It could be the ring bought for you from a flea market at a remote seaside town where you holidayed together for the first time; a necklace you never take off for superstitious reasons that are too convoluted to explain or a sun-bleached raggle-taggle of embroidery cotton made by your best friend when she was trying to revive friendship bracelets among your group. Whatever it is, a talisman is more than its metal.
“The belief that certain objects can carry the spirit of their previous owners seems to be ingrained into our psyches. There's the hunter that carries the arrowhead used by his renowned ancestor, the bride that borrows her mother s necklace, all the mementoes we keep in our homes, or guard as sacred patrimony in museums,” explains Judith Ortiz in her musings on talismans in the South Atlantic Review entitled The Aging María: On the Value of Talismans and Amulets. “These evocative objects strung together through time connect us to one another like beads in a necklace. And when we don't have the amulet, the thing that already contains the magic, we create the talisman, we inject our consciousness into the representative object; magic is in what we wish it to stand for.”
The uncertainty of recent years has seen a rise in jewellery specifically designed to be talismanic, incorporating, as it does, symbols such as the evil eye for protection or materials such as onyx to ward off negative energies.
“I have always designed my jewellery to have an emotional connection with the wearer. Each of our lucky bracelets carry a specific wish with them and I am a superstitious Italian at the best of times,” says Florentine jeweller Carolina Bucci whose Lucky Bracelets – luxury takes on the traditional friendship bracelet – are tied with a double knot on which the wearer makes a wish. “When life is turned upside down, it seems natural to imbue an object or a piece of jewellery with our hopes and wishes for the future; it helps us make some sense of all the chaos.”
It was that desire to create jewellery that was personal to the hopes and desires of the wearer that led friends and regulars on the London social scene, Sheherazade Goldsmith and Laura Bailey, to set up Loquet London. The idea was based on the Victorian locket with a photograph inside, but instead of a picture these clear crystal versions can be filled with charms and mementoes either ones from Loquet itself or anything that might spark a memory.
“A talisman is so important as it is a selection of cherished memories to which one can turn at any moment,” explains co-founder Goldsmith. “My 'loquet' acts as my worry beads: I’m never without it as it makes me feel close to the people I love and those memories that make me smile. In essence it’s a talisman of strength and laughter. The comforting softness of the slightly bevelled sapphire crystal encased in warm gold that enfolds the things that matter is something I often play with when I’m feeling unsettled or struggling for a solution. I wear mine on a long necklace, for ease of playing with, with several other pendants, all of which have a tale to tell.”
The great thing about talisman gems is you don’t have to wait for someone to buy them for you, you can most definitely buy them for yourself. And here’s some places to start.
As well as making exquisite dresses and knowing his way around a flower bed, Christian Dior was incredibly superstitious; a legacy Maria Grazia Chiuri has continued with her constant astrological references and celestial motifs.
This jewellery collection, designed by the brand’s very own living legend Victoire de Castellane, features medallions that play on Mr. Dior’s superstitious fascination with the wind rose symbol that can be found in his childhood home in Granville as well as an eight-pointed star, which he found on the street in Paris and saw as a sign to open his own couture house.
A malachite version of the eight-pointed star medallion - this particular stone symbolises protection, harmony, luck and success and is also said to stabilise the psyche and improve mental strength.
Talismans don’t always have to come in necklace-shaped forms as these rings and bracelets from Chaumet illustrate. Inspired by African decorative arts, they are made from stones and ebony wood that are thought to protect the wearer.
Rubellite, a good-luck charm, is said to increase overall luck and make the wearer feel more positive. Given that this ebony ring houses a 4.83ct rubellite at its centre, that’s a heck of a lot of luck coming your way.
The ultimate in personalisation, you can choose every component of this necklace from the shape of the locket to what you put in it. Choose from diamond-studded lotus flowers for mindfulness or elephants for happiness; whatever combination you decide will be entirely unique.
Take the time to create your own bespoke piece of jewellery from the chain up. However, if you’re stuck you can play Loquet’s online charmology game to point you in the right direction.
Foundrae is the brainchild of Beth Bugdaycay, a former fashion CEO who ditched her previous life to create modern heirlooms. Mixing symbols from different countries and eras to make a new jewellery language, the wearer is encouraged to build a collection that communicates to the world around where she has been and where she is going. If you know how to read the signs, that is.
This medium belcher that tells a story of a life lived fully. It has on it wings for limitless potential, a blossom for resilience and a spark. Because you only need a small one to ignite a fire.
Everything Carolina does is imbued with an understanding of how jewellery and memory are connected. From her Forte Beads kits, which are based on the plastic bracelets you made as a child, to the double stringed, beaded Recharmed necklaces with their echoes of the Catholic rosary, every piece is meant to be kept and passed on.
Unleash your inner child and start to experiment with the Forte Beads Moonbow necklace and bracelet multi kit. It’s a precious hard-stone bead candy store and you’ve got unlimited options.