The History of Charms

We love history as much as we love art. Your personal history, along with ancient history is inspirational. So for fun: A little history lesson that we find completely fascinating.

life's story bracelet

Charms have been enchanting humans since prehistoric times. Frequently referred to as amulets or talisman, the wearing of charms has been associated with magic, mystique, protection, spirituality, faith, love and wealth.

As early as the stone age, people began making jewelry from clay, animal bones and shells to use as objects of adornment. Different cultures came of age at different times throughout history, in Africa, there is evidence that as early as 75,000 years ago early stone-age man used shells as adornments. In a cave in southwestern Germany, tiny intricately carved ivory figurines made of mammoth tusks were found dating back 30,000 years.

During the Bronze Age, the jewelry making process became more sophisticated and intricate along with the materials used. Early charms were made of lapis lazuli, rock crystal, and other semiprecious gems and were inscribed with small designs associated with special powers or meanings. Different civilizations including the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians made and wore charms. The Babylonians are believed to be the first people to wear charms on a bracelet around 700 BC.

Egyptians started using charms as early as 3000 BC. They used charms to ward off evil spirits, protect loved ones in the afterlife, enhance fertility, and assure prosperity. As master goldsmiths they were the first to develop the ability to cast gold, using the lost-wax technique which many modern jewelry manufacturers still use today.

Leading up to the industrial revolution, charms were custom-made pieces of jewelry. Affluent citizens had the means to acquire and commission these pieces.

The introduction of the machine age provided the technology to mine precious metals and mass-produce them into affordable jewelry for the growing middle class, both in Europe and the United States.

Queen Victoria further popularized charm bracelets in the 1800’s by wearing small lockets containing family portraits and locks of hair of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.
Charm bracelets reached the heights of popularity in the United States after World War II. American soldiers returned home with souvenir charms from the cities they had liberated. Jewelers soon added charms of various metals, styles, and occasions to their lines. Today, charms are as popular as ever. People continue to use charms and charm bracelets to tell the story of their life, whether it be a simple heart charm worn around the neck or charm bracelet filled with tiny treasures.

Quite often, charm bracelets are given from mother to daughter, either as a new gift or passing it on as a family heirloom, continuing the tradition of charm collecting from generation to generation. All of this information was sourced from the world wide web, Rembrandtcharms.com

 

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