A Turkish nazar boncuğu
Eye beads or nazars – amulets against the evil eye – for sale in a shop.

An eye bead or naẓar (from Arabicنَظَر[ˈnaðˤar], meaning 'sight', 'surveillance', 'attention', and other related concepts) is an eye-shaped amulet believed by many to protect against the evil eye. The term is also used in Azerbaijani, Bengali, Hebrew, Hindi–Urdu, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Turkish and other languages.[1] In Turkey, it is known by the name nazar boncuğu[2] (the latter word being a derivative of boncuk, "bead" in Turkic, and the former borrowed from Arabic), in Greece is known as máti (μάτι, 'eye'). In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called a cheshm nazar (Persian: چشم نظر) or nazar qurbāni (نظرقربانی).[3] In India and Pakistan, the Hindi-Urdu slogan chashm-e-baddoor is used to ward off the evil eye.[4] In the Indian subcontinent, the phrase nazar lag gai is used to indicate that one has been affected by the evil eye.[5][6][7]

The nazar was added to Unicode as U+1F9FF 🧿 NAZAR AMULET in 2018.[8]


A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge.[9] "The bead is made of a mixture of molten glass, iron, copper, water, and salt, ingredients that are thought to shield people from evil."[2]

"According to Turkish belief, blue acts as a shield against evil and even absorbs negativity."[2] In the Middle East and the Mediterranean,[10][11][12][13] "blue eyes are relatively rare, so the ancients believed that people with light eyes, particularly blue eyes, could curse you [one] with just one look. This belief is so ancient, even the Assyrians had turquoise and blue-eye amulets."[14]

Eye bead

Eye beads

The Turkish boncuk (sometimes called a göz boncuğu or eye bead) is a glass bead characterized by a blue glass field with a blue or black dot superimposed on a white or yellow center. Historically old, the blue bead has gained importance as an item of popular culture in Modern Turkey. The bead probably originated in the Mediterranean and is associated with the development of glass making. Written documents and extant beads date as early as the 16th century BC. Glass beads were made and widely used throughout the ancient world: from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Carthage to ancient Greece and Phoenicia to Persia, and throughout the Roman imperial period.[citation needed]

A depiction of a nazar boncuk on a Turkish airplane.

"The mythology behind it says that if one of the beads breaks down, it means a very strong nazar has hit you, and the bead stored it all up and broke down in order to protect the carrying person."[15]


See also


  1. ^ Khan, Abdul Jamil (2006). Urdu/Hindi: An Artificial Divide: African Heritage, Mesopotamian Roots, Indian Culture & British Colonialism. Algora Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 9780875864389. Arabic verbs have generated an enormous number of words for Urdu/Hindi as well as Persian. ... The word nazar, meaning eye, or sight, is part of the cultural idiom -- <nazar lag jana>, meaning 'evil eye's effect,' and is used in the whole subcontinent.
  2. ^ a b c Williams, Victoria (2016). Celebrating Life Customs Around the World: From Baby Showers to Funerlan, p.344. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781440836596. "nazar boncugu".
  3. ^ M. Moin: A Persian Dictionary, 3rd edition, p. 4752 (in Persian).
  4. ^ South Asian Cinema, Volume 1, Issue 1. South Asian Cinema Foundation. 2001. p. 61.
  5. ^ Mehmet Kaan Kaya, Arun D Singh, Harminder S Dua (22 May 2009). "Nazar boncugu—blue glass Evil Eye bead". British Journal of Ophthalmology. 93 (707). Retrieved 13 May 2019. The phrases "Nazar lag gai" (affected by the Evil Eye) and "Nazar utarna" (removing the effects of Evil Eye) are common in Hindu culture.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Fallon, S.W. (1879). A New Hindustani-English Dictionary, p.1164. Lazarus. [ISBN unspecified]. "nazar lagānā, v. a. To cast an evil eye upon; to regard with evil intent. [by an evil eye.
    nazar lagnā, yā khānā, v. n. To be influenced"
  7. ^ Clark-Decès, Isabelle; ed. (2011). A Companion to the Anthropology of India, p.228. Wiley. ISBN 9781405198929. "nazar lagana".
  8. ^ "🧿 Nazar Amulet Emoji". Emojipedia.
  9. ^ Lonely Planet Middle East. Lonely Planet; 6 edition, 2009, p. 559.
  10. ^ Sinclair, H. R. (2022). A Writer's Guide to Color. H. R. Sinclair.
  11. ^ Yablon, Alys R. (2015). Field Guide to Luck. Quirk Books. ISBN 9781594748363.
  12. ^ Martinson, Barbara; DeLong, Marilyn; eds. (2012). Color and Design. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781847889539.
  13. ^ Darke, Diana (2014). Eastern Turkey, p.31. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 9781841624907. The evil eye, "generally takes the form of a blue-eye, because foreigners, were more likely to have blue eyes, were also more likely to stare, thereby unwittingly contravening local convention, and, by admiring the children or possessions of their hosts, accidentally casting the evil eye upon them."
  14. ^ Lynn, Heather (2019). Evil Archaeology, p.167. Red Wheel Weiser. ISBN 9781633411272.
  15. ^ TurkishClass101.com (2017) Learn Turkish - Level 2: Absolute Beginner. Innovative Language Learning.