Misconceptions about the Cornicello

Cornicello

Also known as the corno or cornuto, there are common misconceptions about this lovely little piece of jewelry…

1. It’s a symbol of the devil. (Wrong. Originally, the cornicello was worn as a charm to help the wearer ward off the evil eye. As a matter of fact, it’s a defense against evil.)

2. It’s shaped like a woman’s leg or like a chili pepper. (Wrong. This symbol is in the shape of the horns of an antelope – probably the eland. A long time ago, before Christianity came to be, these amulets were symbols of the moon goddess. Nowadays, they come in many different shapes, styles, and colors – primarily gold, silver, and red coral.)

3. The amulet originated in Mexico. (Wrong. The tradition of wearing these amulets came from Italy. Wearing one now is a sign of pride in your Italian heritage. Or, if you’re lucky enough to marry into an Italian family, you may also be gifted with one!)

The one I have is real gold and came directly from Italy when my great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. You can buy them today in New York, Italy (of course!), and through the Internet.

2 thoughts on “Misconceptions about the Cornicello

  1. Where do you find them on the internet? Is there one traditional style, metal, or coral used over the other by most traditional Italian men?

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    • I suppose you could get them on eBay or Amazon… that’s the first place I’d go. I would think that the coral ones are used most by traditional Italians.

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