Most people would be hard pressed to think of a more versatile piece of jewelry than charms. These date yet often very elaborate miniature pieces can be used on charm bracelets, added to hoop earrings or even attached to necklaces as pendants. Silver charms and gold charms alike are popular either as unique additions to a bracelet or chain or as part of a collection of charms.
There are very few rules when it comes to using charms on a bracelet or with other pieces of jewelry. While some people prefer to keep their charm bracelets all one type of metal, others prefer to mix and match. This combination of silver and gold on the bracelet can be very striking and can also make matching your charm bracelet to other jewelry very easy.
Charms actually date back to some of the earliest forms of jewelry. The first recognizable use of the charm bracelet goes back to the type of Egyptian Pharaohs. The precious metals were shaped into symbols that were of importance to the wearer of the bracelet as well as the gods. People were buried with their charm bracelets on as a way to provide information that would go with them to the afterlife.
Later on in Roman times, charms were used by early Christians as a way to secretly identify each other. The symbol was, as it still is today, the simple fish outline. Those that studied Jewish law would insert small rolls of parchment containing scripture into amulets worn about the neck, similar to charms or lockets of today.
During the Middle Ages and Renaissance times charms were used mostly to ward off evil or to attract good luck to the wearer. Different symbols were worn for different types of protection and some where very ornate and highly intricate.
Queen Victoria of England again revitalized the charm bracelet and the use of charms as a fashion accessory in the early 20th century. Charms that included family crests, flags and landmarks from different countries became very popular.
The first and second World Wars also contributed to the fashion trend of wearing silver and gold charms. Soldiers visiting foreign countries wanted to bring home small, easy to carry and pack items, so local jewelry makers fashioned small mementos of the landmarks and objects found within their country. Wives and girlfriends and family members then placed these charms on bracelets in larger collections, more like the charm bracelets we know.
Charms are now more than just silver charms and gold charms. They can be plastic, cut glass, precious or semi-precious stones, amulets, or even beads. They continue to be very popular with young and old alike, making them a jewelry fashion staple.