BROOKLYN — Talk about eye candy.
It might not be neon, and it's hardly curve-hugging, but all across the city, oogly "evil eyes" and protective palms are quickly becoming must-have accessories for the hip who tend to turn heads.
It's a good thing, too. According to the ancient superstition behind the trend, a gaze is a dangerous thing.
"In Spanish we call it mal de ojo," said Bessy Morales, 22, who sported a red hamsa bracelet with dangling black eyes in Williamsburg. The hand-shaped amulet, which takes its name from the Arabic word for five, is another popular talisman against the evil eye. "It's supposed to protect you against envious people," she said. "The belief is universal."
In fact, the evil eye is a superstition that grandmothers the world over hold dear, though summer's coveted apotropaic accessories — hands and eyes believed to ward off the venomous gaze of strangers — mostly originated in North Africa and the Middle East.
The uninitiated can find eyes dangling from earrings in Bedford-Stuyvesant and coiled into rings on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, blinged out in the high-end boutiques of Bergdorf Goodman and hanging on the sale rack at Forever 21.
A pair of evil eye earrings at the Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn fly off the shelves for $1, while a diamond eye bracelet by Manhattan designer Lorraine Schwartz commands more than $10,000.
The glittery peepers were so sought after in Williamsburg that local boutique Catbird quickly sold out of its $288 diamond-encrusted evil eye rings.
"They are quite popular in the shop, as well as with all of us birds who work for the company," said Catbird's Correy Law. "It's the perfect sparkly piece, in my opinion, and it stacks really well with other rings."
But budget trend-setters with a few dollars to spare can still pair the popular blue-eyed version with summer's sea of cobalt clothes.
Best of all, there's no need to worry if a cheaper piece comes apart at the end of the season — superstition holds that the charm is only lost or broken after protecting the wearer in a brush with bad luck.