Men and women might assume charm bracelets are a fairly new jewelry option. However, they existed in ancient times. Although the bracelet has undergone numerous changes over the centuries, people of all ages still love them. Nobody can say for certain when today’s version first appeared. Centuries ago, people would add miniature figurines, charms, and more to a bracelet before wearing it as an amulet. They believed doing so would protect them from bad luck and evil spirits.
Charms In Ancient Times
In fact, hunters would carry charms in the Neolithic area when they would go out looking for food. They felt this would keep them from harm as they foraged for food for the family. Men and women would make these bracelets using whatever they could find, including animal bones, clay, rocks, shells, and wood. Archeologists found 75,000-year-old shell charms in what is now Africa. They also found mammoth bone charms in modern-day Germany that date back 30,000 years.
However, it wasn’t until the ancient Egyptians that gold and silver were used for this purpose, or so historians believe. Pharaohs were often buried with their jewelry, including charms and charm bracelets. It is believed they did so to prove their identity to the gods as they entered the afterlife. These bracelets continued to evolve over the years, and the charm bracelets at Adina’s Jewels often show glimpses of this evolution.
Charms and Religion
In ancient Rome, individuals used charms as a symbol of their lives and their religious beliefs. Christians didn’t want the public to know they followed God, as they feared persecution. To make it easy for other Christians to identify them, they would carry a small charm shaped like a fish. The Greek word for fish was an acronym for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. However, Greeks and Romans also wore other charms, as they were suspicious and believed the charms would ward off bad luck. Additionally, they used charms to show their respect for the gods.
Lockets were often worn, as people believed keeping the information close to the heart and body would allow the body to absorb it better. Jewish scholars often wore amulets around their necks and would carry small, written passages of Jewish law in the amulets for this reason. As men went off to war, they would carry a lock of hair from their wife or some other trinket in a necklace to bring them good luck and remind them of who was waiting at home for their safe return.
Queen Victoria’s Influence
Of all people, Queen Victoria probably had the most influence concerning the public’s perception of charm bracelets. She loved any type of charm, and her followers took notice. The elite and wealthy considered them luxurious fashion items and would wear them whenever possible. Thanks to Queen Victoria, sentimental and romantic charms have become commonplace. Her love affair with Prince Albert is well known in history, and many charms from that period in history contained secret love messages or endearments. In fact, many motifs and symbolism seen during this period in history continue to be seen in charm bracelets today.
The Industrial Age occurred around the time of Queen Victoria’s reign, and this likewise helped in terms of increasing the popularity of charm bracelets. Manufacturers could produce charms in large quantities, which meant more people had access to them. Mourning charms also become commonplace at this time, as people began to carry around pictures of a loved one or a lock of their hair in or on a charm.
In 1889, Tiffany & Co. designed their version of the popular bracelet. The original bracelet created by this company was nothing more than a delicate chain with a single heart dangling from it. People immediately fell in love and wore the bracelet as a status symbol. The company continues to make different versions of its original charm bracelet today.
World War II
During World War II, soldiers often collected trinkets. They used the trinkets to remind them of the women waiting for them back home, the men they served with, and their time in combat. Soldiers from Britain and other parts of Europe collected small trinkets as they traveled from battle to battle. They would find something that reminded them of that place and give it to a loved one at home as a present. There were times when they couldn’t buy items, so they would collect items they found or were given as a gift. They encapsulated memories of their time serving their country and captured their emotions during this tumultuous period. This marks the period when charms began being collected as souvenirs of good times. They allow the wearer to have a sentimental reminder of the good time with them wherever they go.
The Latter Half of the 20th Century
Thanks to their popularity during World War II, charm bracelets took off in America in the second half of the 20th century. Many girls received this type of bracelet for their 16th or 18th birthday, when they became engaged, or when they got married. Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor are two celebrities who were seen in movies wearing bracelets of this type, which helped to fuel their popularity as well.
The charm bracelet went out of favor for a few decades. Although some women chose to continue wearing their charm bracelets, they weren’t seen everywhere one went. However, this bracelet has become fashionable once again, thanks in part to the many styles offered today.
Modern charm bracelets can be modified, depending on what the wearer wants at any given time. Charms can be added or removed as desired. This allows the wearer to change the bracelet depending on her mood or thoughts at that time, which helps to explain the popularity of charm bracelets. By changing one or more charms, the woman can have a new bracelet in a matter of minutes.
If you are planning to purchase new jewelry for the upcoming season, look into charm bracelets. With many styles available today, every woman will be able to find a bracelet she loves and one that reflects her personality. Check out the wide selection offered today, so you can have a bracelet you want to wear regularly, one that goes with everything you own with a quick change of charms.