Amulet, English, 1871-1920.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An amulet is a personal ornament which, because of its shape, material, or colour, is believed to endow its wearer with certain powers or capabilities and offer protection. The Ancient Egyptians often used amulets to protect themselves against disease. The Egyptian words for 'amulet' come primarily from words meaning 'to guard' or 'protect' and also 'well being'. This amulet consists of a band and a cross of black ribbon, quilted with hair and sand to protect against whooping cough, from Somerset.