Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charmed, I'm Sure.

I love charm bracelets because they tell stories--or at least hint at a good story. The lovely Atomic Redhead posted a WWII sweetheart charm bracelet she recently thrifted, and it set my imagination racing. There were only four charms on the bracelet; why not more? Did the bracelet's original owner send her Air Force man a Dear John letter? Did he perish at Iwo Jima? Did he catch a tropical fever in New Guinea, get discharged early, and replace her bracelet with an engagement ring after she nursed him back to health? Oh, the possibilities! It makes me wonder what kind of story future vintage-lovers might construe from my own charm bracelet.
In 2002 I started collecting sterling silver charms. I had one rule: Each charm I added to my bracelet had to have a sentimental, personal reason for being there. I prefer 3D charms over the flat ones with a design on just one side, because I like for my bracelet to look good from every angle. And I look for solid charms, not hollow,  because I love the satisfying heft and jingle of a wrist full of solid sterling. Vintage charms usually have more detail, and I always look for vintage charms made by Beau, Nuvo, and Chim. Chim, in particular, makes interesting charms with moving parts. Many of their designs open to reveal a figure inside--for example, a castle opens to reveal Sleeping Beauty, or a church opens to reveal a bride and groom. I've yet to add a Chim charm to my collection, but perhaps someday. This is what I've collected over the years:
1. The pewter Venus de Milo charm is the only non-sterling charm on my bracelet. It was a gift to commemorate the completion of my first painting. Friends bought it for me in New Orleans.
2. The sterling cell phone charm opens and closes. The family I nannied in college gave it to me to remember life in Los Angeles. AS IF I could forget, omigawd!
3. I wear the sterling Pomeranian dog charm because I'm so fond of Keith's poms. I bought it online last year.
4. The naughty moon rider charm is there just because she made me laugh. I bought it online during college. She snags on my sweaters all the time, but I like her anyway.
5. The Eiffel Tower charm is to remember my trip to Paris. I bought it online ten years ago, and it was one of my first charms.
6. The J initial charm was a gift.
7. I wear the grand piano charm because I took piano lessons for ten years and loved it. The charm isn't vintage, but it does open and close, which is cool.
8. The vintage book charm is essential for a librarian! It opens to reveal a blank page, which can be engraved, but I can't bring myself to do it. It's rhodium plated to prevent tarnish, which is why it's so much shinier than the other charms. I usually prefer the antiqued look, but this charm might be my favorite.
9. The sterling Southern Belle charm is a bell, and I wear it because I love living in the South. She's vintage.
10. The sterling cardinal is the Illinois state bird; I was born there. I bought it online when I first began my bracelet.
11. The vintage sterling beer stein commemorates my trip to Germany. It's marked "BEAU STERLING."
12. I wear the vintage Hermitage charm because I live in Nashville. I bought it on eBay about nine years ago.
13. Keith bought me the Cinderella's coach charm at Disneyworld last year.
14. The jackalope charm was a gift, and it reminds me of the Interstate 40/Route 66 drives I used to make when I was in college.

Someday I'd like to add these charms to my bracelet:

Pagoda charm with Buddha inside to commemorate my trip to China, from Classically Charming   
A lion charm from Prince of Diamonds for my zodiac sign
A Parthenon charm for Nashville
Accordion charm, the ultimate Beirut fan merch! It opens to show a monkey inside.
Hot Air Balloon Charm by Gardones

What kind of things do you have that tell a story?

4 comments:

  1. Lovely post -- I really enjoyed seeing your charm bracelet and how everything has personal significance. :)

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    1. Thank you. It's fun to look at people's things and guess the story, but no guesswork required here. :)

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  2. Just found this sight and read your blog and enjoyed the pictures. You have our Hot Air Balloon charm there , we hope you have enjoyed a flight by now. We specialize in 3d and moving charms, I design most of them, do check out web sight Jen, even though we are in NZ, they are sold by other people also. Would love to hear your comments about ours, it helps us improve and design more. Jillian from www.gardones.co.nz

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    1. Thanks--I'll definitely check y'all out! 3-D and moving charms are my absolute favorites. Since I wrote this post, I've added at least half a dozen new charms. My husband gave me a vintage church charm that opens to reveal a tiny wedding inside. Um, WOW! It's my new favorite.

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