An Amulet, according to Pliny, is an object that protects a person from harm, an object that provides the wearer with mystical powers and luck. Throughout history and across cultures, the lucky amulet has been interpreted as many objects, motifs and animals. Not to mention semiprecious stones, but that will be for another blog entry. The Hamsa hand, from Jewish and Middle Eastern cultures, has three fingers and a little finger either side, thought to protect against the evil eye. This particular lucky amulet is currently popular with A-listers such as Jennifer Aniston and Madonna.
The expression ‘to have a lucky break’ comes from the practice of drying out the wishbone (or merrythought) from the Christmas turkey, and then two people wrap their little fingers around the ends, make a wish and pull until it breaks. The recipient of the larger side wishbone is said to have their wish fulfilled.
The origin of the luck associated with a horseshoe comes from the blacksmith, who worked with fire and iron, both thought to imbibe special powers. An upturned horseshoe is said to contain the luck; others believe that if the ends point downwards, then the luck with flow out to pervade the home. My own personal special place associated with this is Waylands Smithy, on the Ridgeway Path, where a phantom blacksmith will shoe your horse, if you leave him overnight, along with a silver coin.
Silver coins have traditionally been considered lucky, and to have bought financial good fortune. The silver dime is particularly popular with gamblers, since these were originally contained mercury; to the Romans, the god of Mercury ruled over chance. The Celts, on the other hand, believed that silver coins would get larger as the moon grew in size. And we are all familiar with the practice of hiding a silver coin in a Christmas pudding to bring good luck and wealth.
Lara Bohinc, renowned designer sees wearing jewellery as a way to tell a little about yourself… As she says, ‘ One never really needs to wear jewellery in the same way that one needs to wear clothes. So jewellery can tell a story and can be like a personal amulet.’