February 17, 2013

How Charming!

February 17, 2013 Photo of the day:
"How Charming!"

The precise history of charm bracelets is unknown, but it is believed that they began as a form of amulet worn to ward off evil spirits. Early charms were made of bones and shells, and later rocks, wood, and gem stones. There is evidence of charms being worn in ancient Africa and Europe as religious and political symbols. Charm bracelets became particularly fashionable during the reign of England's Queen Victoria. The queen herself wore charms and gave them as gifts. Upon the death of Prince Albert, Victoria had charms designed to hold locks of her husband's hair. During the 20th Century, soldiers returning from war often brought charms home for their loved ones. These charms were made by local craftsmen in areas where the servicemen were fighting. Charm bracelets gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s when it became traditional for American girls to collect charms to represent milestones in their lives.

I love to travel, but I don't buy a lot of touristy trinkets. My photos and journals have always been my favorite souvenirs. However, I did buy a tiny white gold Figaro link bracelet was in Florence in 1994. Since then, I have added charms from many places that I have visited.
  • Cana Island Lighthouse: An iconic symbol of the Door County shoreline near my godparents' cottage in North Bay, invoking childhood memories of wading out to the rocky island and fishing on its shores.
  • 2000: A charm to mark the new millennium
  • Basque Cross: San Sebastien or Saint Jean de Luz - 2008. Its four arms signifying spirit, life, consciousness, and form.
  • Matador's Jacket: From Madrid's Plaza Mayor -1998.
  • "Big Ben": Houses of Parliament charm from London - 2002.
  • Sand dollar: Key West - 2006.
  • Sailboat: My grandmother bought this tiny charm for me in 1987 when I was on the Marquette University sailing team. I wore it around my neck for years, but when the chain broke the year after my grandma passed away, I had the charm soldered onto my bracelet.
  • Eiffel Tower: From my first summer in Paris in 1994.
  • Plumeria: This frangipani blossom with the pearl in the center was purchased in Hawaii during our honeymoon in 2005.
  • Dolphin: My mom bought this charm for me when my brother, she, and I swam with dolphins during the Christmas we spent in the Bahamas after my dad passed away.
  • Gondola: Venice - 1994

    Tiffany and Co. introduced their first charm bracelet in 1889 — a sterling silver link bracelet with a single heart next to the lobster claw clasp. This bracelet remains a best seller for Tiffany to this day. Mine was purchased at the Tiffany flagship store on 5th Avenue. The original heart is inscribed with my monogram. With the exception of a circular charm engraved with the town of Sturgeon Bay along with two sailboats (a gift from my husband), the rest of the charms have been added each time I return to New York. I have an iconic Tiffany blue box, a shopping bag, an Eiffel Tower, and a sailboat. 

    I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but my charm bracelets are two of my favorite pieces. They are as personal as the memories that they invoke!