Whether it’s the jingle-jangle that attracts you or the kitschy-cute miniatures that reveal your true passions, or the newest beaded trend, charm bracelets have an enduring appeal that has outlasted many other fashion trends.
A Charmed History
As early as the pre-historic period, charms were created out of shells, animal bones, and clay—and in later times out of gems, rocks, or wood. Ancient Egyptians used charms to identify an individual to the gods in the afterlife, and Christians in the Roman Empire would hide tiny fish charms in their clothing to identify themselves to other Christians. Jewish scholars used charms to hold tiny passages of sacred law, medieval knights wore charms for protection in battle, and in the Dark Ages charms were worn to denote family origin and political connections.
In the late 1800’s, famed jeweler Tiffany and Co. introduced their first charm bracelet, which has since become their iconic symbol. In the 1920’s, platinum and diamonds were introduced in charm bracelet manufacturing and by the 1950’s American teenagers were collecting charms to record significant events in their lives. Screen icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford helped fuel the popularity and interest in charm bracelets. More recently, the bead style of charm bracelets has once again renewed this ongoing fashion statement.
A Charmed Autobiography
The charms you choose to adorn your wrist express your unique, personal style and help tell the story of the life you’re living. Perhaps you have inherited charms passed down from beloved family members and connecting you to family history, or maybe you have charms from your own youth that tell the tale of childhood fantasies and dreams. Your charms might represent hobbies you enjoy, cherished events, favorite sports or animals, or even significant trips. Maybe you admire a certain time period such as the 1940’s, and wish to express that affection with vintage charms that people in that era collected from gumball machines or the popular comic strip characters Popeye, Betty Boop, or Mickey Mouse. Part of the fun with charm bracelet fashion is that it tells a part of your story.
The newest trend in charm bracelets uses beads, which can be made from any material. These gold, silver, or glass beads are interchangeable and allow you to create your own look. Beads can be sculpted to look like anything from animals to people and come in a wide array of patterns and colors. Charm bracelets, whether traditional or the newer beaded variety, appeal to a diverse consumer base due to the wide range of pricing. The cost of any charm can be anywhere from pennies to hundreds of dollars, making them truly available to anyone.
Your Charmed Story
Designing your own charm bracelet is a way for you to narrate your story. Once you clarify your budget and the type of bracelet you desire, the next step is to establish your story’s plot. Does family play an important role? Are you an animal lover? Is travel an important part of your life? What are the hobbies that keep you grounded? Where is your favorite place to be? These are all questions to consider as you select the charms that represent the themes of your life. Modern-day charms, while decorative and pretty, contain a powerful force: memory.
My name is Shiraz Kahn. I am the co-founder and editor of this website. I have 3 years of experience in the fashion industry and do some writing, editing here.
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