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Charm bracelets: from old school to the hottest new trend

Posted on Sunday, March 12th, 2017 at 9:06 pm by Kate

Just hear those charm bracelets jingling, ring-ting-tingle-ling too!

OK, so it might be not be the world’s catchiest jingle (see what we did there?). But the iconic tinkle of a well-endowed charm bracelet belongs in the front of your mind, not jammed in the back of great-grandma’s ancient jewelry box. After all, one of the hottest jewelry lines - Alex and Ani - is based on charms. Turns out these meaningful bracelets aren’t so 1950s after all!


Ready to learn how we got from your grandma’s bracelet to the bangles you’re addicted to? Buckle up because it turns out the charm bracelet has a long - and sometimes scandalous - history.


The first charm bracelet was worn to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. We’re feeling pretty lucky that we’ve since upgraded to precious metals since this first bracelet was made out of animal bones, shells, and clay! But get this: that animal bone and shell bracelet dates back more than 75,000 years! Talk about a lasting trend.

Charm bracelets also became popular in the Roman Empire as a way for Christians to reveal themselves to other Christians. By hiding tiny fish hooks in their jewelry or on their clothes, these Romans defied the law to show that they were fishers of men.

They weren’t the only religion to embrace the charm bracelet, either. Jewish scholars would copy down parts of Jewish law and embed them in charms so the law would always be close to them. Maybe these groups got the idea from the Anglo-Saxons, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, or Hittites - all groups who wore charm bracelets thousands of years ago!

The charm bracelets that many people picture today were popularized by Queen Victoria, who loved them. After King Albert died, the Queen was so upset that she memorialized him through her charms, sparking a trend across the wealthiest parts of Europe.


Their “charm” (get it?) spread to America during World War II when soldiers would send trinkets home to their sweethearts. This became a full-fledged trend as people began to collect charms to remember significant moments in their lives with. From babies’ births to graduations, from marriages to travels, charms became an easy way for people to show what they’re passionate about. People commonly put multiple charms on one bracelet, leading to the common “tinkling” sound people associate with charm bracelets.

It’s now easier than ever to show your passions. Charm bracelets from companies like Marahlago and Alex and Ani have made a huge comeback, and the number of charms available is staggering. For example, Alex and Ani has a charm for just about every professional team and a charm for many charities and organizations as well.


While Dickinson Jewelers doesn’t carry the animal-product charm bracelets of centuries past, we do have a wide variety of fine jewelry charm bracelets! Whether you love the old-school look of charms on one chain or you want to customize a stack of charmed bangles, pop into either our Prince Frederick or Dunkirk locations to find the bracelet look that’s right for you.



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