Jewelry|September 15, 2011 10:52 AM

What is Hamsa? A Popular Luck Charm Around the Globe

So what is a Hamsa?

You have probably seen the Hamsa hand, maybe even saw it and thought it was a pretty symbol without really knowing what exactly it meant.

Depending on the culture or the region you’re from, you might have seen

Hamsa Pendant by Idit Jewelry

Hamsa Pendant by Idit Jewelry

Hamsa hands decorating family homes, public spaces and offices. Some people even hang them in their cars for protection as well as decoration. There are key chains and charms with a Hamsa hand for cell phones, not to mention jewelry and other accessories such as the ever popular Hamsa bracelet. The reason for that is simple – people love luck charms. And who can say ‘no’ to add more luck to their lives?

Luck charms are used mostly by Middle Eastern and Arabic communities but also some other cultures around the world to ward off the evil and enhance positive energies. Due to the cross-cultural use and influence Hamsas come in various shapes and styles. You can find Hamsa charms in oriental designs, Jewish Hamsa charms and Hamsa charms in modern designs made of fused glass, laser cut metals and more.

The term ‘evil eye’ refers to the common belief grounded in folklore that ill will and envious stares may bring about bad luck and misfortune. Used as a symbol to ward off the evil eye, Hamsa hand has been universally embraced. It has been adapted by Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and now by the western culture. So what is the meaning behind this popular luck charm?

Hamsa hand and other Jewish symbols used for protection

Hamsa is known in the Jewish tradition as the protective hand of God. In the Kabbalah school of thought, the five fingers of the Hamsa hang represent the five books of the Torah. Hamsas are a very common feature in Kabbalah jewelry.

In Judaism, a hanging Hamsa or an evil eye bracelet will often incorporate more than one motif that is believed to fight off the evil eye. The following are just some of the most popular symbols incorporated in Hamsa hand charms and bracelets:

  • Image of an eyeAlso associated with Islam, the eye is a traditional motif used against the evil eye and is very popular in fashion jewelryand Jewish Jewelry today.
  • Fish – Since fish live under water they are considered protected from the envious stare above.
  • Star of David – This significant Jewish symbol has been used for centuries as a protective amulet.  The Hebrew name Magen David means a shield or protector and is associated with the protective power of King David’s shield.
  • Aleph-Dalet-Lamed – Often Jewish evil eye jewelry accessories by Israeli jewelry designers, come inscribed with Hebrew letters that have a deep Kabbalist meaning. The combination ‘Aleph-Lamed-Dalet‘ is used in Kabbalah to ward off the evil eye.


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