Charm bracelets, which have a long and rich history, are enjoying a renaissance. The wearing of charms dates back to prehistoric times. The first charm bracelets were probably worn by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and the Hittites from 500 to 400 BC. Those charms were made of lapis lazuli, rock crystal and other gems and were inscribed with small designs, such as figures of Gods, man, and animals. Charms were immediately associated with special powers.
By the 1890’s charms had evolved from spiritual protectors to fashion statements. In Victorian England, where elegant and elaborate jewelry was in style, charm bracelets were standard fixtures. Queen Victoria further popularized the trend by wearing a charm bracelet of small lockets containing family portraits.
Charm bracelets were the most popular in the United States in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Soldiers often picked up charms from every city they visited during World War II, and the fashion trend itself continued into times of peace. Fifty years later charms remain a popular keepsake. Today, a growing trend is a theme charm bracelet. Popular themes include travel, gardening, sun and stars and nautical.
Charms provide a sentimental and lasting souvenir for any celebration. People appreciate having keepsakes to preserve special moments and events in their lives. Charm collecting is experiencing a renewed popularity. People enjoy passing on important mementos to share with their children.
Many women start collecting charms as pre-teens. The most common scenario is a mother giving her daughter a charm bracelet, either as a new gift of passing it on as a family heirloom. Then the daughter adds her own charms representing her favorite hobbies, sports and interests. As the daughter matures, so does her charm bracelet. Eventually the same bracelet may hold a graduation cap, college insignia, the Eiffel Tower, wedding bells or lockets of photographs of her children.