November 29, 2007

The Tradition of Charm Bracelets

Years ago, a good friend of mine had this beautiful silver charm bracelet. I have always loved unique things, and I was just in love with her bracelet. Each little item told a story, had a reason for being there.

One weekend, a few of us went shopping and she wanted to make a stop at her favorite spot to buy charms. While there, all of us saw things that we just loved. We decided that we would all begin our own bracelet. We were all teachers, so we each put an apple on the very end and promised it would stay there for life. Then we picked some more....

This is my first bracelet ever. It started with a few charms, and every time we went back to this little magical store, we would add more. Now, some like their bracelets very dainty and light. However, for me, the heavier the better.

I grew up in a household full of neat and eclectic finds. My parents still have that "museum" of a house and I have followed in their footsteps. I love "stuff" and my jewelry is no different. I am a tall gal and I like big jewelry. I also like as many charms as I can fit.....

Each charm has meaning behind it.....a bubblegum machine because at the time I was always chewing gum, a cat and a dog representing my animals, a knight for my mom's side that we are related to, and a beer stein for my father's German side.
Charms from friends, places I have been and the things that I love....

This is my second bracelet. The peasant and the fleur-de-lis belonged to my mother, more places I have visited, and others that I just liked or had some meaning. Rub the Buddha's belly for good luck, and Ganesha, the Indian god with the head of an elephant. I collect elephants, and that is a whole other blog.
My next bracelet had a wedding bell, because I married my soul mate, a windmill, clog, and bicycle for our journey to Holland (there were so many bikes) the lantern for the way he helps my soul light up, many from the Caymans where we visited. Most importantly, a phone because I wanted to call everyone to tell them of the "stork" that was going to deliver my baby girl.

After many years and lots of travel, I put this bracelet together. Years, meaning after both of my daughters were born. They collected in a box, and there are just so many because my husband, who is very thoughtful, tries to get me a charm when he travels to a new place, which happens quite a bit.
This bracelet also symbolizes the start of a tradition......
.... which my blog is also themed......
I try (granted I am still working on my second bracelet) to write down the meaning of each charm on a bracelet. That way, one day when I pass them down to my girls, they will know. They will have a permanent "storybook" about me, that can be passed down for generations to come.

When I taught, I had a parent of a student that had this beautiful and unique charm bracelet that I commented on with love. It is from a company that makes bracelets and one can choose all of the items that they want to put on. She got me a gift certificate, and then I went to a house party to make mine (above). It was really cool because they had tables all spread out covered in all different charms and beads, and after you pick all of your goodies, they put it together for you. I like this one because of the amethyst color to it and all of the charms represent my step children, my first daughter, and our family. I need to add another charm for my second daughter. I feel very special when I wear it.

This is a recent addition. As you know, I love the Eiffel Tower. There is a ET charm, and Arc De Triumph, a large Paris souvenir charm, that is not too large for me, Disney, Inverness, a beautiful town in Scotland where I had spent some time, a kokopelli from my dad's travels, and an infinity.
My husband and I have always signed our notes with infinity (+oo, -oo) Think of the "oo" as a sideways eight. We had it on our wedding cake, the invitations, and engraved onto our wedding bands. So, image my excitement when I found this one....
I also got one for both of my daughters. We have many charms that match because if we travel somewhere, I MUST get three of them, like Japan, CA, SC, etc.

