Vintage Charms? Yes, Please!

The Christmas I was 10 my mother gave me a silver charm bracelet with one charm…Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. I was enchanted with it. The charm was engraved with the date and I knew there would be more to come over the years to fill up the bracelet. And there were. And the bracelet was loved, but seldom worn. Eventually I tucked it away for safe keeping. (And for the life of me I can’t figure out where I put it…but I will!)

Fast forward to the early ’90s.

I popped into a local antique store and saw a charm bracelet that was filled with hefty silver European charms and I swooned. It was wonderful and, alas, wonderfully expensive. The store owner called the seller and she dropped the price 20%. It was still expensive…honestly I wouldn’t buy it today at that price…but back then I did. I no longer have the bracelet in toto. After several years, I took off the charms I really liked and sold the others. This bracelet has some of the charms I decided to keep.

charmbracelet10

But a delightful thing happened after that antique store purchase…I started finding other charm bracelets…ones that weren’t expensive. Some I’m betting were inherited by family members who didn’t care a tuppence for them and were eager to sell them. I got them on the cheap.

And I started learning more about charms. I discovered some were “mechanicals” or “moveables” and all the more desirable. Like this woodpecker charm.

charm1-woodpeckerMany of the charms in this vintage charm bracelet below move or open. I find the animal trap a bit unpleasant (need to get rid of this one) but rather like the bakelite dice in the cage that opens and the MD bag that opens to reveal a baby. Even the detailed saddle has stirrups that move.

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And you gotta love the phone with moveable dial, the whistle that really works and the Stanhope atlas charm with scenes inside.

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And some charms share a bit of personal history like this Miss America Pageant charm engraved on the back: “2nd Runner Up Miss Delaware County Pageant 1957.”

charm5

And who wouldn’t want to receive a charm with this message on the back!

And some charms really aren’t charms, but fobs. I never added this to a bracelet, but have worn it as a necklace. The details on it are amazing. (Morningside Heights is an area in Manhattan.)

fob1

After decades of joyful charm collecting, I ended up owning over 40 vintage sterling silver charm bracelets. (A tad excessive, ne c’est pas?) Though I will say in my defense, I wear them a lot. For a night out, I might load up my right arm with up to seven jingly, jangly bracelets.

But I have stopped buying them…it was time…and started selling them in earnest about three years ago. I am now down to about 15 with more to be sold. (You can find a few in my store.) Though, honestly, I am still not immune to the lure of a really special charm 🙂

Would love to hear if you have a charm bracelet and what’s on it and do you wear it!!!

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