - Vintage, Clip on, Traditional Charity Charms – Clip on, Pre-made Charles Horner – Vintage Charm Barn – Craft Charm Factory – Traditional, European-style, Pre-made Charm It – Clip on (kids) Charmco - Traditional Charmed Memories – European-style Charming by Ti Sento – Clip on Charming Life - Traditional & Pre-made Charmology - Traditional (pre-made) Charms UK – European-style, Clip on Charmworks - Traditional Chelsea Taylor – European-style, Clip on CherieO - European-style, Traditional Cherished Time Designs – Traditional, Pre-made Chim - Vintage Chloe - Traditional (pre-made) Creed - Vintage Christie Martin – Traditional Christy Lea Payne (CLP) - Traditional & Pre-made Chrysalis - European-style, Clip on, Necklaces ChuBo Beads – European-style Clogau Gold – European-style, Clip on, Traditional, Pre-made Coach - Traditional (pre-made), Clip on Coloured Rocks – European-style, Clip on, Pre-made Coro (Corocraft) - Vintage Courtney Simmelkjaer - Traditional (pre-made) Cousin Claudine - Traditional (pre-made) Crea - Vintage Crystalbead888 - European-style
D D for Diamonds – Traditional (pre-made) for kids Damas Jewellery – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Danecraft - Vintage Dangerous Goods – Traditional, Clip on David Andersen – Vintage David Yurman – Traditional DaVinci Beads - European-style Dazzlers - Clip on Dazzling - Traditional (pre-made) De-ani, Inc. – Clip on Deffego - European-style, Italian Diddi Design – Traditional (pre-made), Clip on Dinky Fingerprint Company, The – Traditional, Pre-made, European-style Dinny Hall – Traditional (pre-made) Dior - Clip on & Pre-made Disney Couture – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Dogeared - Traditional (pre-made) Dolce & Gabbana – Traditional (pre-made) Donatella - European-style, Traditional Doriwallace Jewelry – European-style Dower & Hall – Pre made & Traditional Dyrberg/Kern – Traditional (pre-made)
E Edblad & Co – Traditional (pre-made) Ecuus Designs - European-style Elco - Vintage Elle Jewelry – Clip on Elsa Peretti (for Tiffany) – Vintage, Pre-made Elsa Schiaparelli - Vintage Embracelets - Traditional, Pre-made Erickson Beamon – Traditional (pre-made) Essenza Beads – European-style Ettika - Traditional (pre-made) Evolve New Zealand – European-style Extasia - Clip on
F Fabergé - Vintage Femme Metale – Traditional & Pre-made Field & Rose (Laura Love Rose) – Traditional & Pre-made Fiorelli - Traditional (pre-made) Florenza - Vintage Formia Design – Traditional (custom made from kids art) Forstner - Vintage Fort of Providence – Vintage Fossil - Clip on, Pre-made Free People – Traditional, Vintage
G Garold Miller – Traditional (pre-made) George Jensen – Clip on, Vintage George Shiebler – Vintage Gioielli Italy – Mobile, Italian Giorgio Martello – Clip on Glassbeadstudio - European-style Glitzy Girls - Traditional (pre-made) for kids Good Charma – Traditional (pre-made), Necklaces, Kids GP Firenze - Italian Granchelli - European-style Gucci - Traditional (pre-made) Guess - Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
H Halia - European-style Harrods - Mobile Heather Moore – Traditional, Pre-made Helen Ficalora – Traditional Hellobead - European-style Henry Dankner & Sons – Vintage HighChi – Tradtitional & Pre-made High IntenCITY – Clip on (kids) Hilla Design – European-style Hint Charms - Traditional Hot Diamonds – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Hultquist-Copenhagen – Traditional (pre-made)
I Ideal Jewelry Manufacturing Company (trademark Theda) – Vintage Individuality - European-style Intercast - Vintage Ippolita - Traditional
