bul·la | ˈbu̇-lə
Two concave plates that form a hollow receptacle
The bulla is a relic of ancient Roman jewelry. Comprised of two concave plates, the bulla forms a hollow receptacle. In Roman times, infant boys were gifted bullae nine days after their birth and continued to wear this piece of jewelry until they reached manhood. This tradition was not bestowed amongst Roman infant girls. Roman boys wore their bulla around their neck as a type of modern-day locket. During ancient times, the Romans believed that the bulla protected young boys from evil spirits and forces. This ancient Roman tradition was followed regardless of a family’s class. However, infant boys from wealthier and high-class families were gifted bullae made of more precious and stronger materials such as gold and with intricate carvings. Boys from less fortunate families might have bullae fashioned from leather or cloth. Regardless of economic standing, the tradition of wearing a bulla continued until the boy reached manhood, became an official Roman citizen, and wore a toga.