White Gold Large Italian Horn Charm Pendant
14K white gold Large Italian Horn Charm
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Enhance your jewelry collection with the classic look of this 14K white gold Large Italian Horn Charm. A timeless piece of unsurpassed quality, this exquisite charm will be a welcome addition to any jewelry collection at a price you can afford.
Jewelry Technical Details:
Metal Type: White Gold
Dimensions: 3/8" x 1 1/4"
Total Metal Weight: 1.1 Grams
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The cornuto, corno, or cornicello is an Italian amulet of ancient origin. Corno means "horn" and cornicello means "little horn" -- these names refer to a long, gently twisted horn-shaped amulet worn in Italy to protect against the evil eye. Cornicelli are usually carved out of red coral or made of gold or silver. The type of horn they are intended to copy is not a curled-over sheep horn or goat horn but rather like the twisted horn of an African eland or something similar. Over the years they have become rather stylized and now look less like a natural animal horn than they once did. A regionally popular amulet, they are primarily found in Italy and in America among descendents of Italian immigrants. You can buy cornicelli at any Italian jewelry store in New York to this day.
These little horns (like the horns of all horned animals) are presumed to have once been sacred to the Old European moon goddess, before the rise of Christianity. Some modern evangelical Catholics disparage the continued use of cornicelli among Italian Catholics and refer to them as "Satan's horns" or "Lucifer's horns" but this is absolutely nonsense, as they were always seen as the horns of the moon goddess -- and hence, in Catholic symbolism, would be related to the Virgin Mary, who is shown standing on a lunar crescent.
Related to the corno is the mano cornuta or "horned hand." This is an Italian hand-gesture (or an amulet imitative of the gesture) that can be used to indicate that a man has been cuckholded ("wears the horns") and also to ward off the evil eye. Mano means "hand" and corno means "horn."
The evil eye is believed to harm nursing mothers and their babies, bearing fruit trees, milking animals, and the sperm of men -- the forces of generation. The Neapolitan custom of making cornuto charms from silver (formerly sacred to the moon goddess Luna) and blood coral (formerly sacred to the sea goddess Venus) hints at the cultural survival of a link between the horned animal head and ancient worship of a neolithic-era mother- or fertility-goddess whose consort was a male deity sometimes called the Horned God. Whether or not this is the case, the cornuto is still a popular amulet worn by Italian men to protect their genitalia from the evil eye.
The apotropaic use of coral is evident in another Italian charm against the evil eye -- the coral twig. This is nothing more than a polished branch of pink or red coral, worn as a pendant or pin. Unlike the corno, which has a phallic import, the coral twig, which may resemble the branched horns of a deer, is considered suitable for girls or young women to wear. Also, not being hand-carved, it is a cheaper charm. It can be found in the form of a brooch as well as the traditional pendant.
The amulets shown at the top of the page are, from left to right, a red coral corno purchased in Florence, Italy in 1970, a coral twig amulet, and a modern pewter reproduction of a 19th century silver corno amulet. My mother, knowing how much i liked cornicelli, bought the coral one because i was pregnant. She intend to give it to my child if he was a boy -- but she did not show it to me at the time because my child turned out to be a girl, and the corno is only worn by boys and men. In 1995, when i started the Lucky W Amulet Archive, she brought it out of wherever it is that mothers keep such things and donated it to "the collection."
Less traditional than the coral corno is the giant red plastic one surmounted by a gold-toned crown shown at right. I first saw these in the 1970s in New York and California, both regions with a large Italian-American population. Too big to be carried as a key ring, this 6" long crowned corno is designed to be hung from the rear-view mirror of a car. This usage derives from the ancient custom of protecting draft horses and mules from the envious eye of strangers, concern for their well-being being transferred to the automobile. This plastic charm is stamped "Italy," faintly visible below the crown. Non-Italians who see them in cars sometimes think these cornos are giant chili peppers, but such is obviously not the case.
HISTORY OF THE EVIL EYE BELIEF
Many books have been written about the evil eye. The classic 19th century text is "The Evil Eye: The Origins and Practices of Superstition" by Frederick Thomas Elworthy. A short popular survey is "Terrors of the Evil Eye Exposed" (reprinted as "Protection from Evil") by Henri Gamache. The most thought-provoking academic essay i have found on the psychology and the distribution of this belief in world cultures is "Wet and Dry: The Evil Eye" by Professor Alan Dundes, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. The article can be found in two of his books, "Interpreting Folklore" and "The Evil Eye: A Casebook," the latter a collection of scholarly writings assembled as a text for his anthropology-folklore students.
Sterling Silver Polished Italian Horn Charm Amulet
Dundes theorizes that the evil eye, which has a Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean, and Indo-European distribution pattern and was unknown in the Americas, Pacific Islands, Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa or Australia until the introduction of European culture, is based upon underlying beliefs about water equating to life and dryness equating to death. He posits that the true "evil" done by the evil eye is that it causes living beings to "dry up" -- notably babies, milking animals, young fruit trees, and nursing mothers. The harm caused by overlooking consists of sudden vomiting or diarrhoea in children, drying up of milk in nursing mothers or livestock, withering of fruit on orchard trees, and loss of potency in men. In short, the envious eye "dries up liquids," according to Professor Alan Dundes -- a fact that he contends demonstrates its Middle Eastern desert origins.
