From ArticleWorld

Amulets were first used in by the early Romans and Greeks as protection form evil or to bring a person good luck. Any object that is intended to bring either good luck or protection can be considered an amulet. Usually amulets are made of stones (precious or otherwise), statues, drawings, coins, pendants, plants, rings, animals and words or incantations. Amulets are an important part of many superstitions that keep bad luck or evil away.

Religious symbols can frequently be used as amulets, depending up on the culture. A couple of examples of these symbols are the cross for Christians or key rings with special prayers for protection when driving the car. Buddha is also used as an amulet, sometimes hanging around the neck of a believer. Zodiac symbols are also used as amulets, and have gemstones that correspond to each individual symbol.

Folklore of amulets

In China people use captured live crickets to bring good luck to a house. Chinese tradition also says that if you spread money on the floor, wealth will come. Rice also brings good fortune.

In some cultures cactus and turtles bring good luck. In other cultures cactus and turtles slow down fortune in the house.

Western cultures have used pentacles to attract money, good fortune, and love amongst other positive things. Pentacles are also used as protection against evil and envy. Drawings are used as amulets in Afro-American religions such as voodoo. Some of these drawings are said to bring evil, some good. Specifically colored candles have special powers to bring good and evil, also. Scents and perfumes are said to have the same powers.

Garlic cloves are said to keep vampires away, according to Eastern European legends. Christian symbols also kept vampires away. Scarabs and ankhs were good luck in ancient Egypt. The yew protects Scandinavians, Angle-Saxons, Germans, and Neopagans from evil and witchcraft. Celtic people believed that the four leafed clovers bring good luck.