Hamsa Jewish Jewelry

The Hamsa is an ancient Middle Eastern and North African amulet popular among many Jews, Muslims, and Christians. This hand-shaped symbol is said to ward off the evil eye and offer protection for its bearer. The word “hamsa” means “five” in Arabic. Hamsas are a very popular good luck charm and are often seen adorning the walls of homes and businesses in much of the world. Of course, the hamsa is also a very popular and attractive jewelry motif.  We have many styles of hamsa hand jewelry to choose from, from intricate filigree, to chunky and bold modern designs.

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Hamsa Jewelry

If you’ve ever been to the Middle East or North Africa, chances are you’ve seen a good deal of hand-shaped ornaments decorating the walls of businesses, homes, and even cars and taxi cabs. People descending from numerous cultures in this region have used the five-fingered open hand as a talisman of good luck and protection from the “evil eye” for thousands of years. The hamsa is similar in function to the eye-shaped amulet, often called the nazar, also popular in Turkey and many other Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and even European countries. In fact, it is popular for hand-shaped hamsa amulets often have eyes inside them.

The precise origin of the hamsa, or five-fingered amulet, is not certain, but it has been traced back to ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia and North Africa, where it was used to offer magical protection and fertility to women. Over time, it’s use was adopted by Christians, Muslims and Jews. This protective amulet has many names. Christians may refer to it as the hand of Mary, in reference to the mother of Jesus, and Muslims may refer to it as the hand of Fatimah, the youngest daughter of Mohammad.

In Jewish culture, it is most commonly called a hamsa, its name taken from the Arabic word meaning “five.” The hamsa is popular in Israel and among Jews of Sephardic descent, whose ancestral cultures in the Middle East were shaped by the Arabic use of the hamsa. The hamsa’s primary purpose is offer protection from the evil eye, an envious gaze that is thought to cause misfortune, sickness, or bad luck.

It is not uncommon to see hamsas worn by travelers, placed on baby cribs, carried on keychains, and kept in cars. Artistic renderings of hamsas are popular as dual purpose wall decorations for the home or workplace. Hamsas made from precious metals and stones are often used in jewelry.

Both inside and outside Israel, Hamsa motif jewelry has become increasingly popular, even trendy, not only for the protective qualities of the hamsa, but also for its mystical appearance and attractive design options. Hamsa hands come is a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as pendants, bracelets and even earrings. Traditional and feminine designs are often filigreed. Other designs may be more stylistic, often barely recognizable as a hand at all. Often hamsa designs are combined with other popular Jewish symbols, including chais and Stars of David.