What is a Figa?

Gem Gossip is one of my favorite jewelry blogs I follow. It has a strong focus on vintage and antique jewelry, which is an area I’m always looking to learn more about. Danielle, the talented writer, recently posted an article about different ways she was styling her figa charms. I was totally into it! Here’s an image from her article. And I was left with, “I love this, and what the heck is a figa?!”


How Danielle, from Gem Gossip, is styling her figas
How Danielle, from Gem Gossip, is styling her figas

When I started researching what a figa is, I learned it’s quite the controversial symbol. Properly called the “mano fico,” this is an Italian symbol going back centuries. (Must be my half-Italian side that was drawn to this!) The symbol is a closed fist, with the thumb going through the index and middle fingers. It is a representation of a woman’s genitalia and sex, to be blunt. It is said to ward off the “evil eye” and bring protection to the wearer. Basically, the gesture is supposed to be so offensive that it scares off the “evil.” Interestingly, Brazil and Portugal also see this amulet as a good luck symbol. BUT…much of the world sees this as a very obscene gesture, basically the equivalent of giving someone the finger. (Note to self, never wear this in Turkey, South Africa, France or Russia.)

Of course, I had to have one too, so off I went to Esty where I found a lovely vintage rock crystal figa from MindiLynJewelry. If you follow my blog, you know I’m a complete rock crystal addict! (My body actually craves it.)

rock crystal figa charm
The first thing I did was to style it similarly to how Danielle did hers. I, too, have a vintage gold Italian horn. I then added a goddess charm that brings a smile to my face, which I think makes for a fun trio. I will say that this mix produces a bit of noise, which I noticed anytime I moved during acupuncture. (But it was a happy sound.)

trio of charms
The next day, I layered this same trio with a longer necklace. This one is a moonstone beaded necklace from Flying Lizard with a Dominique Cohen pendant. I like the combo.

layering necklaces
And thanks to this experiment (and Danielle), now I’ve got a new love of “the figa,” as if I needed one more jewelry crush…It’s a good thing this Victorian wooden figa is already sold. It’s wearing a bracelet for goodness sake — how cool is that?!

victorian figa pendant