The Hamsa– Up or Down? Which is the Right Way to Wear it?

From “Om” to “Shalom”

diamond hamsa necklace

The Hamsa is one of our most familiar and favorite symbols to wear as fine jewelry. At the moment, we’re just loving this very feminine version (fch39), a small, but very fiery Hamsa pendant, set with diamonds and suspended from links of diamond stations in yellow, rose or white 14 karat gold. It’s not bling-y at all—meaning it doesn’t yell at you from across the room.

 

Instead, it’s sophisticated and chic.

 

Here’s the thing: lots of our customers practice yoga, and this is one of their favorite pieces to wear while in the “Om” space—we have to say, it does look really sleek and modern on a spaghetti-strap tank top. This is truly a cross-cultural moment, because the Hamsa, as we know it, is not a Hindu or Buddhist symbol. The Indian Vedic scriptures have a beautiful tradition of powerful, symbolic hand postures called mudras, but that’s a whole different thing. We think. In any case, here’s the Hamsa, at a yoga studio near you, doing the downward dog and sun salutation.

 

Jews call this hand-shaped amulet the Hand of Miriam. Moslems call it the Hand of Fatima. There are many interpretations of these particular usages.  The hand is often depicted with an eye in the center of its open palm, presumably to ward off negative energies, including the gaze of envy.

 

Berkeley scholar and folklorist, Professor Alan Dundes, incidentally Jewish, studied the origins of the evil eye for decades, and identified the ancient cultures that live along the Sahara as the source of the specific practices and symbols we use to signify the evil eye today. Dr. Dundes concluded that the arid desert landscape itself, in almost permanent drought, created a highly defensive and protective consciousness, where precious moisture, including tears, breast milk and human spit, traditionally took on magical properties.

 

The brilliant and outrageous Dr. Dundes, unfortunately, is no longer with us. So we’ve done our own unofficial survey.

Usually, the Hamsa points down.

But we do offer several pieces where the fingers point up. Some people feel that, like with a horseshoe, the symbol seems “luckier” if the direction is up, not down. Okay. If this is your groove, try our sterling and turquoise-gemmed Hamsa pendant

 

 

 

 

 

Come to think of it, our round disk sterling Hamsa pendant has a serene, lotus-look which makes sense with yogic practice. round hamsa for yoga on amazon

 

 

 

 

Two downward-facing Hamsa pendants that are favorites have the look of the Mediterranean and Middle East – a slender, elongated Hamsa in sterling silver  or diamond dotted version in gold. 

 

Today, we’re truly living in McLuhan’s global village. We eat sushi in Texas. We listen to vintage Rolling Stones anthems in space. So, who’s to say whether the Hamsa should point up or down, or whether it “goes with” yoga?

Wear your Hamsa, and feel safe and empowered in your wonderful place in our amazing world.

So, how do you wear your hamsa?

 

Mitzvah + Red String Bendel Hamsa Bracelet

Can I help you with that?

This question was posed to us in a facebook group that I am a part of for online marketing.  A simple question, nothing is expected from one another but honest help.  No fees, no self-promotion, just help.

Awesome.

Anyone can do that, helping one another with business, work, e-commerce and SEO questions, etc.  But, when we really start to think about it, no, not everyone can help with that.  We don’t all have the same skill set, the same knowledge, the same language for that matter. There really are some brilliant people out there, and the little “pishers,” like me can easily get intimidated.

 

Then, I got to thinking about what I can do to help others.  I pondered on it, and then it occurred to me: I am helping.  My company set up a campaign online for a friend who had a terrible spinal infection that led to 2 weeks in the hospital with (hopefully only) temporary paralysis in both legs.  This is not a bragging post, but a thoughtful post on what we are all capable of doing to help others.  With Alef Bet Jewelry, a little business, I was able to sell and donate 100% of the proceeds of a red string bendel bracelet with a lucky “helping hand” charm to aide in the finances for the family.  With my friend being the sole-earner, this puts his family in a very difficult situation.

A mitzvah.

This Hebrew word says it all, “a good deed.”

Do a good deed for others, it is the ultimate act of kindness one can do another.  Well, there is way more to it than just that, but the “idea” of doing random acts of kindness and being generous and helpful to others is actually found in the Torah.

If you want to read about Robert, there was a Go Fund Me set up for him.  Another mitzvah by a random person he actually didn’t know very well, that took it upon himself to set up a page to help.

Amazing what we can do to help one another.  The power we have, the way we can lift each other up.  

If you’d like to buy the red string bracelet, I will gladly donate 100% to my friend.

May his recovery be 100%. 

Hamsa lucky red string bracelet

May we continue to inspire one another, help one another, and touch each other’s lives.  And as they asked in the facebook group, “Can I help you with that?”

 

hamsa hand worn for luck and prosperity
Red string bendel bracelet

 

 

 

Easiest Bracelet. E.V.E.R.

