Defined as an object, ornamental or otherwise, or a piece of jewelry worn with the intention of providing protection against evil, injury, disease, or bad luck. The origins of Amulets containing inscriptions or other magical material are to be sought in ancient China as well as in ancient Greek and Roman cultures although it is not easy to define a distinct class of amulet jewelry in the latter due to the fact that religious and superstitious considerations influenced the design of a great proportion of ornaments worn at the time.
Many of the motifs that seem purely ornamental many have had an additional role in averting evil and protecting the wearer. The widespread Hellenistic and Roman fashion for rings and bracelets in the form of snakes was not purely for decorative reasons but rather based on the association of this creature with the underworld and its possible healing effects.
Throughout history, amulets have been designed and used in innumerable shapes and materials in different regions of the world. The Chinese attached spiritual and magical properties to jade as early as the Neolithic period. They went to great lengths to transport jade thousands of miles and to manufacture it into discs, rings and arc pendants which were clearly not functional but must have had some ceremonial purpose. Jade was not only valued as a beautiful and precious and gemstone, but was believed to have spiritual and even magical qualities.