Amulets were originally objects worn about the neck or other parts of the body to prevent or cure diseases. Picture: Wikipedia

Channel your inner Cleopatra with our top picks of locally crafted amulets. By Marchelle Abrahams

Known for her disarming good looks, Cleopatra was painted as the ultimate femme fatale. But one of ancient Egypt’s most ruthless rulers is also recognised as a fashion icon that has transcended the ages.

From luxurious jewellery to her trademark make-up, popular culture and fashion houses are still emulating her exotic look.

According to historians, her most beloved jewellery pieces were amulets. Taken from the Latin word, amuletum, these pieces were seen as a talisman of sorts.

Amulets were originally objects worn about the neck or other parts of the body to prevent or cure diseases, says the New World Encyclopedia.

Then there was also the ancient belief that spirits were the cause of disease and certain amulets had the power to ward off these evil spirits.

Even by today’s standards, the symbolic meaning of amulets hasn’t lost its allure. Comparable to modern bracelet charms, they have always been favourites of those who believe in mysticism and spirit guides.

SULTRY BEAUTY: Elizabeth Taylor in 1963 film Cleopatra. According to historians, the Egyptian queen’s most beloved jewellery pieces were amulets.

But there’s also a cute element to it - children are given charms as gifts on special occasions and to mark big milestones in their lives.

And now it seems they are making a comeback. Style bible Vogue just released its ultimate jewellery guide for 2018 after taking notes at some of the most prestigious fashion weeks.

The New York and London fashion weeks showcased beaded pendants and chunky charms, all inspired by ancient civilisations.

Now top jewellery designers are taking it one step further by bringing a surprise element to the traditional amulet.

Luxury goods powerhouse Cartier’s Amulette de Cartier collection features unique pieces with each disc-shaped pendant using gold to trap a slice of gemstone that promises to unlock a different wish - pink opal to spread joy, onyx for strength of heart and malachite for luck every day.

Local jewellery designers are now creating specially curated pieces.

Take a look at our top picks.


Designers Gerika Langenhoven and Elizabeth van der Merwe specialise in producing handcrafted jewellery, unique in style. Using precious metals, gemstones, resin and even found objects, they create original designs that are inspired by nature and reflect a genuine passion for interpreting organic forms.

More info:


The basic chakra system of the Solar Plexus Chakra Necklace is divided into 7 predominant colours, while the power disk draws your attention to the energy point it resonated with. By consciously sending love and the relevant colour toward that energy centre, you assist its opening and encourage flow.

Price: R450


The Evil Eye

The symbol of the eye is regarded as a potent amulet for protection against evil forces in almost every culture like Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.

Eye Meaningful Bracelet: R199

Shop it:

Prestwich Collection

The Dented Shield Ring is an adjustable brass band, and lovingly handmade in South Africa.

Price: R190

Shop it:

Matter of Fakt

The Matter of Fakt collection comprises of Raw Stones and Crystal necklaces, rings and bracelets encased in brass and silver. Founded in November 2013 by Mary-Anne Grobler,  the inaugural collection garnered acclaim by South Africa’s creative-who’s-who at the 2014 Design Indaba.

More info: