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.