Fashion is ever changing and not remaining in one place for too long. It’s a rare thing when something stays on trend for longer than a season or two but when it does then you know that it’s probably one worth participating in. The stackable ring trend is one of those long lasting trends, and I am SO happy about that. People are still showcasing their stacked rings on multiple Pinterest boards, blog posts, and in magazine articles. 2016’s trend of stackable rings is not going anywhere in 2017.
Ring Stacking How-to:
Try starting with a delicate and/or sparkly ring as the foundation? But don’t stop there, Alef Bet Jewelry offers a wide variety of rings that are perfect options for the stackable ring trend. From high-end to low, stackable rings are making their mark. Many fashion experts suggest an anything-goes mentality that employs a selection of varying sizes, shapes and colors. While another advises choosing one metal (gold, rose gold, silver or platinum) or one color and then playing with textures. But I believe you the only rule is – there are no rules! This is fashion and fashion should express you and your beautiful personality! So no matter how you stack, strive for a cohesive look that makes you feel good.
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.
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.
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.
Recently we responded to an article that was asking about the allure of rose gold. I stopped a second and thought about the pink-toned color, and truthfully, our demand for rose gold jewelry has dramatically increased. The pink tones offer a sense of coolness, almost a tranquil feeling, yet it is bold and feminine at the same time. When looking up different words for what pink represents, the list is long but the words, or adjectives,that moved us were: unconditional and romantic love, compassion and understanding, nurturing, romance, warmth, hope, calming, sweetness, feminine and intuitive energy. Rose gold , also known as pink gold, is not a natural gold color, which is yellow. Blending copper and white alloys in with the yellow produce pink.
Here is a selection of spiritual, religious, and protective jewelry with a feel of “pink.”
It’s no secret that the “anti-aging” market represents the biggest segment of consumer spending today. No one wants to grow old gracefully, and today men as well as women spend billions and billions of dollars trying to keep their skin taut and smooth, their hair gloriously abundant, their bodies firm and perky, even as the decades roll on.
And it’s not just Boomers who are obsessed with staying young. Today everything from pomegranate juice (yum) to exfoliants are marketed as preventive aging, to people in their 20s, as well as to more mature buyers.
Frankly, it’s exhausting. But we do have a suggestion—a Hamsa, an “eye” pendant, or even a piece of jewelry designed after the life-giving pomegranate!
The Hamsa is a hand-shaped pendant which has been worn across the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa for millennia. The “eye” of course is an amulet which resembles an eye, with an equally long history in the same areas of the world. Both are traditional talismans for protecting the wearer from the so-called evil eye.
Coincidentally, I suppose, the eyes and the hands are the first parts of our bodies to show our age. These are the two areas where our skin is the thinnest. Because the skin here is so thin, fine lines and wrinkles show up here first as the result of constant UV exposure, weather, stress and repetitive gestures (smiling, frowning). Hands in particular are tattle-tales when it comes to age, because they contain no oil-glands—they often look older than the rest of us!
Moisture is key to keeping the skin young, as the manufacturers of zillions of skin care brands will tell you. Again, perhaps coincidentally, moisture plays a role in the concept of the evil eye. The brilliant Dr. Alan Dundes, who taught at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote a landmark essay on the history of the evil eye, observing that the ill effect of the “eye” was always dehydration. He surmised that because the tradition arose in the Middle East, where water has always been scarce, the worst possible thing that could happen would be for an oasis or well to run dry, or for drought to blight the land, as is happening in Africa today. This would cause your flocks and orchards to perish. Other metaphorical losses symbolized by moisture-loss—for instance, loss of sexual potency and fertility—are also
associated with the “eye”, and guarded against with the Hamsa and eye amulets.
The aging process really consists of several factors—genetics, stress, conditions, attitude. Other than a good skin care regimen, especially eye and hand-cream (our favorites:Dermalogica Hand and Nail Treatment, Intensive Eye Repair, Total Eye Care—http://dermalogica.com), what can really be done? To wear in good health, whatever your age, and to see you safely from one year and one decade to the next, we recommend #gwn-f, a modern silver Hamsa with small “eye”, #ww17, our Diamond “eye” pendant with your choice of gemstone strands, and for even juicier protection, try # Pom5, our Ruby Pomegranate necklace, set in 14karat rose gold.
The new jewelry trend is setting full cut diamonds in sterling silver. I know, at first you’re like, “huh? That totally cheapens the product!” Then you take a look at the quality and the think, nice… Then the big whammy comes…. it is priced to sell and to buy. Affordable.
