The difference between an amulet, from the Latin ‘amuletum’, and a talisman, from the Greek ‘telesma’, is that one is used to protect a person and the other to bring good luck. Talismans/amulets can be objects like gems, rings, pendants or coins, but they can also be plants or animals. Both talismans and amulets exist across different cultures and date back to the Middle Ages. In those days, people wore talismans on their body, hung them at home (especially over their bed) and also used them as medicine (either eaten or mixed with water during a bath).
Talismans and amulets occur in several religions. Christians believe that the Crucifix or Holy Water can be used as a defence against Satan. In Judaism various kinds of amulets are used, including the ‘tallis’, a shawl worn during prayer, and the ‘kimiyah’, a piece of parchment with parts of text extracted from the Torah. This is worn on the body. Some Muslims use this same kind of amulet, which they call Ta’wiz, and on it they write text from the Quran. Other amulets include The Eye of Horus for the ancient Egyptians, the Buddha for Thailand, the god Ekeko for Bolivia, the rune Eoh for Neopagan believers and the clover for ancient Celts.