 

There are bracelets of all sorts on the market, each one appealing to many different people.  We all have different size wrists, and styles.  We want to gift someone the best bracelet around, but don’t know their size.  What if we mess up, and it is too small, or too large?  And so on and so on.

Hamsa Bracelet with gemstones
Hamsa Bracelet with gemstones

 

Then there is THIS bracelet.  Seriously.  The answer.

On the backside is a special knot, called a macrame knot.  It slides open and closed so easily, you can do it with one hand.  You might think the beads hanging off of the back might be bothersome, but they really aren’t.  Honestly, you won’t even feel them. You’ll just be comfortable wearing this bracelet.

 

macrame bracelet

 

Macramé knotting is first believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. These artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls, and veils, but most importantly their camels and livestock. From there, it traveled to Spain and Italy and onto England.  It was introduced into England at the end of the  17th century. Queen Mary taught the art of macramé to her ladies-in-waiting.  

Of course, it then made its way to America, and it can then be said that sailors made macramé objects in off hours while at sea, and sold or bartered them when they landed.   Now hammocks, jewelry, knots, and even belts are made using that ancient art of macrame.  

Take this design and mesh it with modern style.  And wow!

Actually, the hamsa charm also originated from the Middle East.  Just think of the history in this bracelet!

 

 

The Evil Eye and Hamsa Jewelry Combined

The symbol called a Hamsa is a timeless symbol that has endured from the peoples of ancient Mesopotamia and Carthage to A-list celebrities of today. The Eye is a simple but striking image of just that, an eye.  But, a hamsa is a stylized right hand with fingers spread (to ward off evil) or closed (to bring luck).  Many times you can see an eye placed inside of the palm of the hamsa-hand.  Commonly cast out of gold or silver,  these two lucky symbols are really one of the most eye-catching pieces of jewelry you can find, no pun intended.

hamsa necklace, chamsa necklace, gold hamsa jewelry
14k gold hamsa necklace

Over the years the striking design has remained relatively unchanged, but its spirit has meant many things.

 

To the ancient Mesopotamians the Hand of Fatima (or Khamsa) was a symbol to ward off the evil spirits of malice, jealousy and envy. The hand became common for those seeking protection, especially for pregnant women and new mothers. The hand was also a symbol of divine providence; it was carved out of jet or cast in silver and hung to bring luck to families.
The eye is a potent symbol of protection in Jewish culture as well. The five fingers of the hand is said to remind oneself to praise G-d with your five senses. It is known as the Hand of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron. In Christianity, the Eye is called the eye of Mary and was said to have the power to protect pregnant women. An open palm is also seen in Buddha’s gesture of protection. The symbol truly has worldwide appeal.


 

With its widespread appeal some will ask what the true meaning behind this captivating ornament is.


Is it a symbol to ward off jealousy? An amulet to protect nursing mothers? Perhaps a talisman to bring the wearer luck and happiness. Maybe it’s a reminder to praise god with your entirety.  Truthfully, the answers to these questions is simply: yes. It is all these things simultaneously, and it is the wearer that finds the meaning in this evocative piece through the lens of their own personal spirituality. The true power of this symbol is, in the end, intimacy: the intimacy one feels when holding it, and the connection to your own spirituality. The knowledge that you are connected to a rich history behind this symbol, while also making it your own- that’s a powerful feeling!

The push for more spirituality in the things we wear is strong, especially in America.  Americans have always had a fascination with the personal over the group. We value independence, and resourcefulness. This has extended into our belief system as well, as more and more people gravitate to a spiritual movement, not one necessarily based in one religion. The Eye of Hamsa is a perfect companion for this journey, because at its heart it isn’t a religious symbol but a spiritual one. Wearing one is an affirmation of your own spirituality and the commitment to something more, whatever that may be to you.
The most common form of the Eye of Hamsa is a necklace, perfect for wearing every day.  Even though in the past it was carved from jet or cast in silver, today you can find a Hamsa or an eye in almost any material you desire.  It can be richly adorned with jewels or kept quite simple.  It can be placed your cell phone case, worn as an evening bag, used on your couch as a pillow and even decorated on your t-shirt.  Indeed, just as its inner meaning can match your inner spirituality, its outward appearance can match any sense of style.

hamsa jewelry and hamsa bracelet

 

Today you can find Hamsas on almost anything. You can find mugs, t-shirts, posters, hats, leggings, tattoos, even underwear. With all this availability, it is still relatively fringe in the west, but not for long. While the Hamsa has been wildly popular in the Middle East and North Africa- it’s on Algeria’s national emblem- it has begun to trickle into America. That trickle will become a flood, it has already begun as more and more young people gravitate to this timeless icon.  Some great choices are Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula’s  hamsa or evil eye earrings, bracelets or necklaces.