Baby Jewelry from Other Cultures

by Monica Mitchell March 26, 2018

Baby Jewelry from Other Cultures

While it may seem like a recent fashion trend, baby jewelry has actually been given as gifts to signify special occasions for thousands of years. Whether to provide protection from evil spirits, symbolize status, display the wealth of the family, or as religious tokens, the wearing of jewelry by children and infants has been highly documented both in historical literature and in religious texts over many years and cultures.

Most traditionally, infant jewelry was given to protect against evil spirits and bring good omens around the world, from Africa to Asia and Europe. These pieces were usually made from shells or animal hair, while more elaborate jewelry crafted from filigreed precious metals, enamel, and precious stones have been discovered by archaeologists dating back to Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Byzantine periods. Jewelry-making didn’t become a popular art form in Europe until the 17th century, and these were often precious metal diaper clips or pins, sometimes with good luck charms. The art of infant and child’s jewelry spread slowly to America as “baby pins” — used primarily for little girls to replace buttons — and coral teething necklaces also started to gain popularity.

The tradition of piercing an infant’s ears in many South and Latin American still continues to this day. The origin of this expected tradition is not completely known, but it is suggested that it’s a way to distinguish girls from boys. Grandparents generally gift the baby girl her first pair, and there are many hospitals at which the piercings occur before the infant can be discharged.

Infant protection jewelry or charms are slowly making their way back into the modern culture, and are a unique gift that comes with a diverse and rich background that anyone can appreciate.

Baby Jewelry from Different Cultures

Mal de Ojo and Azabache for Babies

In Latino cultures, Azabache jewelry is worn by children as protection against Mal de Ojo, or the “evil eye.” Originating in Spain and made traditionally with black jet, the Azabache/Mal de Ojo bracelet for baby is a talisman designed to dispel curses or harmful thoughts conveyed upon the wearer. Usually result of envy from others, the curse or “evil eye” could cause misfortune and bring bad luck or poor health. The bracelet itself is now generally made from gold that features a black or red coral charm in the shape of a fist.

The gifting and wearing of Azabache bracelets is still a tradition in many Latino cultures. This is especially true for infants, and many parents gift Azabache jewelry for babies as extra protection against curses or harmful thoughts. The jewelry itself is very beautiful and makes a great nod to culture and heritage when given as a newborn present and is a piece the parents and eventually the child can appreciate for years to come.

Turkish Evil Eye Baby Jewelry

Many different cultures have an evil eye superstition that dates back thousands of years and is still honored to this day. Turkish culture is no exception. The Nazar Boncugu, or Blue Evil Eye, is a jewelry tradition originating in Turkey that has surpassed being worn simply for protection, and has turned into one of the most popular tourist souvenirs sold around the world. In Cappadocia, thousands of Blue Eye charms hang from trees and doorways, and creates an enchanting and peaceful environment for those around.

As with the Azabache culture, the Blue Eye is worn to ward off potentially harmful, negative, and otherwise envious looks from others that could bring bad fortune upon the recipient, and to bring peace of mind to the wearer. For the parents of an infant, evil eye jewelry for babies works almost like a comfort blanket that soothes and protects the infant. The Blue Eye most traditionally is a dark blue spherical glass or ceramic piece with an eye in the middle, and many jewelry craftsmen stick to the basic design while making  unique and beautiful pieces that can be worn according to the superstition or for any special occasion by infants and children or adults.


Hamsa Jewelry

Although it has made a recent resurgence in current yogi culture, the Hamsa is a well-known ancient Middle Eastern symbol that is believed to signify the Hand of God. Worn as jewelry or included in many home decoration designs, it brings its owner luck, happiness, health, and good fortune. Also called the Hand of Miriam, the  hamsa is worn pointing up or down to bring prosperity and protect against the “ayin ha’ra”, or evil eye and bestow luck upon the wearer.

This symbol has many meanings for several different cultures. “Hamsa” or “hamesh” translates as “five” in the Hebrew language and points to the five fingers in the design, which represents the five books of the Jewish Torah, the five holy names for God, and in Sunni culture, the Five Pillars of Islam. Because it predates so many other spiritual symbols or legends, the Hamsa has come to be worn or recognized in recent history as a universal symbol of peace encompassing a number of religions. Many Muslims or Jews choose to wear the Hand of God as a gesture of hope for peace in the Middle East.

Hamsa jewelry has made a comeback in recent years, and makes a wonderful gift to welcome a new child into the world as a symbol of hope, peace, and prosperity.

BABY-JEWELRY-FROM-OTHER-CULTURES

In Season Jewelry: Your Destination for Baby Jewelry from Different Cultures

To this day, certain cultures still prize the giving of special amulets or talismans to the newborn, believed to bring peace of mind to the parents and offer comfort and safety for the child. In addition, many families still pierce the ears of their infants as a nod to their heritage.

For today’s modern parents, a Hamsa necklace, a Turkish Blue Eye pendant, or an Azabache bracelet provides a new child with a unique and significant gift that holds much meaning, and is the perfect way to welcome someone into the world. Browse our complete collection of high-quality good luck jewelry to find the perfect protection piece or good luck charm.

Monica Mitchell
Monica Mitchell


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