Necklace of woody nightshade, Coventry, England, 1901-1913
The growing influence of biomedicine in the 1800s did not necessarily replace established forms of treatment based on belief and superstition. What could be referred to as folk medicine – customs that often went back generations – continued to be practised. For example, some believed that if a double or single row of woody nightshade stalks threaded on string were placed around a child’s neck it might protect against teething problems. The necklace was changed every other day. This one was a gift to the Wellcome collections in 1916 from Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a collector of British amulets and charms. It is pictured here with other teething amulets: a piece of flint (A132464), a piece of turf (A132465) and a calf’s tooth (A665423).
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Ornaments worn around the neck, usually in the form of chains or strands of beads, pearls, stones, or the like, and often including a suspended ornamental pendant. Use "chokers" for short, narrow necklaces worn close to the throat. Use "dog collars (necklaces)" for wide ornamental bands worn tightly around the neck.
Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.