The price of gold is awful, unless you are selling it and making a great profit, but if you are selling jewelry it hurts. I guess the same holds true if you are buying jewelry. Duh. The prices of metals are just out of control.
So, now sterling silver is set with diamonds. Makes sense now, right?
It’s summer, and your schedule is probably packed with travel: weddings, family reunions, class reunions, and hopefully some gorgeous vacation-time to restore and refresh you.
Travel itself is dehydrating. Whether you’re flying first-class or crossing the country in a beat-up van (both can be fun, in their different ways), you’ll find your sleep schedule interrupted, perhaps a bit of anxiety as you wait for your suitcase on the luggage carousel at the airport, pass painstakingly through security and customs, the occasional frustration if your flight is delayed, etc.
Fear not! Wearing an evil eye amulet or one of our Hamsa designs cannot guarantee that your baggage won’t get temporarily misplaced in Cleveland. But, as we always say, it couldn’t hurt.
Wearing a piece of “protective” jewelry is like carrying-on a little peace of mind. We also like to take a bit of ribbon and tie a Hamsa or “eye” inside our suitcases when we travel. A reader of this blog recently even suggested that we create a Hamsa-shaped luggage tag, and we’re considering it.
Now, back to the hand-symbolism of the Hamsa itself. We have to re-blog ourselves. Our last blog on the origins of the Hamsa contained a rather esoteric illustration of the Aaronic blessing.
But we left out some of the more important aspects of this hand-position which is familiar to many Jews worldwide, as part of worship. This blessing-gesture forms the hands into the shape of the Hebrew letter “Shin”.
This letter appears on the mezuzahs which sanctify and guard Jewish homes, and call to mind the names of Almighty God, Shaddai, and the Shechinah, the Divine Presence and Sabbath Queen. Of course, thousands of scholars have written thousands of pages about the implications of all of this, over the past few centuries. Just a little light reading for the beach this summer.
An aspect of this blessing, offered to the congregation by the priestly Kohanim, involves an emanation of powerful light through the gesture—a light which is so powerful that we are commanded to look away.
Does this light emanate from a galaxy far, far away? Wait a minute….yes, there is a similarity to the famous “Vulcan salute”, created by actor Leonard Nimoy for his half-Vulcan character, the unflappable Mr.Spock.
Nimoy was inspired by the Aaronic blessing which he observed as a child in Temple. Below, from his autobiography, “I Am Spock”:
“The special moment when the Kohanim blessed the assembly moved me deeply, for it possessed a great sense of magic and theatricality… I had heard that this indwelling Spirit of God was too powerful, too beautiful, too awesome for any mortal to look upon and survive, and so I obediently covered my face with my hands. But of course, I had to peek.”
Even if you’re not a Trekkie, travel safely this summer—and live long and prosper.
When we look at our hands, we can’t help but remember one of the most beautiful lines from the Book of Isaiah, where the speaker is feeling neglected and forgotten by the Almighty. The Almighty responds that it would be easier for a mother to forget the growing child in her womb than for Him to “forget” Zion, adding rather fiercely, “I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” Looking down into the creases of our own hands with this passage in mind, especially if we’re feeling a bit lost, can be a comforting meditation.
Much of the beauty of Judaism is its sense of Mystery. We’ve all heard that expression, “The Lord moveth in mysterious ways.” So true.
As you know from reading our blog, one of our favorite icons of Judaica is the Hamsa, the protective hand. And our “TINY HAMSA CZ” series of necklaces and bracelets is among our most alluring and meaningful.
This design is not the straightforward Hamsa, or stylized protective hand, which appears in many of our most popular pieces, though we love those, too. The “Hidden Hamsa” pattern looks like a delicate, dainty, floral filigree abstract, punctuated with a tiny gem. We offer this design in several different iterations—silver, gold-dipped, on leather, or on a fine chain. (Check out our items Hidwn, hid4, hidn3, hidhn1.)
The fact that the protective hands are “hidden” from plain sight is
intriguing. Perhaps a reminder that even when we can’t see the actions of the
Almighty, we are always in good hands.
CAPTION : On the subject of hands, here is a drawing of the traditional Priestly Blessing of Aaron. Occasionally, one sees this esoteric image carved into the entryway of
Temples. The interpretation of the characters and the mathematical meaning of
the numerical sections of the drawing could cross a Rabbi’s eyes. Suffice to
say, the name of G-d, and the word “Koach”, or strength (derived from the Hebrew number for 28, since the hands are divided into 28 sections), are the