Friday, July 17, 2009

Charm Bracelets

Do you get emails from Beading Daily? Sara Graham, Associate Editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, had an article this morning about charm bracelets. In it, she said, "Charm bracelets may be found throughout history. Back in ancient times, some wore the bracelets as amulets to ward off bad luck. Queen Victoria was a big fan of charm bracelets, which created a trend among the European elite. And soldiers coming home from World War II often brought back charms made by artisans near battlegrounds."

Seeing that article reminded me that I have a charm bracelet from when I was a child and teenager sitting in its own velvet box in my lingerie drawer (not that my childhood dates back to Victorian times or even World War II, although it does seem a long time ago!). I decided to pull it out and have a look at the charms.

There are 20 charms on the bracelet itself, as well as 7 loose ones. Most of them were given to me by my grandmother, my dad's mother, who often brought me charms as a souvenir of the trips she and my grandfather went on. There is a pineapple and a hula dancer from Hawaii, a charm from Winnipeg that says Fort Gary Gate on the back, a grain elevator from the Prairies and a seashell and a lobster which are probably from trips to Florida. I must have also received some of them from my parents.

I can remember going into the jewelry store in the small town where I grew up. It was an exciting expedition for a young girl, I can still recall my nervousness and awe as I looked at all the pretty things in the display cases in the store. Back then, I always had to go into the store to get them to put any new charm on my bracelet with a jump ring or split ring - that makes me laugh now, since I have a gazillion of my own rings and a half dozen pliers to open them with these days!!

As I grew older, I started to buy my own charms. The Spartan head and Acropolis are from a high school trip to Greece in grade 12, because Spartans was the name of our school's team. Several of the charms represent my high school interests - there is a cheerleader, a ballerina and a skier, 2 different telephone charms (remember the hours you spent on the phone with your girlfriends at that age, talking about everything and nothing?), a typewriter with a pearl attached (not sure what the connection is between the two, but I learned how to use a manual typewriter in grade 9 and - oh the excitement - an electric one in grade 10), a disc for CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training, which was sort of like Girl Guides for teenage girls although I think it was associated with church. We wore these middy blouses, I always felt like I was in the Navy! Cherish Health, Seek Truth, Know God, and Serve Others, is their motto, according to their website) and a good luck horseshoe and an owl in a cap (with ruby eyes, although probably not real rubies!), which I remember getting for graduation. There is a wishbone and a wishing well, which might also be from that time. There is also one of Toronto's (new) City Hall. The only two I can't quite explain where they originated from or why is a bell (which I quite like because the clanger moves) and a silhouette of a bird.

The miscellaneous ones I have are a coloured one of a Beefeater from London, a set of bagpipes (both of which might be from a trip to England, Scotland and Wales I took in 1988 but my memory fails me in that regard), two horse charms and a couple perched in a crescent moon.

Wow, what a trip down memory lane it was to look at those charms again!

Commitment update: 3 workouts in 3 days.

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