Normally, I design all of my bracelets. When I found this one though, it spoke to me. It also turned me on to the older style of bracelet with more rings and is better made. Later I got a plain vintage chain and made my "G-ma" bracelet with it. I still have to post that photo.
There were many charms that reminded me of my Grandma Betty, the most amazing woman that ever lived! We were very close. She had a huge impact on me and I used to spend weeks with her on "the farm". The last time I saw her, my daughter was just a couple of weeks old and had jaundice. My Gma was in a nursing home, slowly going down hill. I felt horrible from giving birth, and I was nervous about the baby getting germs, but I just had to make the drive to see her.
We spent about thirty minutes there. I believe my grandmother had the early stages of Alzheimer's , she was talking like she was living and seeing her life fifty years ago. But when she saw my baby, she was there. She held my little girl in her arms with joy. When we left, I told her "Everything is going to be okay G-ma" and she said, "I know". I then said, "I love you G-ma" and she said, "I love you too". Those were our last words to one another, and that was the last time I saw her. Yes, I am crying, and yes, I am going to do a special blog about her. She was my favorite person ever.
I have had a very hard time with loosing my G-ma. She always said I was "her baby". It has been over five years now. When I saw this bracelet,
I saw the stop sign that said, "I will never stop loving you", the mink coat (I now have hers, but would never buy one for the record), the roller skate (she loved), and the sax, which my Great G-ma Good played (her mom) and the music note, I just felt like they were sending me a little message. I HAD to have it and I so love it.

After our travels to Japan (with husband on business trip, myself and both girls) I was looking for a charm for all of us to represent our amazing trip, to a place I so love and can't wait to go back to. I was searching on ebay which is an EXCELLENT source. I did find a "Japan" island for all of us, but I also came across this. It belonged to someones grandmother, who had brought it to the states after the war. There is another find as well of oriental charms. The detail on these charms is just amazing. I don't wear this but admire it a lot. My hopes are to eventually put some of them, the sturdier ones on a charm "necklace". When the show "Ghost Whisperer" first came out, the lead character (who owns an antique shop) had this amazing charm necklace on. I have searched with no luck.
This is my oldest daughter's soon to be bracelet. It takes time to put all of the rings on each charm to then put onto the chain. As you can see, she really could have two bracelets, and in time is welcome to do that. But I have a feeling she will be her mommy's little girl, and she will keep it as is.

This is my youngest daughter's bracelet. Well, will be. I still need to get her a chain. I don't think her little wrist will be wearing it anytime soon though.
So, I hope that you have enjoyed my blog on charm bracelets. There are many resources for finding good deals and it is such a wonderful tradition to begin. It will tell your story for years to come no matter whose arm it finds itself on.
Please leave comments......
Thanks and have a "charming" day.


Carolyn said...

Hi Rhonda !
So you managed to do this LONG post then ! Great to see you have your pics sorted :o)

The charm bracelets look amazing girl ! All of which have a special meaning to you , and i`m sure your girls will appreciate more when they are older to learn all the meanings of them .
Some personal things like these mean more that a photo , as they can fade with time , but these will stand the test of time .

Hope your ok .


Carolyn said...

Rhonda ,
you have been tagged by me !
drop by when you have time


Abbie said...

Oh wow!! That's alot of charms! What a fabulous item to collect, love and treasure. I'm most positive that your girls are going to treasure every charm and every memory they hold. Thank you for sharing!
:) Abbie
oh.. I have a post coming about a paperdoll I found on Ebay.. She is from 1894 and her name is Sweet Abigail. I'm going to be making collage sheets from her and I'll pass a set along to you as a gifty!

Sherry said...

This is a lovely post with such sweet endearments about your grandmother.

Charm bracelets...what memories!! My mother had one and as a child I remember playing with it...there was a windmill from her friend who had been to Holland and you could make it "turn", there were some that opened and some that just made me smile.

My mother started my charm bracelet when I was 13 and continued to add charms each year at Christmas or a special occasion. I then bought charms when I travelled.

I have both bracelets now (my mother passed away 10 years ago) and though I don't wear either of them, I just can't imagine ever getting rid of them...far too many wonderful memories.

Rhondamum said...

I am so happy for your wonderful comments. Thanks to all! It makes me very happy to know that some of you share in this tradition and the meaning it has for you. Thank you thank you thank you.

Keep those posts coming please! said...

rhonda, what an amazing post! your collection of charm bracelets is fantastic and the history behind them is really cool, what a great piece of history for your daughters to have someday...i also loved the part about your grandmother, my grandmother has the early stages of alzeheimers and those moments of clarity are something to cherish. anyway, amazing blog, very inspiring and heartfelt and well written, i could go on and on :D
your new "we love etsy" friend :D