Evil Eye Beads. History Belief and Tradition.

Glass nazar beads

A Traditional protective amulet that is believed to ward off the evil eye and protect the wearer from harm.

The Evil Eye beads, also known as “Nazar Boncuk” in Turkish, is a traditional protective amulet that is believed to ward off the evil eye and protect the wearer from harm. It is a popular symbol in Turkey and other cultures around the world.

The origins of the Evil Eye beads are believed to date back to ancient Mesopotamia, where they were used as protective talismans. The tradition of using the Evil Eye bead as a protective amulet was later adopted by other cultures, including the Ottoman Empire, and eventually spread throughout the world.

Today, Evil Eye beads are produced in many parts of Turkey, but some of the most well-known production centers are in the Aegean and Marmara regions. The cities of Istanbul, Izmir, and Kütahya are particularly famous for their production of high-quality Evil Eye beads.

Old Glass Masters: Embracing Traditional Artistry for Timeless Evil Eye Protection

The process of making Evil Eye beads can vary depending on the materials and techniques used. In some cases, the beads are made from glass and produced using the lampworking technique. This involves heating glass rods in a flame until they melt and can be manipulated into the desired shape. The glass is then cooled slowly to prevent it from cracking.

Last masters of Turkish evil eye beads in Izmir TURKEY

These skilled artisans of glass possess a remarkable technique in crafting the enchanting artifacts that hold universal significance. This ancient art form has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. Within the heart of these eye bead furnaces, the age-old Mediterranean glass art, dating back 3000 years, thrives with meticulous attention to every detail.

The lineage of the few remaining masters who practice the ancient tradition of glass evil eye bead can be traced back to Arabian artisans who settled in Izmir and its surrounding towns during the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century. The art of glass, which had lost its luster in Anatolia, experienced a revival through the incorporation of the protective eye symbol. The masters, once practicing their craft in the districts of Araphan and Kemeralti in Izmir, were eventually forced to leave due to concerns over smoke emissions from their furnaces and the risk of fire in the neighborhood. With unwavering focus, these masters of the evil eye bead, known as “nazar boncugu” in Turkish, delicately manipulate molten glass with swift yet unhurried precision, as if engaged in a mysterious game hidden from our understanding.

In the present day, the authentic evil eye beads are exclusively produced in the villages of Görece and Kurudere, located near Izmir, by a small group of craftsmen who have dedicated their lives to preserving this art form.

In other cases, the beads may be made from ceramics or other materials. Ceramic Evil Eye beads are typically made by molding clay into the desired shape and then firing it in a kiln. Once the bead is fired, it is glazed and fired again to give it a shiny, protective finish.

Interview with Old Evil Eye Bead Masters

Osman – “When I was at the age of primary school, my brothers were practicing this art. After school, I used to help them. Feeding the fire, bringing them whatever they need… I worked as an apprentice for 2 or 3 years. Then I started to make my own beads. And I still continue…60 years ago there were 7 or 8 furnaces. Now there are only three. Young generations do not want to learn it…I do not know what Nobody is learning this art. I’ll have to give up very soon. I’m getting older. Both of my eyes had a surgical operation. I have to give up. How long can I continue? Six months, a year, and then it will be over for me..”

Rasim – “The technique we use for bead making is primitive. It’s totally handmade. We use a thick and thin iron rod. We roll the base of the bead on the thick rod. This is the base. We add the white and the blue of the eyes with the thin rod. Just these two rods are our tools. There is this yellow eye on our beads. We make the oxide of this yellow from a mixture of zinc, metal, and lead. I wonder if any chemist can make the same color. It’s one of our secrets.”

Murat – “It is also believed that the people with colored eyes have the power of a so-called evil look. Some time ago a young lady with blue eyes came and wanted to buy a certain bead hanging over there. Even before I could touch the bead, it was broken into pieces. It even cut my hand. I couldn’t forget it. Later the lady made a joke, saying “I guess I’d better leave before I cause more damage to you and your beads.. “

Hagop – “All I do is based on the eye beads. All my jewelry has eye beads. I use different sizes of beads. I believe that eye beads are protective items and that’s why I began to use them in my jewels. When the bead cracks, they say that “It cracked because it took over the evil that would harm you.” It’s what we believe..”

Why the eye beads are so popular in Turkey?

The Evil Eye bead, or “Nazar Boncuk” in Turkish, is a very popular symbol in Turkey and is believed to protect the wearer from the negative effects of the evil eye. There are several reasons why the Evil Eye bead is so popular in Turkey:

  1. Cultural Significance: The Evil Eye bead has been a part of Turkish culture for centuries and is deeply ingrained in the country’s traditions and beliefs. It is believed to provide protection and ward off negative energy, and many Turkish people wear the Evil Eye bead as a talisman to bring good luck and ward off the evil eye.
  2. Traditional Craftsmanship: Turkey has a long tradition of craftsmanship, and the art of making Evil Eye beads is a highly skilled craft that has been passed down through generations. The beads are often made by hand using traditional techniques, which adds to their value and authenticity.
  3. Souvenir and Gift Items: The Evil Eye bead is a popular souvenir item for tourists visiting Turkey, and many visitors purchase them as a way to remember their trip or to give as gifts to friends and family. The beads are also often given as gifts for special occasions like weddings, births, and housewarmings.
  4. Decorative Items: The Evil Eye bead is also a popular decorative item, and can be found in many homes, shops, and businesses throughout Turkey. It is often hung on walls, doors, or windows as a way to ward off negative energy and bring good luck.

Why the evil eye is trending in Greece?

The Evil Eye, or “Matiasma” in Greek, has been a part of Greek culture for centuries and is believed to protect the wearer from harm and ward off negative energy. In recent years, the Evil Eye has become a popular trend in Greece, as well as in other parts of the world. There are several reasons why the Evil Eye may be trending in Greece:

  1. Cultural Heritage: The Evil Eye has been a part of Greek culture for centuries, and many Greeks continue to believe in its protective powers. The trend may be a way for younger generations to connect with their cultural heritage and traditions.
  2. Fashion and Style: The Evil Eye has also become a popular fashion trend, with many Greek designers incorporating the symbol into their clothing and accessories. The trend has also spread to other parts of the world, as people embrace the symbol’s unique and eye-catching design.
  3. Social Media: The popularity of the Evil Eye on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok has helped to spread the trend even further. Many influencers and celebrities have been seen wearing Evil Eye jewelry or incorporating the symbol into their posts, which has helped to make it even more popular.
  4. Tourism: Greece is a popular tourist destination, and many visitors are drawn to the country’s rich cultural history and traditions. The Evil Eye is a popular souvenir item, and many tourists may be purchasing it as a way to remember their trip or to bring home a piece of Greek culture.
Large home protection amulet in Turkey
Large home protection amulet made of glass for home or office in Turkey

A documenrary video about evil eye bead making in Izmir Turkey

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