J James Avery Charms – Traditional Jay Strongwater – Clip on Jayposon - Vintage Jemma Lulu – Traditional (pre-made) Jennifer Zeuner – Traditional (pre-made) Jessica Elliot - Traditional (pre-made) Jewelart Sterling – Vintage Jewellery Tree, The – Traditional (custom made) Jill Schiff - Traditional & Pre-made JM Fisher Company - Vintage Jo for Girls – European-style, Traditional (pre-made) for kids Joan Rivers – Traditional (pre-made) John Hardy – Traditional (pre-made) John Lewis – European-style (pre-made) Jon Richard – Clip on, Pre-made, European-style JouJou - Clip on Joulberry - Traditional (custom) Joy Everly - Traditional, Pre-made, Kids Juicy Couture – Clip on Just Divine – Traditional (pre-made) Just J – Clip on
K K&Company – Craft Kalassmycken - Clip on, Pre-made (kids) Karen Foster Design – Craft Karen Hill Tribe Silver – European-style, Traditional KC Designs – Traditional (pre-made) Kelly Waters – Traditional Kieselstein Cord – Traditional (pre-made) Kinney - Vintage Kirks Folly – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Kit Heath – Traditional (pre-made), European-style (their own version, only fits their chains), Kids, Clip on Konstantino – Traditional (pre-made) Kranz & Ziegler – Traditional
L La Vie Parisienne – Traditional (pre-made) Lacey Ryan – Traditional (pre-made) Lagos - Traditional (pre-made) Landmark Beads – European-style Lauren Sigman – Traditional (pre-made) Les Néréides – Traditional, Pre made Leslie MacInnes – Traditional (custom made from kids art) Lilyme - Traditional Links of London – Traditional Linx & More – Tiny charms to go in their lockets, Italian Liz Claiborne – Traditional (pre-made) Lois Hill – Traditional (pre-made) LOLA of Paris – European-style, Clip on London Road Jewellery – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Loop Collection, The – Traditional (pre-made) Louis Vuitton – Clip on Lovelinks- European-style, Kids LovingTheBead - European-style, Clip on, Rings, Earrings, Necklaces LTD Art Glass – European-style Lucky Brand – Clip on Lulu Guinness – Traditional (pre-made) Lunch at the Ritz – Traditional (pre-made bracelets) Lutrick - European-style Luv Links – European-style
M M & B Vintage – Vintage, Traditional Magdalena Ruiz Pasieka – European-style Maisel’s Indian Trading Post – Vintage Maloa - Traditional (pre-made) Manolo Blahnik (for TOUS) – Traditional (launches in March 2011) Marc Jacobs – Traditional (pre-made) Marcus Max Design – Rings Mark Poulin - Traditional (pre-made), Necklaces MarMalaid – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Martick - Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Maryann Wilkin Designs – Traditional & Pre-made Mathot Design – European-style Me to You – Traditional (pre-made) for kids Medical Alert Link – Italian (medical alert bracelets) Mercedes Salazar – Traditional (pre-made) Mi Lajki – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Michele Baratta – Traditional & Pre-made Mikey Jewellery – Clip on Milly - Traditional (pre-made) Molly Brown – Traditional & Pre-made Monet (aka Monocraft Products Company) - Vintage Monica Rich Kosann - Traditional, Necklaces, Pre-made Monserat de Lucca – Traditional (pre-made) Moritz Glik – Traditional (pre-made) Muano - European-style Muru - Clip on
Nagara by SeaZen – European-style Napier - Vintage Nelle & Lizzy – Traditional, Pre-made Nick Hubbard – Traditional, Pre-made Nicky Vankets – Traditional (pre-made) Nina Designs – Traditional Nina/STHLM – Traditional (pre-made) Nomination - Italian Nuvo - Vintage
O Oh la la – Traditional (pre-made) using ribbons instead of chains OHMBeads - European-style Ole Lynggaard – Traditional & Pre-made OneJewels – European-style for their own line of rings and necklaces Oriana Jewelry – European-style Oscar de la Renta – Traditional (pre-made) Otis Jaxon – Clip on Oxxo Design – Traditional, Clip on
P P & B Sterling – Vintage Page Sargisson – Traditional, Necklaces Pandora Jewelry – European-style Pastiche - Clip on Paul Morelli – Clip on
