Since I am writing for My Sacred Space blog to go deeper about humanity’s heritage around rituals, symbols, and amulets I enjoy witnessing common beliefs and stories around the world irrelevant of the distances.
Each time these commonalities are reminding me how connected we are, and we always have been.
Similarly, today I want to talk to you about evil eye beads, an amulet that has been used widely all around the world, reflecting us the deepest and long-lasting beliefs.
What are evil eye beads?
Evil eye beads are these beads in blue color which have an eye shape in middle. Could you remember them? Sure, you have seen or heard them at least once.
What does it serve?
They are amulets that are protecting the animal, the person (especially babies), the car, or the house-whoever wears it- from the negative energy of a person. The source of this negative energy is the feeling of envy and jealousy. This negative energy is the evil eye.
We human beings all feel. It is out of our control. For instance sometimes one can feel envy to another person and with intention or not can affect the other person with this negative energy.
Blue color evil eye beads protect from this negative energy. They absorb all this energy, sometimes even get has broken because of the density of this energy.
When an evil eye amulet is broken, it is believed that the negative energy has been removed. So instead of feeling bad about it, it is accepted as very natural and just being changed with a new one.
According to the art history professor Neşe Yıldıran, the history of the evil eye beads is starting from 3300 BC, as she pointed out that evil eye beads found in excavations in Tell Brak, one of the oldest cities in Mesopotamia and within the borders of present-day Syria.
These found beads do not look like the ones used in the Mediterranean region. The traditional Mediterranean evil eye beads came up around 1500 BC.
The evil eye tradition came to the land where Turkey is by some glass artists coming from Egypt. They were the ones who were showing the detailed process of creating it.
Through my research on the internet, I came up with a book by Frederick Thomas Elworthy called The Evil Eye: The Classic Account of an Ancient Superstition showing different cultures around the world having the belief of the amulet of evil eye beads.
How the bead masters prepare the evil eye beads?
Firstly, evil eye beads are prepared in special furnaces that are burned by the master early hours of the morning by using redwood then in 2 hours, the furnace becomes 800-1250 °C.
Secondly, these furnaces have parts inside called ‘eye’, where the used glass melt. The temperature to melt the used glass is 800 °C. The ideal temperature to prepare the bead is 1250 °C.
Sustainable production process: reusing used glasses
Once the furnace reaches 800 °C, the master throws the used glasses to the ‘eye parts’ of this furnace to be melted.
Once the glass begins to melt it converts to glass paste and then the bead master adds the paint granules to give the preferred color to the glass.
With an iron stick, the master gets a part of this paste and gives the shape to a bead.
This process needs both attention and speed as the glass waits for longer outside, it becomes harder to give shape to it.
Once the shape has been given to the beads, then they are thrown to another part called ‘eye’ to cool. Depending on the size of the bead, this process takes between 3 to 12 hours, otherwise, the beads crack.
Once cooled, the master removes them and wash them with water.
What gives its power of amulet to these beads?
Firstly, the belief of the master who is preparing it and then the intention of this master.
Secondly, the used glass needs to be melted to be reused in a special place called ‘Eye Oven’, in the old times this special part of the oven was called “İyeli/Eyelü”, meaning with protective spirit.
Thirdly, setting up of evil eye furnaces need to be realized by special ceremonies and these furnaces are used just for evil eye beads, not any other glass object.
Above all, these evil eye beads need to be made by hand, not by machines.
What is the importance of these beads for us?
I always felt a special interest in evil eye beads. In my home I always had them. Whenever I was visiting abroad, I was bringing hand made traditional evil eye beads to give as a gift to the people I met.
Then I moved to a village just near Nazarköy- the village in Turkey, where the original evil eye bead tradition is still living. It is one of the 2 villages in Turkey where the production is done with old rituals and beliefs.
There I met with the masters and their families and with some of them, I connected so much that I felt them part of the family.
I see evil eye beads production as a heritage of rituals, symbols, amulets from our ancestors and its protection is important for me. Turkey and this village have an important role in this protection.
It is an artisanal work, where the knowledge passes through generations from master to apprentice.
As evil eye beads begin to be also produced in China in factories and additionally the used glasses which serve as raw material become harder to find, these traditional furnaces begin to lose their sales, so this mastership is facing the risk of extinction. In Nazarköy right now there are just 6 furnaces that continue to burn every day, whereas 10 years ago there were 13.
Therefore we want to do our best to support this heritage to continue via Amazon sales channel.
So if you want to get protection from evil eye beads, support artisanal production which is a heritage of humanity and a sustainable production which uses used glasses, please check our evil eye amulets and evil eye jewelry.
Tell us in comments about your experiences with the evil eye? Have you ever experienced it? What do you use as an amulet to ward of the evil eye?