Works like a charm: The story of charm bracelets
The word charm was originally used in connection with superstition and spells but has come to be associated with attraction – just as the history of charm bracelets has moved from more esoteric meaning to specific beauty.
And our collection of charm bracelets and charms allows you to tap into this history – allowing you to create genuinely individual pieces of jewellery imbued with history and meaning as well as creating desirable and charmingly attractive pieces.
For as long as humans have worn decorative pieces fashioned out of shell, wood, bones, clay or metal, archaeologists have found that those amulets and charms have been created to ward off bad luck, to attract good luck, or to prepare the wearer for the afterlife.
Ancient civilisations in Africa around 75,000 years ago, in Germany around 30,000 years ago and Egypt 5,000 years ago all fashioned intricately carved charms to be worn to help the wearer.
As religions became more familiar to those we recognize today, people practicing those religions adopted the wearing of talismans to identify themselves to fellow believers and those travelling great distances started to wear charms to remind them of family and loved ones back home.
In more recent times charm bracelets were involved in the Victorians’ love for remembering the recently deceased through the use of preserving hair in lockets; returning servicemen from both the World Wars bringing home trinkets from parts of the world in which they had fought; and as a fashion item for people to record events in their lives and things they were interested in.
But the true beauty of charm bracelets is that as well as representing the whole history of wearing keepsakes, amulets and mementos, the wearer is truly able to wear their heart on their sleeve – to collect charms which they feel represent themselves. A charm bracelet provides a visual show of all the wearer’s loves, losses, whimsies and desires.
Charms can denote wealth, glamour and sophistication, or girlishness, comedy and kitsch – the choice is totally up to the wearer.
When 20th century fashion icons such as the Duchess of Windsor (who wore a Cartier bracelet of nine small crosses crafted from precious gemstone on her wedding day), Elizabeth Taylor (who collected charms from her teens through to adulthood and had a range of charm bracelets) or Coco Chanel (who wore large fob-style bracelets and popularised the style in her fashion lines) were pictured in the press or see on film wearing charm bracelets, they soon became objects of high fashion.
And at the absolute top of the chain, Faberge’s Easter egg collections have long been seen as the pinnacle of expensive charms, allowing the wearer to flaunt power and social standing while also tapping into a history of jewellery-making which combines the secular and religious.
Charms can also be used to mark rites of passage, or simply to mark passing interests – where trinkets can be picked up on travels, or given as tokens by friends and relatives to mark birthdays or events special to both the giver and the recipient.
Their varying costs mean they are a great gift for and from teenagers right through to grandparents and are as much about fashion as they are about meaning and appeal.
We have a wide range of charms and charm bracelets to appeal to all types of collectors – whether you are starting from scratch, adding to an existing collection, or wanting create an heirloom from a charm bracelet passed down through the family.
The Evolve collection is perfectly priced and styled to create an individualised piece of jewellery that is both incredibly fashionable and intensely personal, while also reflecting a true Kiwi spirit. Each design – whether it’s a pineapple lump, a tiki design or the Netball New Zealand logo – will mean something to the wearer making it a great gift for someone heading off on their OE or joining the exodus to set up home in Australia.
Boh Runga’s charm jewellery also includes hints of kiwiana thanks to her tui, fantail, kiwi, kakapo and robin designs – but they’re also created with a real stylish edge, making them a seriously fashionable accessory.
Karen Walker’s jewellery combines the quirkiness that appeals to any charm collector with the style with which her name is synonymous. Her charms range from daisies and anchors to hearts, skulls and razor blades and make a real impact on both the wearer and the admirer.