Peace of Mind - Traditional Pearl Affection, The – Clip on Pearls for Girls – Clip on Pedro Boregaard – Traditional Penny Preville – Traditional Perlamore - European-style Personality - European-style Personalized Boutique – Clip on Peruzzi - Vintage Pia Jewellery – European-style, Clip on Pianegonda - Clip on Pick Up Sticks Jewelry Co. - Traditional Pilgrim - Clip on, Traditional, Necklaces, Earrings Playboy - Traditional (pre-made), Mobile Pnut Jewelry – Traditional (but very unusual!), Pre-made Polkadot Magpie- Traditional Privileged - Traditional & Pre-made Pugster - European-style, Italian, Clip on, Traditional Puzzle Collection – Italian
Q Queen Baby – Traditional (pre-made)
R Raymond Yard – Vintage ReFlorence - Italian Rembrandt Charms – Traditional, clip on Reller - European-style, Traditional R.L. Griffith – Vintage Romano Passavinti - Italian Rosecraft - Vintage Royal London - Clip on RYLDesigns - Traditional RYRY - Italian
Sacred Charms – Traditional (pre-made), Clip on SarahDipiti – Traditional Saskia Rose Design – Clip on, Pre-made Satya Jewelry – Traditional (pre-made) Scribble - Traditional (pre-made) for kids Seidengang - Traditional (pre-made) Serena’s Beadery – European-style Shane Co – Traditional (w option to add clip on) Shanti - Clip on, Pre-made, European-style Siena Jewellery – Clip on Silver by Mail – Clip on Silverado - European-style, Kids Simstars - European-style Slane & Slane – Traditional (pre-made) SNÖ of Sweden - Traditional (pre-made) Sparkling Sage – Traditional (pre-made) Spencer - Vintage Spinning Jewelry – European-style, Rings Stella & Dot – Traditional Stephen Einhorn – Traditional, Pre-made Storm Jewellery – European-style, Clip on, Necklaces, Pre made Storywheels - European-style Stuller - Clip on, Traditional (pre-made) Style Naturale – Traditional (pre-made) Sundance Catalog – Traditional, Pre-made Suuz Design – European-style Svane & Lührs – Clip on Swarovksi - Clip on
T Talexia - Italian Talkatoo - Clip on (recordable!) Tarina Tarantino – Traditional (pre-made) Taxco - Vintage Tedora - European-style Temple St.Clair – Traditional, Pre-made TerraCast - Traditional Terranova - Vintage Thea Grant - Traditional (pre-made) Theda - Vintage Theo Fennell – Clip on Thomas L Mott – Vintage Thomas Sabo Charm Club – Clip on Three Sisters Jewelry Design – Traditional Ti Sento – Clip on, Pre-made Tiffany & Co – Traditional Timebeads - European-style watch beads Tina Tang – Traditional TLM (Thomas L Mott) – Vintage Tous-Traditional (pre-made), Toric joint Trifari - Vintage Trina Turk - Traditional (pre-made) Troll beads- European-style Truth - European-style, Clip on, Necklaces, Kids (“Truth Cutie”) Tur-Agamo - European-style
U Unodomani - Italian
V Van Cleef & Arpels – Vintage Verdura - Vintage, Pre-made Viva Beads – European-style Våga - Clip on
W Walt Disney Productions – Vintage Walter Lampl - Vintage We Three Designs – Traditional, Necklaces Wells Sterling – Vintage WellsWare - Traditional & Pre-made William Ruser – Vintage
X Xenox - Clip on, Pre-made Xixis Beads – European-style XOXO - Traditional (pre-made)
Z Zable - European-style, Earrings, Necklaces Zoppini - Italian
Amulets, also known as talismans, have been used all over the world for thousands of years by people of all faiths to help protect them from evil and bad luck and bring things like good luck, health, happiness and prosperity. And we still use them today: horseshoes are placed over doorways all over the world, motorcyclists put gremlin bells on their bikes, and in the UK, brides place silver sixpences in their left shoes as wedding good luck charms.
While some scoff at such behavior and brush it off as silly superstition, a recent study suggests that just believing in a good outcome can actually increase your chances of one. So if you want to wear your lucky shirt when playing golf, throw salt over your shoulder, wear a four-leaf clover charm, or carry a piece of jade around (a Chinese good luck charm), ignore the nay sayers and do it. It can only help.
