All around the world, different cultures use herbs, stones, and other curios as protective objects. In Santiago de Compostela, Spain, it is no different. Azabache stones are a very old type of protective talisman, valued so highly that they are often given to babies at birth.
What Is an Azabache Stone?
Azabache stones are made of jet, a black stone made of fossilized plant matter. Jet itself is a highly prized magical and protective stone, and the jet from the coast of Asturias is considered to be of the highest quality. Jewelry made of jet was often worn or carried by pilgrims to protect them on their journey. Today, it is still used as a defense against evil.
The History of Azabache Stones
Azabache stones are formed from trees that went extinct over 65 million years ago. Even in ancient Rome, these black stones were valued for jewelry and decoration. When polished, it becomes very shiny. It can also be carved and is often found in shapes like scallops, human figures, crosses, or azabache hands.
Santiago de Compostela, a town in Spain, is known for its azabache works. It is where the apostle Saint James is buried, and is the end point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The Rua de Acibecheria (street of azabache) was, at one time, a street designated for artisans who sold protective jet jewelry and stones. When Spanish people traveled to the Americas, they brought their azabache stones with them for safety. Today, these stones are very often used in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other areas that had a heavy Spanish influence.
How Do You Use Azabache?
Jet is a very protective stone, but it is considered especially potent against mal de ojo (the evil eye). This is a curse sent by a look from an envious or bitter person. Wearing azabache stones is believed to protect against this curse. Baby girls are generally given jet earrings or a bracelet. Boys are given jet brooches. Even adults wear azabache jewelry, sometimes with gold, red glass beads, or red coral, to help guard them against negative energy.
Sometimes, azabache stones are used for spiritual healing. If a pain or injury is believed to be caused by a curse, a healer might lay a piece of jet on the area. If the pain went away, it was safe to assume that it was a symptom of the evil eye. If not, it was time for a doctor.
Though jet is magically powerful, it is a brittle stone. For this reason, it is a good idea to take care of azabache jewelry and avoid letting it bang around during sports or heavy work. Clean it with a soft cloth and warm water, and it can last for a very long time.
What Happens When Azabache Jewelry Breaks?
If an azabache hand or other mal de ojo jewelry breaks, it means that someone has tried to give the wearer the evil eye. This is similar to other protective talismans -- breaking either means that you have avoided a curse or acts as a warning that someone wishes you ill. Unfortunately, if an azabache stone is broken this way, it will no longer protect the wearer and must be replaced. (It would also be a good idea to perform a spiritual cleansing, just to make sure!)
All throughout history, people have wanted to protect themselves and their children from harm. Azabache stones are a beautiful, powerful protective talisman that can help guard you against envy and the curse of the evil eye. Wear azabache jewelry with pride, take care of it, and you can look forward to years of protection.