Red String Bracelet?

What is it about the red thread, worn around the wrist?

Bendel bracelet with heart charm and lucky chai
Bendel bracelet with chai and heart charm.


Speaking from the Judaica perspective, we call this simple, traditional bracelet a bendel. Our “red thread” bracelets, accented with a tiny charm (protective eye, star, hamsa), are one of our most popular items.

With the popularity of Kabbalah studies on the rise these days, these red threads are everywhere. The Book of Splendor (Zohar) tells us that the red thread invokes the protective power of the matriarch Rachel, who guards the wearer like her own child. Speaking as two generations of Jewish mothers (and descended from many more), trust us—this is a very good thing.

Mauli red string
Mauli red string drying

But here’s a mind-blower. It’s not just a Jewish thing…..while India is significantly east of our frame of reference, there is apparently a parallel Hindu tradition.  In India, the red thread is called Mauli, Mouli, Kalava, Charadu, Nada Chadi, Raksha, Rakshi….and if I’m getting it wrong, sorry! These red threads, sometimes with jeweled charms, are knotted around the wrist in observance of puja, or ritual.

The Indian red thread may have a yellow bar-pattern, and is knotted around the wrist as part of many rituals. There is a special tradition, for instance, of brothers and sisters knotting the thread around each other’s wrists.

Depending upon who you ask, some Hindus say that wearing the thread signifies protection by the Mother Goddess Shakti. The general idea seems to be that you wear it until it naturally disintegrates or falls off.

Some discussions of the Hindu red thread say that it even turns to “gold”, although we’re taking this metaphorically, not literally. In many of our bendels, the red thread is woven through a gorgeous sterling chain-link bracelet. You just replace the red thread when it unravels. If your bracelet turns to gold, please call me personally!

Hamsa red string bendel bracelet


Here is an excerpt from

“Legend has it that Lord Vishnu during his incarnation of Vamana tied a red thread on the hands of King Bali to grant him immortality and to rule the netherworld.

There is also a popular belief that the sanctified red thread with blessing of the deity protects a person from diseases, enemies and other dangers.”

Tony Blair and red string
Tony Blair with red string

A few years back,UK Prime Minister Tony Blair made headlines when he wore one which had been gifted to him by Swaminarayan Mandir at theHinduTemplein Neasden in Northwest London.

And not too long ago in The New York Times, we read about William Lauder, heir to the Estee Lauder empire and Lauder company chairman, wearing a red thread bracelet that he picked up at a Hindu shrine at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Raksha red string
Raksha red string

Good ideas know no boundaries! Wear your red thread bracelet, by any name, in good health!


Feeling Lucky? Feeling Fortunate?

Maybe it’s just the smell of Spring in the air, or the time spent with family during the Spring holidays, but we’ve been thinking about the idea of “fortune” this week.

Good fortune necklace
Fortune jewelry

We use the word “fortune” the way we use the word “luck”—we have both good and bad “fortune” and “luck”.

From fortune-tellers and fortune-cookies, human beings have always been obsessed with this idea of “fortune”.  In this sense, “fortune” is used in the context divining the future. In our more suggestible moments, we look to a Magic 8-Ball, or read the patterns of swirled coffee-grounds and tea-leaves, cards, creases in the palms of the hand, cowrie shells, and a
thousand other “methods” for telling us what will happen next. And hoping for
the best.

We may also use the word to mean a large sum of money– “I spent a fortune on that dress”. Using the word “fortune” to mean material wealth suggests that we got rich by being lucky.

We may in fact plan, strategize, invest, scrimp, save and work very hard to collect our cash and goods. But they can vanish in the wink of an eye, i.e., a bad divorce-settlement, or worse. The latter half of this is definitely “bad fortune”.

As modern people, we want to feel that we control our destiny. Do we? Our persistent interest in fortune and luck suggests that there is a cosmic wild-card which may be played at any time. Our fortunes may reverse in a heartbeat, in spite of all our planning, fretting, bitten fingernails and sleepless nights.

In fact, the popular game-show, “Wheel of Fortune”, finds its roots in ancient Rome: Fortuna was an especially fickle goddess, who became associated with a revolving wheel, because no one’s fortune, or luck, is always constant.

Like the classic Sinatra song goes, ” you’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May. That’s life!”

It’s human nature to want to protect our wealth, our health, our well-being, and to protect our loved ones in the same way. Some of our most popular designs literally feature the word “protection”. Others protect the wearer symbolically, with the Shield of David (Mogen David), the hamsa, the eye. If you’re feeling really lucky, wear them all!




…and scientists and nutritionists are discovering more every day. Modern health care is all a-buzz over this succulent ancient fruit. Many studies are underway, and current evidence suggests that pomegranates are packed with antioxidants which, basically keep you young, fighting heart disease, keeping your organs and skin vibrant, and more.

Of course, people from the lands where pomegranates grow have known this for thousands of years, from Israel to India, Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Morocco—all ancient cultures which have long prized the pomegranate not only for its refreshing tart-sweetness, and the beauty of its gleaming, gem-like seeds, but also for its health-giving properties.

Who can resist? In the Greek myths, the goddess Persephone was tricked by Hades, shadowy ruler of the underworld, into a lifetime shared with him when he offered her a few juicy pomegranate seeds for the road. Sort of like the first Pomegranate Martini—with drastic results!

This nourishing fruit, which is botanically related to the rose, stands for fertility and abundance in every sense. We haven’t counted,  but Jewish tradition tells us that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, one for each of the Mitzvot, or commandments, which define a good life. In this sense, the pomegranate is a life-support system for the spirit as well as the body!

Our pomegranate-themed jewelry is a natural, so to speak, for Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year, when pomegranates are always enjoyed as a symbol of new commitment and new beginnings. For the same reason, we love pomegranate jewelry as a birthday gift, and as a wedding gift—after all, the Song of Solomon describes the lover’s glowing cheeks “like pomegranates”. This symbol of eternal renewal also resonates for anyone starting off on a new adventure, including launching a new business enterprise.

Garnet jewelry also calls to mind the restorative powers of the pomegranate: the garnet resembles the aril, or pomegranate seed. Most scholars agree that the word “garnet” is related to the Latin name for the pomegranate, Punica granatum.

Wear yours with joy, and in good health!


If you’d like to see the rose gold pomegranate online, click here.  There is also a sterling silver version.