The Charm Bracelet
Image source ; The Victoria & Albert Museum, 1800-1900, "This charm bracelets is believed to have been assembled in the 1970s using the jewelled heads of nineteenth-century stick pins as charms. Individuality is a key element of any charm bracelet due to the personal way in which the charms are collected. Here the diversity of shapes and of minerals create a rich and colourful effect."
Its no secret we are huge admirers and charm fanatics, beginning our jewellery career as first avid collectors and keepers of these treasures, before taking a deep dive into the studying and curating as antique dealers. We have personally had some of the rarest, and most highly sought after pieces pass through our hands before being sold to their destined keeper. Jewels as beautiful and coveted as those viewed in museums, and longingly added to Pinterest boards in the anticipation of 'one day'. A Brief History Of The Charm Bracelet
There exists archaeological evidence of charm bracelets being worn as early as 400-600 BC, which is absolutely fascinating to consider. Charms were worn in prehistoric times as a type of talisman or amulet in the belief of keeping evil spirits away, to bring good luck, or to make spirits happy. During this era, its important to note that charms were not always worn on bracelets, but on necklaces or placed on clothing or in pouches, leading us to ask at what point did the charm bracelet we recognise today become the convention to display and wear charms. These ancient charms were often made from animal bone, teeth, shell, or gemstones, which isn't far removed at all from the gems we adorn ourselves with in the present.
Image source ; Charlie Luxe Vintage, 1800-1970 ' A charm bracelet holding a colourful variety of vintage and antique charms mixed together on the same bracelet. Featuring an array of gemstones and era, from 1800s Victorian jewellery right through to the 1970s' Moving further forward, looking to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome & Ancient Greece The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt have been found in their tombs buried with charms made from gold, silver, and precious stones, to protect them in the afterlife. Gemstones such as Lapis Lazuli and Turquoise feature heavily in Ancient Egyptian jewellery, scarabs carved from beautiful turquoise and engraved to the base.
Looking to some of the pieces collected by the jewellery community today, you will find carved scarab charms, solid gold burial masks in novelty charm form, and enamelled Egyptian revival charms with hieroglyphs and Ancient Egyptian style paintings. The unearthing of King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 saw the beginning of The Egyptian Revival era of the 1920s; Strong geometric design of the 1920s met the traditional Egyptian iconography.
Image source ; The Met Museum 1295-1070 B.C. ' Scarab with baboons of Thoth adorning Amun'
In Ancient Rome, charms were worn for religious reasons, Christians wore small fish-shaped
charms as a way of communicating to other Christians their religious leaning. A fish shape was
chosen because of the Greek word for fish “Ichthys” which was an acronym for ‘Jesus Christ,
Son of God, Saviour’ in the Greek language. Image source ; The Met Museum 1878-1749 B.C. ' Fish pendant found From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery west of the tomb of Senwosret (758), Pit 847, MMA excavations, 1908–09' Queen Victoria
The Victorian era is where a noticeable rise and popularity in charm bracelets can be placed in time. Queen Victoria flipped the use of charms from practical to aesthetic. Her love for luxury and jewellery made charm bracelets fashionable to wear, particularly by the wealthy to show off their fortune. The death of Prince Albert died in 1981, Queen Victoria had a mourning charm bracelet made, featuring a locket with an image of the prince, a locket of his hair and charms which were mementos of their life together.
Image source ; The Royal Collection Trust ' Queen Victoria's Charm Bracelet, 19th Century, ' "A gold charm bracelet with sixteen various oval and heart shaped lockets, enamelled in black on gold. Some set with jewels, others engraved, several with inscriptions. Miniature photograph of male head.
Provenance This bracelet was worn constantly by Queen Victoria.
This was one of a group of jewels placed in the 'Albert Room' at Windsor Castle after the Queen's death in 1901. This was the room in which Prince Albert had died in 1861 and the Queen left instructions for a specific list of personal jewellery to be placed there and not passed on in the family. " [ The Royal Collection Trust ] WW2 World War 2 saw the resurgence of lockets and bringing sentiment back to charms and lockets, with images of loved ones being adorned in a locket, and lucky items and symbols being hung from jewellery as a form of symbolic protection. Charms were worn in this period in a more personal way, as a reminder of good times and loved ones. Moving forward from the war, charm bracelets started to become much more commercialised, with fashion designers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli bringing out their own take on the style. Icons such as Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor were seen wearing charm bracelets, creating a craze during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Mass production of charms began in these two decades, with charms being created to celebrate birthdays, friendship, travel, anniversaries, and celebrations. Think of the stacked bracelets from the 70s & 60s, brimming with novelty articulated charms, initials, birth dates and zodiac signs.
Image source ; Charlie Luxe Vintage ' A charm bracelet example'
The charm bracelet is personal to the wearer, an expression of fashion, taste and sentimentality. A curation of eras, styles and beliefs all worn as a single item of jewellery, creating something unique and bespoke ; a pleasure to construct from the design of the bracelet down to the themes, colours and ages of the pieces.