10 symbolic jewels to face the world with

Protect yourself – and others – with these talismanic pieces

Jewellery by Annoushka Mythology, including the 18ct gold, diamond, sapphire and pearl Hand Of Fatima Pendant, £2,200, and Cherub Charm, £1,500
Jewellery by Annoushka Mythology, including the 18ct gold, diamond, sapphire and pearl Hand Of Fatima Pendant, £2,200, and Cherub Charm, £1,500

“There’s a sense of protection and magic woven into all my designs,” says jeweller Annoushka Ducas. “In dark, uncertain times we intuitively seek the light to provide hope and security.” Jewellers have long had an obsession with talismans – objects imbued with mysticism, exuding elemental forces. Ducas pinpoints ancient symbols such as the evil eye and the hand of Fatima, both of which feature in her designs, but also a gold pea pod charm holding five freshwater pearl “peas” – an emblem of victory, eternity and hope. 

Annoushka Mythology pearl, diamond and 18ct gold Peapod Seed charm, £2,900
Annoushka Mythology pearl, diamond and 18ct gold Peapod Seed charm, £2,900
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Ileana Makri 18ct gold, diamond and emerald Tiny Baguette Eye Pendant, €1,055
Ileana Makri 18ct gold, diamond and emerald Tiny Baguette Eye Pendant, €1,055

The protective evil eye charm has become a much-used motif. While Greek designer Ileana Makri was one of the first to rethink this traditional talisman, translating it into a colourful, gem-encrusted range of earrings, rings, pendants and bracelets, in California Lauren Harwell Godfrey has given it a geometric spin inspired by her African heritage. Harwell Godfrey’s latest design is envisioned as a healing talisman to support the fight for black justice. The pendant features a black onyx heart, and all profits will go to civil rights organisation NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).  

Harwell Godfrey gold and diamond Foundation Necklace, $3,300, with Talisman Open Bale Charm, $550, and Evil Eye Open Bale Enamel Charms, $700 each
Harwell Godfrey gold and diamond Foundation Necklace, $3,300, with Talisman Open Bale Charm, $550, and Evil Eye Open Bale Enamel Charms, $700 each
Colette 18ct gold Lucky Charm Necklace with vintage and hand-painted charms, $9,200
Colette 18ct gold Lucky Charm Necklace with vintage and hand-painted charms, $9,200
Alighieri 24ct gold-plated bronze and silver Hand of Protection Necklace, £280
Alighieri 24ct gold-plated bronze and silver Hand of Protection Necklace, £280

Another brand giving back is Alighieri, founded by London-born, Zambia-raised Rosh Mahtani. Ten per cent of its online sales will go to Refuge, a charity helping women and children who are experiencing domestic violence. Its “pieces for strength and courage” are modern-day amulets inspired by different traditions and cultures, wrought in gold-plated hammered bronze – from the Hand of Protection necklace to the Shield of Poetry earrings. 

Retrouvai gold and black onyx Vitality pendant, $8,375
Retrouvai gold and black onyx Vitality pendant, $8,375
Almasika gold Le Cauri Endiamanté necklace, $2,980
Almasika gold Le Cauri Endiamanté necklace, $2,980
Amrapali turquoise, ruby and diamond Navratna Necklace, £6,040
Amrapali turquoise, ruby and diamond Navratna Necklace, £6,040

Further symbolism comes in the form of the cowrie shell, an object that for Almasika’s French-Beninese founder Catherine Sarr signifies good fortune; the planetary-connected nine-gem Navratna amulet, which makes its way into the collections of Jaipur jeweller Amrapali; and the snake, a mythological emblem once used to guard temples and other sacred spaces. 

Foundrae 18ct gold, diamond and enamel Refined Clip Protection pair Necklace, $5,785
Foundrae 18ct gold, diamond and enamel Refined Clip Protection pair Necklace, $5,785
Boucheron gold and diamond two-finger Serpent Bohème ring, £11,000
Boucheron gold and diamond two-finger Serpent Bohème ring, £11,000
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The latter is used by Los Angeles brand Retrouvai on its smartly contemporary talismans, as well as by Boucheron, whose elegant Serpent Bohème collection was inspired by a necklace that founder Frédéric Boucheron gave to his wife to protect her when travelling. On a dazzling two-finger knuckleduster of a ring, the motif’s protective powers are twofold. But more often than not, the talisman appears as a pendant. Layering several strands adds aesthetic clout to a plain T-shirt; here’s hoping it also multiplies the auspicious auras.

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