The history of Charms and Charm Bracelets

What is a charm bracelet and when did people start wearing them?  A charm bracelet carries personal “charms”, decorative pendants or trinkets which signify important things in the wearer’s life.

The wearing of charms may have begun as a form of amulet to ward off evil spirits or bad luck.

During the Pre-Historic period, jewelry charms would be made from shells, animal-bones and clay. Later charms were made out of gems, rocks, and wood.

For instance, there is evidence from Africa that shells were used for adornments around 75,000 years ago. In Germany intricately carved mammoth tusk charms have been found from around 30,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt charms were used for identification and as symbols of faith and luck. Charms also served to identify an individual to the gods in the afterlife.

During the Roman Empire, Christians would use tiny fish charms hidden in their clothing to identify themselves to other Christians. Jewish scholars of the same period would write tiny passages of Jewish law and put them in amulets round their necks to keep the law close to their heart at all times. Medieval knights wore charms for protection in battle. Charms also were worn in the Dark Ages to denote family origin and religious and political convictions.

Charm bracelets have been the subject of several waves of trends. The first charm bracelets were worn by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Hittites and began appearing from 600 – 400 BC.

For example, Queen Victoriawore charm bracelets that started a fashion among the European noble classes. She was instrumental to the popularity of charm bracelets, as she “loved to wear and give charm bracelets. When her beloved Prince Albert died, she even made “mourning” charms popular; lockets of hair from the deceased, miniature portraits of the deceased, charm bracelets carved in jet.”

In 1889, Tiffany and Co. introduced their first charm bracelet — a link bracelet with a single heart dangling from it, a bracelet which is an iconic symbol for Tiffany today. (Similar to the one we have to offer – pictured to the left)

Despite the Great Depression, during the 1920s and 1930s platinum and diamonds were introduced to charm bracelet manufacturing.

Soldiers returning home after WWIIbrought home trinkets made by craftsmen local to the area where they were fighting to give to loved ones. American teenagers in the 1950s and early 1960s collected charms to record the events in their lives. Screen icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford helped to fuel the interest and popularity of charm bracelets.

Although interest and production waned through the latter part of the 20th century, there was a resurgence of popularity after 2000 and collectors eagerly sought out vintage charms. Inspired by to the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, bracelets with little charms of swords, crosses and skulls were introduced as a fashion trend during Winter 2006.

Since 2002, a new trend for European charm bracelets has emerged in both Europe and North America. These modular bracelets consist of a chain onto which different beads or ‘charms’ can be put. The charms are made from gold, silver or Murano Glass and are interchangeable to allow the wearer to create their own look. These beads can be sculpted to simulate anything from animals to people. There are literally thousands of beads available for these bracelets as beads can be created to reflect any interest or category.

Originally introduced by Danish jewelry company Trollbeads in 1976, this style of bracelet grew in popularity and today there are many brands available. In the UK the most successful brand of European charm bracelet is Pandora and Love-links, though Biagi, Zable, Reflections by SimStars, Chamilia, Novobeads, Oriana, and Trollbeads. A key feature of the actual beads is that they are compatible with all major bead bracelet manufacturers. A Chamilia bead can be worn on a Zable bracelet and vice versa. (Pictured to the left is one of our adorable Zable Bead Charm Bracelets)

A charm is a small ornament usually dangling from a bracelet or chain. However, the Italian Charm Bracelet is configured differently. While each charm is separate and interchangeable, it lies flat against the wrist and is interlocking to the next charm, similarly to an expansion band. A charm-link connecting tool is available to change the charms, but fingers seem to work just as well.

Information from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charm_bracelet

About Jewelry Warehouse

Jewelry Warehouse is a locally owned jewelry store that has four locations located in Columbia SC. We have been voted best jewelry store by the State newspaper – the largest paper in SC, for 19 years in a row. Originally founded in 1969, George Satterfield started the Jewelry Warehouse. It was his vision to always get quality jewelry but to price lower than traditional jewelry stores. After 40 years his vision has continued even after his death in 2005. With the growth and development of the internet, the plan is stronger than ever as not only does The Jewelry Warehouse still offer the best price and quality in SC, it now has the best pricing in the United States! People from California to New York now can get jewelry that is sold in the cities for significantly more, at South Carolina pricing. With a satisfaction Guarantee, buying from Jewelry Warehouse gives people everywhere a risk free opportunity to try us and save on quality merchandise.
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One Response to The history of Charms and Charm Bracelets

  1. Laura says:

    I enjoyed your article. I actually have 2 charm bracelets from when I was a child. They were popular back then. I had a silver one on which I collected state charms. I would buy a charm for every state I visited. Then I had a gold charm bracelet that held all the charms for the special events in my life. As a child, I used to wear them all the time, but by the 80’s they didn’t seem popular anymore and I didn’t wear them, although I still have them. Now I have caught the bug again and I have a Pandora charm bracelet and several beads. I am excited about the many options and beads available to add to the bracelet and look forward to changing the beads on the bracelet to match the outfit I am wearing!!

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