No one can actually pinpoint when they became popular, but what we do know is that charm jewellery has been around for centuries!
Charms have been a favourite for people from the Neolithic Era, the Bronze Age, Ancient Egypt, and the Roman Empire. Some have also been found that date back to the Middle Ages, the European Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, as well as the Victorian Era when Queen Victoria showed her love for charm jewellery, which led to charms becoming a huge fashion statement with the public.
Queen Victoria’s charms jewellery was usually made of gold, and had charms associated with her family and her loving husband Albert. It was at this time that charms became highly fashionable, with lockets, family crests, glass beads, and other such items being hung from necklaces, bracelets and watch chains.
When Prince Albert died, the Queen was devastated and commissioned mourning charms containing miniature portraits and locks of hair of the deceased.
Tiffany & Co. Launched their first charm jewellery item in 1889, at the Paris Exposition, in the form of a chain-link bracelet, with one dangling heart pendant. The bracelet, as expected, proved to be extremely popular back then and has remained a favourite to this day!
The Popularity Of Charm Jewellery Over The Years
Charm jewellery has always been a popular jewellery item. For instance:
From the 1920s to 1930s – diamonds and platinum were highly fashionable, as well as geometric, angular shapes. Unlike the austerity of the Victorian era, the charm jewellery of this time was simple, yet incredibly elegant.
From 1945 to 1950 – soldiers returning home from the Second World War, wanted to take home small items to their loved ones and bought handmade gifts and souvenirs. These items, carved by local craftsmen, were filled with personal memories and emotions, so were fashioned into necklaces and bracelets, which again, became a fashion trend.
The 1950s to 1970s – charm bracelets were an absolute must-have for women and young girls during the 1950s and 60s. Charm jewellery became the favourite gift for engagements, graduations, 16th and 18th birthdays, marriages, and the arrival of babies. Significant events in their lives would be celebrated with another charm added to their charm jewellery item. Many wealthy people in the USA during this time, would usually give young girls a starter charm bracelet on their 13th birthday. She would then be given charms as gifts on following birthdays, to add to her collection.
From the 1990s up to today – the demand for vintage charm jewellery increased significantly during the 1990s, because of the economic boom and countless television shows. Collectors were going after jewellery of excellent quality, which resulted in opening charms or mechanical charms, in particular, becoming highly sought-after.
Even though the materials, designs, and reasons behind charm jewellery has changed significantly during the past centuries, the idea itself has never really gone out of fashion, even in today’s world.
Charm jewellery has been made glamorous again since 2001, by the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton, with their new designs in all price ranges becoming extremely trendy. Like the icon charm bracelets, Russian doll charm bracelets, and pirate charm bracelets - which came about after the enormous box office successful Pirates of the Caribbean movies!
These days, charm jewellery is still in huge demand, and purchased by people from all walks of life, from all over the world, and is exceptionally popular with young celebrities. Charm jewellery pieces have recently used to promote religion, good times, charities, and just plain and simple fun. One of the main reasons why charm jewellery is still so popular is because of the fact that there is usually a special sentimental story associated with each and every charm.
Why Do People Wear Charm Jewellery?
Charms are small, decorative trinkets that are used to make a variety of jewellery items that are perfect for people of all ages. The charms on these jewellery items are most times, symbolic and meaningful to the owner, but many people choose to wear them simply for fun and to add a certain look to the outfit they are wearing.
What Types Of Charms Are Used To Make Charm Jewellery?
There are so many types of charms available today, that it would be impossible to list them all. However, the following are some of the main types that have been used over the centuries and are still used today:
Gemstone charms – apart from adding personality and colour to a jewellery piece, gemstone charms also have meaning and symbolism for the wearer, such as when the stone is the person’s birthstone.
Passions and hobbies charms – charms that represent your passion or hobby is a great way to customise a piece of jewellery, such as small guitars, music notes, or tuner, for someone who loves music. A globe charm, compass, aeroplane, or something in a country visited, would be nice for someone who enjoys travelling.
Lucky symbol charms – whether you believe in it or not, a jewellery piece with a few lucky symbols is a nice touch and a reminder to stay positive. Lucky charms could include, a four-leaf clover, a horseshoe, and the Eye of Horus, to name but a few.
Charms symbolising your religion – many people like wearing a piece of jewellery that represents their faith, whatever it is. Wearing jewellery with religious charms is the perfect way to remind yourself and others, that your faith is an important part of your life.
Relationship charms – charms are a positive and happy way to represent a close relationship. Charms engraved with your initials, a special word or quote, and even something humorous is a nice touch. The great thing about these charms is that the engravings are normally something that only the two people involved will understand.
Charm jewellery has been around for centuries, and because of this, there are many people who ask if it is still fashionable in this day and age. The answer to this question is a resounding YES, and if you check what’s happening on the catwalks, you will see that charm jewellery is back and even more stylish than before!