Evolution of the charm bracelet
As far back as 5000 B.C., people have been wearing charm bracelets. In ancient times, the charms worn were for good luck and protection from evil. Across cultures and religions, charm bracelets were worn for these superstitious reasons. This piece of jewelry also served the purpose of family identification and to designate class and status. During her reign in the 1800s, Queen Victoria was responsible for turning the charm bracelets into a fashion statement as opposed to the more purposeful reasons of earlier times.
The popularity of this piece of jewelry ebbs and flows- enjoying great success at times and losing favor at others. The 50s was a time of resurgence as people began using them to commemorate special events in a girl's life- sweet 16, graduation, marriage, motherhood and more.
They didn't go too well with disco and the sleek gold of the 70s, so their popularity diminished. Today, however, there is a renewed interest in silver and gold charm bracelets . Two-tone styles are also popular.
Charm Bracelet - Different styles
There are several different types to choose from these days. The classic look is a chain link charm bracelet. The links have to be at least big enough to attach the charm and then the decorative piece dangles from the link.
The newer versions appeal to those who don't like the dangle effect. An Italian charm bracelet , which arrived on the scene in the late 80s in Italy, is a rectangular shaped piece that affixes to a stretchy bracelet base. Each charm is a link to the bracelet. On the face of the link is a symbol, picture, letter or other image. They may be etched, raised, painted or not. The key here is that nothing is dangling. Paolo Gensini, who designed this style, called it a "composable charm bracelet" and it was truly a revolutionary design of a classic concept.
Another style uses cylindrical type charms that clamp around a rounded bracelet. The symbol or image can be seen as this piece spins around the bracelet. Any of these styles can come in gold or silver, but are probably most popular in silver.
Why are charm bracelets so popular?
Over the centuries, the reason for their popularity has changed with the times. In ancient Egypt, they wore charm bracelets as amulets of protection against evil. Brave knights wore them in the Middle Ages as protection as they went into battle. They were also popular in some cultures because they separated the upper from the lower class. Ancient Egyptians of high class insisted on wearing them to the grave so that the gods would know their worth and standing among their people.
Contemporary gold charm bracelets are popular for their fashion statement. They give the wearer a chance to display their personality. They are unique to each person and each charm holds some special meaning for the wearer. For girls and women who adore them, finding the right charm for charm bracelets is like hitting the jackpot. It really is a quest to find pieces that speak to her and reveal just a little bit about herself to others.
Vintage charm bracelets also have a following. The popular versions from the 50s and 60s are coveted by aficionados and they can go for thousands of dollars at auction. However, most stay in the family which is another reason for their popularity. Mother's often pass down their youthful charm bracelets to daughters as an heirloom. So, generations of daughters and granddaughters can get a glimpse of what past women were like in the family. Because each charm meant something to the owner, stories inevitably accompany the heirloom charm bracelet. Imagine the fun of sharing these stories about a grandmother with your granddaughter. They offer a unique bonding opportunity for women.
How to care for a charm bracelet
For styles like the gold charm bracelet, simply wipe them off with a soft dry cloth to remove fingerprints and dirt. Mild soap and warm water can also be used to remove stubborn dirt. Just be careful not to use harsh chemicals or abrasive cloths as they might damage the finish of the charms.
For silver charm bracelets, it is safe to use the special cloths designed to remove the tarnish. However, storage in special silver bags can also help reduce the chance of tarnishing. Gold link bracelets can be cleaned like any other gold jewelry in a cleaning solution or with mild soapy water. If there are any enameled charms, they should be removed and cleaned separately with mild soap.
White Gold Charm bracelets are a way for girls and women to express themselves through jewelry. But, they also make a great gift to a special female. Start her off with the bracelet and a charm and then have fun choosing new charms to commemorate special occasions for her. Whether as an heirloom or a gift, she will have fun building something that will make her smile every time she looks at it as she remembers each story and occasion. It's like a scrapbook for the wrist.