My friend has a bracelet she wears constantly. It is a charm bracelet of blue eyes inside intricate golden hands. She talks about how she acquired it and what it means to her:
“I got it with my mommy – she [her mother] actually isn’t sure how she feels about it… Evil eyes are blue eyes & she gets upset cause she has blue-green eyes.
I think it’s supposed to be intentions more than blue eyes. I think it’s blue because it originated in India or something & it originated during the time whites were coming in.
I had this little girl at the Getty [Museum] giving me the extra-evil eye & I decided I needed protection.
And I dont know how much I really believe – but I kinda do or I wouldnt be wearing the bracelet.
I lost it for a bit and I told my mom and she freaked out cause she thought it would be really bad luck. She also freaked out cause one of the ojos [eyes] fell out.”
The Evil Eye is a belief held by various groups, some since antiquity. Charms such as this bracelet are a common attempt to ward off the evils of an envious eye. The circular blue beads or eyes are a common representation of the Evil Eye.
A 1902 entry in Folklore Journal by Charlotte S. Burns on a similar charm reads as follows :
” ‘They are used by natives as charms to nullify the effects of the Evil Eye; a beautiful child, a valuable horse, or even a tree, is often adorned by one of these beads for this purpose. They are always blue.’ (Cf. Folklore, vol. xii., p. 268.) A Syrian woman, a native of Jerusalem, but living at Haifa, frequently (1899-19oo00) told Miss Bunbury
that people with blue eyes, or with teeth wide apart, have the Evil Eye. This is also noticed by Mr. Frederick Sessions (Folklore, vol. ix., p. io). The use of blue beads as a charm against it is then evidently a piece of sympathetic magic, while the ascription of the power (in an Eastern country) to blue- eyed people looks like a racial superstition.”
Much literature is written about the existence of the Evil Eye in various cultures, the source of the evil and how to combat it. Benjamin L. Gordon explains the Evil Eye as : “an eye believed to have the power of inflicting various diseases and evils on persons by a mere glance, without the fascinator’s coming in contact with them or without his administering anything to them. This belief has been persistent throughout the ages from remote antiquity. It has been recognized alike by sacred writers, classical authors, fathers of the Church, rabbis of the Talmud, philosophers and ancient and medieval physicians.” He writes about the history of the Evil Eye superstition, fear of disease and examples from various cultures in his “OCULUS FASCINUS (FASCINATION, EVIL EYE)” Arch Ophthal. 1937;17(2):290-319.