Stories behind the Charms

One of the first things I attempted to create from odds and ends in my stash of findings and charms and broken accessories was this charm bracelet which I had set out to be a “DINNA” bracelet.  The primary inspiration being I wanted it to be representative of me and my world.  (Talk about being self-centered!)  It took me a while to pull all the charms I needed together although I’ve had half the bracelet in my box for quite a long time.  It was a way of pulling bits and pieces into one whole again after ages of non-use.

I started with this matte gold chain from Liz Claiborne which I had bought 80% off on the clearance rack a while back.  It had a coy (fish) attached to a studded ball and your usual branded toggle clasp.  (I’ve set this part aside for another project.)  The toggle clasp was a good size so it could be used as a pendant dangle instead of a neck closure.  What appealed to me when I saw it was the matte gold finish.  And at 80% off its original price, I calculated how much per foot the chain was costing me after I bought it for under $10.00, and it was definitely way below the actual cost of this type of double link chain.  The chain was originally around 22 inches so there was the possibility of creating at least a bracelet and a shorter necklace.  (Bracelets should at least be 7 inches long, and 8 1/2 inches for bigger wrists, or if you prefer the bracelet to dangle freely when your hand is down.)

The pearls I used came from a mother-of-pearl shell disc and pearl necklace I got from my trip to Manila in 2008 which had broken off its clasp and a shorter second strand.  The clasp and second strand are intact and I use it as a choker now, but I disassembled the part that had broken off and took some of the pearls as charm drops.  I had not yet learned much about wire wrapping this type of bead/pearl, so I made do with a simple string through and then created the head with the two ends of the wire together.

The charms itself have their own stories to tell.  Most notable of this is the heart locket which had been a present from a friend many years back — meant for my baby-to-be if it turned out to be a daughter.  I’ve had this for as long as I’ve been married but had never used it.  Finally, a chance to make it the centerpiece of my own personal charm.  I haven’t yet chosen the pictures I will put in it but I intend to get to that soon.  I didn’t get the charms in one trip.  They were acquired through weeks and weeks of trying to decide what I wanted in this “me” bracelet.  Some of the things I wanted, I couldn’t find, like a fleur de lis charm (the Paulinian in me) or a lighthouse (which I am enamored with, wherever we go.)

Clockwise from right, the charm bracelet begins with a round donut hole charm that I found engraved with “peace”, “smile”, “love” and “amour”.  I  liked it when I saw it because it conveyed such positive thoughts.  It was a good sized weighty charm and I needed an anchor for the toggle end and it had “Amour” which would relate to the next charm.  I picked up the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty charms to symbolize the two cities I love: Paris and New York.  (No charms for Manila — but I figured the pearls were representative of the so-called “Pearl of the Orient”).  Then I picked a good sized flower charm because I liked things feminine, like shoes and the bag (which is engraved with PARIS) charms that follow.  The heart is the center charm, followed by a “G Clef” which represents the musical side of me.  Then there’s an Angel hanging on a moon which is my little guy, and the sun which represents Alan who is “the light of my world.”  I found the horse charm by accident which I could relate to, having been born in the year of the horse.  The clown was a filler charm but which I felt drawn to because I have always liked knick knacks with a clown in it.  (I would’ve opted for a lighthouse but I couldn’t find one in the various trips digging through trays and trays of various charms.)

Made both of old things and new, and while these are gold-finished pewter charms, the most precious charm is the heart locket because of the story behind it and because it’s the only part of the bracelet which is genuine gold.  It’s most special, too, because it’s that part of the bracelet which was a gift.  It had “slept” in my jewelry box forever and it’s about time I wore it.  I have since lost touch with this friend and we haven’t spoken in years —  and while I feel that we have drifted into two separate worlds, there are the memories of the years before that that make this locket special to me. 

I love the way this bracelet jingles and jangles when I wear it.  It has a whimsical tone to it which helps me put on a cheery countenance.  That worked well on a wet day like today when the mood was sombre and dark.  Sometimes all it takes is but a few reminders of the things that matter to us to get us past the downside.  Charmed, indeed.

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