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What Is the Hamsa and Why Is It Worn on Jewellery?


The hamsa is ubiquitous and it’s likely you’ll know it when you see it, even if you don’t know its meaning. 

Appearing on everything from necklaces and bracelets, clothing and tapestry and as a popular tattoo design, the hamsa is a recognisable symbol throughout the globe.

The meaning of the hamsa and why it works well as an affirmation bracelet

The specific meaning of the hamsa depends on your culture and beliefs – discussed later in the article – but generally it is viewed as a symbol of good luck and protection against the evil eye (a folkloric symbol of curse or negativity from others). For this reason many hamsa bracelets and necklaces contain an engraved or painted eye at their centre.

Another common depiction at the centre of a hamsa talisman is a fish, which represents good luck and immunity from the evil eye.
Hamsa affirmation bracelets are therefore beautiful, mystical good-luck charms reminding you that you are safe and protected.

How should I wear the hamsa on jewellery?

Wearing the hamsa either up, down or level holds different meanings. 

Often necklaces will have the hamsa charm hanging down or facing upwards. Upwards denotes protection against evil and negativity from others (as well as negative self talk).

Downwards signifies good luck, prosperity and abundance.  

Often on bracelets, the hamsa will lie horizontally – attached at either end by the chain – as with our selection. This symbolises unity and connection and in this way, they make excellent friendship bracelets.

What are the origins of the hamsa symbol?

The symbol has roots in various cultures, but it’s derived from the word ‘hamesh’, meaning five in Hebrew, which gives a clue as to its origins. Evidence shows it first appeared in Mesopotamia – an ancient region of what is now the Middle East.

The number five, and therefore the five fingers of the hamsa are significant in many of the main religions. In Buddhism, the five fingers denote the 5 chakkras; in Judaism it’s the five holy books; in Islam, for Shi’ite Muslims it’s the five protectors of the Prophet Mohammad and for Sunni Muslims it’s the five pillars of Islam.

The Chrisitan faith uses the hamsa less frequently, preferring the cross on jewellery instead. However, it’s sometimes used in Christianity to represent the hand of Mary. 

Is it ok to wear the hamsa?

Since the symbol of the hamsa began before the advent of religion and doesn’t specifically represent one faith, it’s generally not considered culturally insensitive to wear.

You can wear the hamsa as a spiritual talisman as opposed to a religious one, as long as you remain aware and respectful of the religious meanings attached to it throughout the world. 

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