Thursday, September 19, 2013

What Is The Significance of a Charm?

I recently discovered the joy of creating charms to capture thoughts, moments, reflections. A simple word seems to express it all - and nestles in comfortably with the little rocks I find.

Do you know the history of charms? Until I did some research, I didn't.

The definition of charm is:
  1. The power or quality of pleasing or delighting; attractiveness.
  2. A particular quality that attracts; a delightful characteristic.
  3. A small ornament, such as one worn on a bracelet.
  4. An item worn for its supposed magical benefit, as in warding off evil; an amulet.
  5. An action or formula thought to have magical power.
  6. The chanting of a magic word or verse; incantation.

Charms have been a part the human experience for thousands of years. The word charm connotes magical properties - the wearing of charms is thought to have begun as a form of amulet to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. As early as 3000 BC Egyptians were using charms to ward off evil spirits, increase fertility rates, protect their loved ones in the after life and guarantee wealth. They were also a way for the Gods to be able to identify the wearer of the charm bracelet, so they were placed in the correct social level.

During the pre-historic period, jewelery charms were crafted from shells, animal-bones and clay. Later charms were made with gems, rocks, and wood. More elaborate bracelets with precious stones and metals emerged during the Egyptian Pharaoh age.

The Assyrians, Persians and Babylonians also created and wore charm bracelets.

During the Roman Empire era, Christians woulds identify themselves, to gain access into secret worship activities, by revealing the fish charm hidden under their clothing.

Charm bracelets gained popularity in the mid 1800s when Queen Victoria wore small lockets holding family portraits and a lock of hair from Prince Albert, her husband. In 1889, Tiffany and Co. introduced their first charm bracelet — a link bracelet with a single heart dangling from it, a bracelet which is an iconic symbol for Tiffany today.

After World War II, American soldiers returned home with charms as gifts, handmade by the locals where the soldiers were stationed.

During the 1950s teenage girls purchased charm bracelets to record the events in their lives, to show their hobbies, religion and interests. Later added to the same bracelet were charms symbolizing marriage, births and anniversaries. Screen icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford helped to fuel the interest and popularity of charm bracelets.

In the 1970s charms made of celluloid were prizes in gum-ball machines. Kids collected these charms for their charm bracelets. Charms ranged from army men themes, sports and animals to Betty Boop, Orphan Annie and Mickey Mouse.

There was a resurgence of popularity after 2000 and collectors eagerly sought out vintage charms. Inspired by to the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, bracelets with little charms of swords, crosses and skulls were introduced as a fashion trend.

Today charms are worn to express ourselves or commemorate special occasions. Charms can represent our passions, interests and hobbies. They remind us of special people, places or events. They offer personal gifts to give and last a lifetime - or more.

So - I asked my community a question:
If you could choose ONE word to wear (as a charm, blessing, reminder, etc), what would it be?

The response:
I am trying to write "gratitude" but the computer keeps making it "the attitude of gratitude. So you get two opinions, mine and my computer's.
Aware or awake
Wildness. Wilderness.
One wild and precious life...
'Love' is all you need
HappyHour ... (Yes, I'm pretty sure that's one word!!!!)
'fraid it would have to be grace.......Kinda covers a lot of bases.
Ooooooh ... I like savor.
Gratitude, compassion, joy

Isn't this a wonderful list? Now all I need is time to make each one of these! What word might you want to wear?


  1. Perfect timing. you have inspired me with one of my little projects. Thankyou x

  2. This post was right on time. I"ve been trying all week to come up with an idea for an art charm swap. This article got me In the right mood to doodle on the sketch pad a little and finally come up with a plan! Thanks!


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