In ancient Egypt, amulets were everywhere – people wore them on rings, bracelets and necklaces, carried them around, and put them in the bandages of mummies to protect the deceased in the afterlife. In the Old Kingdom (3100 – 2181 B.C.E.) many amulets were in the shape of animals. The frog symbolized fertility, the lion ferocity and power. The most well-known amulet shapes from this period however, are probably the ankh and the wedjat-eye, or the eye of Horus, which was the most powerful of all the protective symbols. During the Middle and new Kingdoms, deities and scarab amulets (which represented rebirth) were among the most popular. There aren’t many descriptions of Egyptian good luck charms; one exception is the Nefer, which was placed on the deceased in order to bring good fortune in the afterlife.
In ancient Greece, amulets were used to attract power, love, and wealth, but most commonly, they were used to cure illness and injury, often in combination with an incantation or prayer. Some amulets were inscribed with the incantation and worn as protection.
Amulets as a cure for illness continued to be popular during the Roman Empire, especially inscribed ones. Old documents describe amulets being used for very specific ailments such as inflammation, migraines, infections, etc. Cornicello amulets, in the shape of a twisted horn (still used, and known today as Italian good luck charms), were used to protect the bearer from the evil eye. Ichthys, more commonly known as the Jesus Fish, were worn by Christians as a form of ID.
On a side note, fish amulets have been used for thousands of years by people of all faiths. The fish has been thought to symbolize prosperity, success, fertility, birth and other good things.
During the Migration Period, bracteates, thin coins with a variety of motifs, were popular in northern Europe. Images featured figures of Germanic mythology. pagan icons, and runic inscriptions, and they are believed to have been used for protection.
In medieval Europe, amulets that protected the wearer from injury in battles were popular with kings and knights. In Scandinavia, large numbers of guldgubbar (meaning “little men of gold”), hammered gold amulets, have been found in various locations. Their usage is not certain, but some suggest that they were a tribute to travelers or the dead. Pendants in the shape of Thor’s hammer “Mjölner”, the most powerful weapon in Germanic mythology, were hugely popular, and remain so to this day.
In Thailand, Buddha amulets, blessed by monks, were and are very popular. You often see people wear several at once to help with all aspects of life. In India, amulets depicting animals were common, with the most popular being the tortoise. Goddess amulets and Hamsas (the hand that wards off the evil eye) were and are very popular.
In Turkey, nazar boncuk – amulets protecting the bearer from the evil eye – are absolutely everywhere. People wear them, put them in their cars, in babies’ clothing, build them into the foundation of homes and office buildings, hang them in doorways, put them on websites, and even in/on airplanes. If one of these amulets is found cracked, it means it has protected its bearer and has to be replaced immediately.
Omamoris are Japanese amulets made from a piece of wood and/or paper inscribed with prayers and/or the name of a god, and wrapped in cloth (the same word is also used for charms and talismans and means protection). They provide protection from a wide range of dangers and can be bought at shrines and temples all over Japan. It is said that opening the cloth makes the amulet lose its powers, and they should be replaced once a year. Many Japanese combine a New Year’s visit to a temple/shrine with buying their new omamori for the year.
This was just a brief sampling of some of the amulets around the world. Each country, and indeed specific regions, have their own special talismans and items believed to have certain powers (don’t miss our “Charms, Amulets and Talismans in Other Languages post” if you plan to shop abroad). Regardless of whether one believes this or not, they do make pretty (and wearable) souvenirs. And if they work, all the better!
Even if you’re not a collector (yet!), it is fun to hunt for charms and amulets (good luck charms) in other countries. They are great souvenirs for yourself and make fabulous gifts for those back home. Pick up a bunch and put them on a bracelet to give at a holiday or special occasion. You can make these really personal too. For example, if the recipient loves to read, look for charms depicting books, pens, famous libraries, etc. Another advantage of charms is that they are lightweight and take up virtually no space in your suitcase.
Even if you don’t speak the local language, it is helpful to know what charms are called in other languages, both when shopping in other countries and browsing the internet. Sometimes, going to the Google page of a particular country and doing a search for an item in the local language can yield great results, and you may discover treasures that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
This is what “Charms”, “Amulets” and “Talismans” are called in a few other languages (where there are only two words, the word for amulet and talisman is the same):