Luck, Protection, and Magic: Modern and traditional talismans and amulets

The last few years threw some difficult trials at so many of us, and the holiday season can act a reminder of pandemic hardships we've collectively endured and the isolation we've survived. But now we want to fill our spaces, enriched by the company of family and friends, with luck and magic to carry us through the uncertainties of the upcoming new year. Whether you wear religious symbols to call upon your guardian angels or cleanse your auras with crystals and Reiki, we can all benefit from a belief in the gift of universal magic.

When we share gifts, we unknowingly imbue them with all the emotions we feel for the recipients. The objects themselves may have no intrinsic charms aside from those we ascribe to them, but if you've ever experienced a rushing flood of emotion when you receive a thoughtful, personal gift you can appreciate that there is powerful and moving magic in presents. With this understanding of meaningful gifted magic and a strong desire to share luck and protection with our loved ones, we present you with a collection of tradition and contemporary talismans. But don't be put off by the word 'talisman'! Think of these items as beautiful accessories that serve as comforting reminders to your gift recipients of your fondness for them.


Last holiday, the father of one of the team members gifted each person in his home one of these bronze totems designed by Yusuke Hayashi and they take our breath away. It was these objects, perfect and personal, that were the inspiration for this feature. Produced by the unfathomably fantastic Otera Kohachiro Shoten, a Japanese shop established in 1867, each animal sculpture within the menagerie collection is a deceivingly heavy, tactile talisman that one can carry with them as their spirit animal or guarding mascot. Because of their delicate, smoothed forms of cold bronze and their weight (between 20 and 70 grams) the totems call to our touch like sculptural Sirens.

As the collection includes totems that take the shapes of mice, cows, tigers, hares, snakes, horses, sheep, monkeys, birds, dogs, and boars, you can offer everyone on your list a gifted animal that reflects who they are. Whether your loved ones are best represented by reliable bovine, curious simians, flexible serpents, or loyal hounds, they'll be as breathless as we were to receive one of these talismans as a gift; a gift that, we can attest, will make them feel protected, accepted, and simply seen.


In his exploration and compilation of folkloric botanical remedies, philologist Thomas Oswald Cockayne records that wood thistle can keep away ill gaincomers: "as long as though bearest it with thee, naught of evil cometh against thee" (1). Rather than pocketing a handful of petals, we recommend this stunning 18k gold thistle necklace by NYC based Doyle & Doyle. A pair of spirey leaves frame a delicate thistle bud, forming a contemporary crest that bestows on the wearer an unspoken strength and protection.

Thistle represents protection and nobility, a perfect symbol for the care and sanctuary provided by the New York Humane Society to our animal friends. The net profits of our Heirloom Thistle Necklace by Doyle & Doyle are donated to the New York Humane Society in memory of Sara Campbell. (2)