accessories

Charmed, I'm Sure

Friday, April 15, 2011

 People have adorned themselves with charms since ancient times; the Egyptians wore charms for identification in the afterlife, while medieval knights wore charms for good luck in battle. 

For centuries the wearing of charms has waxed and waned in popularity. 
 Queen Victoria favored the charm bracelet and thus so did many other nobles of the time.

The Second World War marked a spike in charm popularity as many soldiers returning from war brought charms from a far for loved ones. 
This began the charm trend that would last for the next two decades.

The 1950s and 60s saw young ladies collecting charms to mark the milestones in their life. Bracelets celebrated coming of age, travel, romance, weddings, babies and adorned the wrists of lovely ladies from teenage girls to Mamie Eisenhower.
Mamie sports a wrist of charms while prepping for inaugural festivities in 1953.

I've always been fascinated by charm bracelets. From their joyful jingle to their power to encapsulate an entire life on one linked strand, they are simply "charming". 
A beautiful vintage charm bracelet with a nautical theme.

As a kid I had a tiny gold charm bracelet that came with a pre-established personal history: a heart, a record, a key, a tiny gold telephone, to which my mother added a little boot with my birthstone in it.
Sadly, this bracelet was quickly outgrown.

What's more fascinating than my own little charm bracelet are the charm bracelets of others. What you can tell about a person from their collection of charms is amazing and what you are left wondering about them is interesting as well. For example, what event would occur to warrant a bear charm as in the bracelet above? Perhaps the person just loved bears or maybe they survived a dangerous encounter with a one- we are left to wonder. 

A darling themed charm bracelet, perfect for a romantic holiday.

A few years ago a 50s charm bracelet caught my eye in my favorite hometown antique store, it was full of interesting charms: a bullet, a bottle of beer, ice tongs with a little cube of ice (the owner of this bracelet must have lived a fast life). A few months later this lovely bracelet had made it's way under the Christmas tree in a box with my name on it.

Milk bottle, heart, book worm, light bulb, diver, key, umbrella, bullet, sand dollar, bell, another bell, lucky clover, record, heart, squirrel, ice tongs and ice, beer bottle.

Originally this bracelet was filled with all silver charms but I was able to transfer some of my gold charms from my childhood bracelet for an eclectic look. 
This little gold record is from my original bracelet. It's worn now but it originally said "solid gold."

After seeing my bracelet, my grandmother gave me some charms from my aunt's bracelet she wore when she was a girl in the late 60s.
The little diving lady is from my aunt's bracelet and is one of my favorite charms. The key also belonged to my aunt but the umbrella and bullet, other favorites, are original to the bracelet.  
I've also added some of my own charms to the bracelet. The gold sand dollar was a birthday gift from my mom to mark the time I've spent here on the coast. I've also received a bookworm to mark my time in college and a squirrel (because I like squirrels) as gifts from my mother.


Charm bracelets have once again become trendy but sadly they've changed.
Check wrists,  Pandora charm bracelets, like the one above, are incredibly popular right now. I don't quite understand, it just looks like a beaded bracelet- where's the jingle? Where are the charms? I can't even make out one milestone on this bracelet!

I don't know about you but I think I'll stick to my old fashioned charm bracelet, there is something much more charming about wearing the history of 3 people on my arm than a pile of beads.

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