Talismans, amulets, and lucky charms — often in the form of animal sculpture or jewelry — have been used by cultures throughout the world since ancient times, and are thought to be the earliest objects designed by humankind. The fact that these objects were often made with precious metals and stones, and during a time when most people spent most of their time struggling to survive, is a sign that they held an importance beyond mere decoration — these items were likely held to be sacred and used in rituals to invoke magical powers and protect people from harm.
Maybe it’s the fact that the world is currently a pretty scary place, but talismanic charms have made a comeback at all levels of fashion. Insta-girls are currently obsessed with wearing medallion necklaces of saints (possibly inspired by the Yeezy collaboration with Jacob the jeweler) or their zodiac signs. On the runway, Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri has made celestial themes a hallmark of her collections, while Alessandro Michele at Gucci routinely summons a whole ark’s worth of power animals and flora that simultaneously invoke the house's history, raw nature, and its stately renderings in fine art.
Then, of course, there’s Miuccia Prada’s Talisman collection, a unisex jewelry line featuring animals from the fearsome (bears, lions) to the whimsical (birds, monkeys), raw crystals, and mismatched shells. Can these objects really ward off evil-doers and summon good fortune? The jury’s still out — but in these uncertain times, we’ll take a little everyday magic wherever we can get it.
Read on for the meaning being 10 of our favorite lucky charms.