As Dundes points out in support of this theory, evil eye belief is geographically spread out in a radiating ring from ancient Sumer, where it apparently got its start. It is mentioned the Torah (the Old Testament of the Bible) and its existence is acknowledged by modern Arabs, Jews, and Christians. The belief extends eastward to India, westward to Spain and Portugal, northward to Scandinavia and Britain, and southward into North Africa. Although many people of European descent think it is universal, in fact China has no evil eye belief -- nor does Korea, Burma, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Sumatra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Australia (aborigine), New Zealand (aborigine), North America (native), South America (native), or any of Africa south of the Sahara. It is generally referred to by scholars as a Semitic and Indo-European belief. The Westernmost pre-Columbian outpost of evil eye belief was along the Atlantic coast -- Ireland, England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, and France; the easternmost pre-Columbian outpost of evil eye belief was India.
The epicenter of currently active evil eye belief is in nations along the Mediterranean and Aegean shores, plus India and the South American countries most influenced by Spanish conquest. It is now a fairly widespread belief among indigenous people in Latin America. Colonialists also spread it to North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Although it was not a part of the belief-system of sub-Saharan Africans, slaves brought to the New World picked up the evil eye belief from contact with Europeans. In mid-20th century America, "Terrors of the Evil Eye Exposed" by the popular occultist Henri Gamache (author of the better-known "Master Book of Candle-Burning"), was extensively marketed to African-Americans. As with the similarly Jewish-inspired booklet "Secrets of the Psalms" by Godfrey Selig, the Middle-Eastern and Indian folklore Gamache "exposed" was syncretized into African-American hoodoo practices.
Almost everywhere that the evil eye belief exists, its effects are said to occur as an inadvertent side-effect of envy or praise. A typical account of such a mishap might be: "I dressed the baby in new clothes and took him to town and a woman who has no children saw him and said, 'Oh, what a pretty child!' and as soon as we got home he began to vomit!" The "evil" in these accounts of the evil eye indicate that it is thought to be situational in nature and that it is caused by a failure to restrain envy within proper social bounds.
Mentions of the evil eye (ayin ha'ra) in the Bible clearly refer to the role that envy and covetousness play in its development. We can read in Proverbs 23:6 "Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meat" and likewise in Provers 28:22, "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him."
Then over in Mark 7:21-22, we see that the early Jewish Christians believed in ayin ha'ra, for it is written there that when Jesus Christ lectured about defilement, he told his followers that ayin ha'ra comes forth from a man and defiles him just the same as if he had committed a physical crime: "From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness."
There is a great deal of attention paid to protecting babies from ayin ha'ra among Jews, and red threads are commonly employed for this purpose. Furthermore, in keeping with Professor Dundes' theory that the evil eye is related to dryness or a loss of fluids, it is interesting to note that Jewish folk belief holds that fishes are immune to ayin ha'ra "because they are covered with water," and that the descendents of a certain man named Yosef Tzaddik (literally Joseph the Righteous, but also a pun with Tzaddi or Fish-Hook) are immune to the effects of the evil eye because he was not jealous -- and coincidentally, his name relates to fishes.
Jewish belief in the evil eye has resulted in certain community safeguards to prevent it occurring. For instance, rather than taking a census and thus opening some people to jealousy because they have large families, it was long the custom for each person to simply pay a sheckel (a small coin) to the census taker and let the coins be counted rather than peoples' names written down, to avoid damage from ayin ha'ra. The best month for taking such a coin-census was said to be the month of Adar, which is associated with fishes and the Zodiacal sign of Pisces (The Fishes) -- because "fishes are immune to ayin ha'ra."
Preventing jealousy over the size of a family is also at the root of another Jewish custom, that of not allowing a father and son to be called successively to the reading of the Torah in Synagogue. A reason commonly used to explain this custom is that "an orphan in the congregation who has lost his father, or a father who has lost his son, may be reminded of his loss and feel jealousy and give ayin ha'ra." One exception to this custom is made during the month of Adar (Pisces or the Fishes) when, during the Feast of Purim, the Scroll of Esther (Megillat Esther in Hebrew) is read in its lengthy entirety (the whole megillah!) -- and not once, but twice, which is such a superfluity of Torah reading that everyone gets a turn and no jealousy will be engendered, and even if someone did get jealous, the event would occur in the month of Adar and "fishes are immune to ayin ha'ra."
Some Jews abjure the notion of ayin ha'ra as "superstition" yet explain it in theological terms, saying, "When someone is jealous, he makes a complaint that is heard by God, and if the person who is being complained against is proud or ungenerous, then God judges him and lowers him."
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HEIGHT/HIGH/LONG: Measured from top to bottom
|Metal Type||14K White Gold|
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