Turkic Hamsa

August 2013
Sterling silver, glass rhinestone

The stone at the center of this piece is glass rather than sapphire, but it's far more precious. It comes from a set of cuff links passed on to me by my zayde, my maternal grandfather. He passed away when I was in elementary school, and his cuff links were one of my favorite mementos of him. When the links finally fell apart, I decided to repurpose their deep blue rhinestones.

I had been wanting to make a Turkic-style hamsa for a while, but didn't want to use the classic evil eye that is usually found at the center of those designs. My zayde's rhinestones were the perfect color match to the cobalt blue of the traditional nazar, and shaped like an eye to boot.

I wanted the hamsa to look like an amulet that was much older than it is, so I did very little polishing of the piece. I did take care to make sure I'd filed and sanded the edges of the piece well, thanks to a lesson beaten into me by my high school jewelry teacher, but I left the firescale on from the soldering process and left work marks on the surface rather than sanding them out. I wanted it to seem like the metal had been beaten and worn through the years since the rhinestone set in it had traveled from my zayde's wrists to my neck. May his memory be for a blessing!