Charming Charm Bracelets

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When I was sweet sixteen, XX years ago, the most fashionable jewelry to have, the first “real” jewelry, was a 14 karat gold charm bracelet. My parents gave me the gold link bracelet and my first charm, a gold “16? surrounded with pearls. Grandma gave me a January calendar page charm with a tiny garnet for the number 7. army veteran hoodie Ruth gave me a golden ballerina. That was the start of the charm bracelet that one of my grown daughters now wears.

For every birthday after that, a new charm was added. Mom had a charm bracelet, Grandma had one too, so now all three of my daughters have a family heirloom to wear.

Charms have been worn for millennia — from the time of ancient Egypt, they have been worn as amulets, good luck charms, and, in modern times, as mementos of life’s experiences and passages.

Charms come in every design the human imagination can create. Collectors search for charms relating to their passion, hobbies or experiences.

In the 1960s there were charms featuring the Beatles. Some had photos of TV and movie stars.

Charms could be personalized, with names, dates, occasions, and sentimental sayings. Souvenirs of vacation travel, tennis racquets and softballs, baby shoes and hearts – whatever the theme, there was always at least one charm to represent it.

Whether for fashion, sentiment, romance, or just for fun, charm bracelets jingled and jangled their way into popular culture.

And then they didn’t. After the 1960s charm bracelets fell out of fashion, and were relegated to the bottom of the jewelry box. In gold, or silver, they were too valuable to be discarded, but they were no longer fashionable, and nobody wore them.

Fast forward to recent years. Here came the old charm bracelets from Mom’s or Grandma’s jewelry box, and charm bracelets were hot once again. Wearing a piece of family nostalgia, or creating your own personal charm story is the “new” style of self expression.

Your gold or silver charms should receive tender loving care. Keep silver bracelets in a tarnish-proof flannel cloth bag. Never spray perfume or hair spray near a charm bracelet, and be particularly careful if there are pearls, enamel or gemstones. Valuable charm bracelets should be photographed, insured, and kept in safes or safe deposit boxes.

Check the clasp and safety chain on the bracelet, and be sure the loops of the bracelet and the loops holding the charms are secure.

Above all, enjoy your charm bracelet. Add charms to it whenever you find a meaningful one, and have fun with it. If you’re lucky enough to have one that was your mother’s or grandmother’s, wear it and pass it along to your own daughter, as I did. She treasures it and wears it often.

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write by Zi Wu