When I first started making elephant beads, I was told by a number of folks that the trunks needed to be upraised to make them lucky. As a matter of fact, many people did not want them unless their trunks were in this position. Now I have never tried to attach meaning to any of my beads. Though I know some folks use them as amulets or talismans, I feel that attributing value to them is a personal thing. But- my elephants do all have their wee trunks pointing up into the air now- just in case!
But where did all of this begin? Why upturned trunks? What's the big dealie bobber (as we used to say)? Well, as it turns out, it looks like it's another American-ism. Though the lucky elephant charm idea most likely originated in India, it was a combination of the Indian elephant charm and interest in the white elephants of Thailand that somehow led to the US decree that only elephants with upraised trunks were lucky. It's all a part of popular culture folk-magic. And who knew there was such a thing?
Want to read a bit more about all of this? Here's an interesting little article with links to more info about elephants and other lucky charms.