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A Story in Jewels: Charm Bracelets

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I have always loved the charm bracelet, a piece of jewelry so reflective of its wearer that it doubles as a figurative profile. What makes the charm bracelet so charming is the infinite ways you can express yourself through countless little charms. You can collect an eclectic mix of charms representing your favorite hobbies, keeping them as spaced or as packed as you please, or you can search for charms of a single motif – say, jeweled crosses or even gold airplanes. Oftentimes, the charms on a bracelet reveal a story as each miniature pendant commemorates an important time or date in one’s life. Whatever you fancy, a charm for it exists.

A charm bracelet with 15 gem set, enamel and 14 karat gold charms. The charms depict artistic and theatrical motifs, including a saxophone, a piano, an artist's palette and thespian masks. (Leah Gordon Antiques via 1stdibs)

A charm bracelet with 15 gem set, enamel and 14 karat gold charms. The charms depict artistic and theatrical motifs, including a saxophone, a piano, an artist’s palette and thespian masks. (Leah Gordon Antiques via 1stdibs)

 

The original charm was the amulet, which was worn to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. Throughout time, charms evolved to serve as both a means for identification, like family origin, religious affiliation, or political convictions, and as talismans. The first charm bracelets were worn by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Hittites, evidence of which can be dated from 600 to 400 BC. Christians wore tiny fish charms under their clothes to signify their faith to other Christians during the Roman Empire. Later, during the Middle Ages, knights wore amulets to protect themselves during battle.

AN 18 KARAT GOLD, ROCK CRYSTAL AND ENAMEL CHARM BRACELET, FRANCE

An 18k Gold, Rock Crystal and Enamel Charm Bracelet, France – the gold link bracelet suspending six cocktail-themed charms including a twist of lemon peel, a bottle of gin, a cocktail shaker which opens to reveal a devil, a liquor bottle, a martini glass and an ice cube, the link surmounting three charms inscribed, ‘1 verre a liqueur,’ ‘½ verre a Madère,’ ‘Country of origin France,’ and ‘2 traits,’ gross weight approximately 12 dwts, length 7 in., with French assay and partial workshop marks; circa 1935. (Sotheby’s)

The charm bracelet gained its biggest supporter, and promoter, in Queen Victoria, whose preference in anything subsequently sparked a worldwide trend during her reign. The fashionable queen was also very sentimental, and the charm bracelet proved the most fitting way to celebrate special moments in her life. Her beloved Prince Albert would gift her with specially designed charms to commemorate birthdays and other special occasions. She not only loved to wear charm bracelets herself, but would often give them as gifts.

Eleven 14 karat yellow gold airplane charms are suspended on a chain bracelet. The bracelet measures 7-1/4 inches in length and the charms range in size from 1-1/4 inches to 3/4 inch. (Fred Leighton)

Eleven 14 karat yellow gold airplane charms are suspended on a chain bracelet. The bracelet measures 7-1/4 inches in length and the charms range in size from 1-1/4 inches to 3/4 inch. (Fred Leighton)

Throughout the 20th century, and even still to this day, charms continue to be popular. A collection could be as intimate as one’s very own life story or as whimsical as one’s free-spirited personality, the options are literally endless. Both vintage and contemporary charms can be found today to assimilate your very own story in jewels.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    lnlemonlimeLRN
    October 25, 2014 at 8:05 am

    What a cute idea! A “themed” charm bracelet, where are the charms are the same, airplanes, shoes, cars, typewriters, boats, etc. So cute!

    I have another theme idea, an article on vintage Egyptian Revival Jewelry from the 1920’s and 1930’s. My sister and I love Egypt. Revival, it’s one of our favourite themes and styles of vintage jewelry.

    Thanks for listening!

  • Reply
    Charming Trends in Jewelry - Custom Rubber Bracelets
    December 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    […] designs that can be combined to create a message or theme. Which reminds me of a great thing about charm bracelets &#8212. You can add to them. That means future gift giving […]

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