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Nazar beads, or evil-eye beads, are traditional Anatolian beads used to ward off evil, similar to evil-eye traditions all over the world. The word “nazar” is derived from the Arabic word for “sight,” and is sometimes also referred to in Turkey as a “Blue bead” or “mavi boncuk.”
Nazar beads do actually carry some meaning in Turkey. “Nazar” is considered bad luck, or “evil,” and the bead helps ward off this evil according to many superstitions. If a person is complimented a lot, or is particularly attractive, or has a run of good luck, then it’s believed that a nazar bead can help ward off the inevitable bad luck to follow.
But obviously in the modern era, they serve the equally important purpose of looking super cool and being some of the best souvenirs you’ll pick up on your trip to Turkey! Here’s the top ten uses for the nazar bead design in Turkey!
For obvious reasons, one of the main gifts given at baby showers and to newborn babies are items with nazar beads. Newborns are especially cute and receive an inordinate number of compliments, making them prime targets for “nazar.” The beads help ward these off and obviously function as decorative pieces for the cute newborn.
However, there’s a caveat to all of this. Technically, especially for children, the nazar bead shouldn’t be seen, or should be hidden somewhere on a children’s person. People will sometimes even ask whether a child has a nazar bead on them before offering a compliment. This, of course, is not practiced 100% of the time as nazar beads can be seen in all manner of items, but technically – especially for children – the nazar bead should be hidden for maximum effectiveness.
On necklaces, the nazar bead tends to be worn in an understated fashion, with either the beads running down the chain or as an amulet at the end. Gold and silver make for pretty contrasts with the deep blue of the nazar bead, and you’ll see many different designs with the nazar bead at the fore.
Bracelets with many small little nazar beads are also very common, as bracelets are a common fashion accessory in Turkey. Men and women both may wear different kinds of bracelets, and occasionally the bracelet itself will be made with nazar designs rather than as beads attached to it.
Nazar bead earrings tend to be slightly more ostentatious than other forms of jewelry, often as drop earrings. Stud nazar earrings are common as well, though often-times the point is to show off that beautiful blue color of the nazar bead.
That deep blue on your finger looks prettier than almost any other color you’ll find, and obviously nazar bead rings tend to be cheaper than real stones so it’s a perfect fit for your souvenir to take back home!
This is another of the most common uses of nazar beads. Hanging wind chimes are very common, or any sort of little decoration dotted on the wall or somewhere. You’ll find something of this variety in almost every home in Turkey, and as you’re looking for gifts, some of the most attractive things you’ll see are little ornaments that can be stuck anywhere around the house.
Ceramics are one of the best gifts to get in Turkey anyway, and designs with the nazar bead on it are all the better! There are a million different kinds and you’ll find them all over the bazaars where you do your souvenir shopping.
Many different clothing designs, both old and new, will feature some form of the nazar design on them. The design is so distinctive, when you buy clothes with it everyone will know there’s only one country in the world you could have possibly bought it in!
Turkish towels and Turkish bedsheets are amongst the highest quality and most famous in the world. So it’s no surprise that nazar-designed bedsheets and towels are equally popular! Find one with some of the best quality Turkish cotton and it’ll last you a lifetime – and make you the envy of all your friends in the process!
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