The horn is a talisman of protection. It is an ancient Italian amulet worn to repel the evil eye or malocchio. In Italian, the horn is referred to as cornuto, corno or cornicello and literally means ‘little horn’.

Traditionally the horn would’ve been pinned to babies’ clothing straight after birth. The malocchio was supposed to harm pregnant women, nursing mothers and their babies. Although it’s main form is as a necklace, during the latter half of the 20th century, the horn was hung in cars as a good luck charm.

The long, gently-twisted shape is unconventional for a horn and where the shape actually comes from is debated. It is thought that it resembled the horn of the African Eland. According to southern Italian traditions it is said that the horn was actually modelled on a chilli pepper, which grew abundantly in the region!

Horn amulets were often made in gold, silver, bone or red coral. Today they are still used in southern Italy to ward off the evil eye, although in the rest of the world they are more commonly perceived as a good luck charm.

horn amulet

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