The Spring/Summer runways were full of voluminous and eye-catching jewelry, but some of the favorites were talismans, one of the jewelry trends for 2014. Centuries ago, jewelry carried special religious importance for many cultures, and this year some of these symbols will return to fashion as chic ornaments and stylish complements.

Today, we tell you all about the origins and meaning of one of the most popular amulets in Mediterranean culture: the Hamsa Hand!

   

What is the Hamsa Hand? Where does the Hamsa Hand talisman come from?

The Hamsa –from the Arabic hamesh, which means five- is a popular amulet shaped as a symmetrical hand, with three extended fingers in the middle with a smaller thumb and pinky finger at both sides which are sometimes curved outwards and have the same length –unlike real fingers. It can be spelled as Hamesh, Chamsa or Khamsa; and it’s also known as the Hand of Fatima or Hand of Miriam.

The exact origin of the Hamsa Hand is uncertain, but it’s known that it comes from Middle East cultures –some even say that it was worn by the Phoenicians and Egyptians-, and it was later introduced to Jewish and Islamic jewelry and beliefs.

For the Jewish culture, the Hamsa represents the hand of Miriam, Moses’ sister, as well as the five books of the Torah. For the Islamists, it is the representation of Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed, and the Five Pillars of Islam (for the Sunnis) or the Five People of the Cloak (for the Shi’ites).

Since female characters have been traditionally related to the Hamsa Hand, it’s also believed to be a symbol of femininity, representing the protection and safety of women. Later on, it became a symbol of the Virgin Mary for Christianity.  

 

 

What is the meaning of the Hamsa Hand? What does the Hamsa Hand do?

Amulets are items used for good fortune and protection. The Hamsa hand is believed to bring prosperity, happiness and health for the person who wears it, and it’s commonly used as a bracelet, necklace or even in key chains.

The Hamsa can contain other symbols which are associated with a particular kind of protection or gift. An eye in the middle of the hand is especially common, and it’s believed to be a way of protecting the carrier against the evil eye, a powerful envious glance which can cause bad luck and misfortune to the person. It can also display the Hebrew word mazel, which means luck; or a fish, an animal believed to be immune to the evil eye.

For some Jews, the five fingers also act as a reminder to the wearer for using their five senses to praise God.

 

Check out more fashion trends of the year:

 

Sources:
About.com. What is a Hamsa? http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/whatisahamsa.htm
Ha’ari handcrafted jewelry. Hamsa Hand. http://www.kabbalah72.net/hamsa_hand_s/34.htm
Hamsa or Hand of Fatima. Hamsa History. http://www.hamsameaning.com/hamsa_history.html
Jewish gift place. Hamsa Hand Symbology: what is the Hamsa Hand? http://www.jewishgiftplace.com/Hamsa-Hand-Symbology.html