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Glass necklace worn to prevent bronchitis, Greenwich, London, 1914

Edward Lovett (1852-1933), a researcher and collector of folk traditions, bought these glass-beaded necklaces in London markets. Lovett visited 130 stalls and discovered that the necklaces were worn around the neck from childhood until death in the hope of preventing bronchitis. The beads never left contact with the skin and were sometimes buried with a person. The blue colour of the beads was said to make the necklaces an effective protector. Amulets have been worn for thousands of years to protect the wearer from illness, ill fortune and bad luck. It is shown here with a similar example (A630908).

Object number:

A630904

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    Glossary: necklace

    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.

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: bronchitis

    Inflammation of one or more bronchi (one of the larger air passages in the lungs), usually a result of infection. It is characterized by intense coughing.