Charms, usually worn in multiples on a link bracelet, were of great personal significance to the woman of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Her charm bracelet was a chronicle of her life; a time capsule of her loves, her interests, her travels, her experiences. These precious objects told her individual story, and preserved it for following generations.


She probably received her first charm as a young girl; perhaps a ballerina or a flower. Her teenage years may have seen the additions of a love token from a sweetheart, a souvenir from a school trip, a jeweled mortar board for graduation. Charms commemorating her engagement, wedding, first home, children--all the major milestones of her life--followed.

The mid-century vogue for travel enabled her to see much more of the world than her mother and grandmother had. A small cruiseship told of her honeymoon trip to the islands; an Eiffel Tower charm of a spontaneous weekend in Paris. She spent many a cocktail party explaining the numerous exotic mementos on her wrist.

Perhaps a little pearl typewriter signified that, like many women of her day, she enjoyed the independence of having a job outside the home. She also enjoyed sports (golf and tennis) and was well-versed in the arts (particularly painting and theatre). She often received jeweled representations of her interests and hobbies as gifts.

Other charms were added to her bracelet simply for their beauty. In contrast to the flat, stamped charms of modern times, vintage charms are three-dimensional, highly detailed, and often jeweled-- tiny works of art in their own right. They stood as testament to her exquisite taste, as would a beautiful painting or vase.

A new vogue for vintage charms is developing, perhaps in part due to fashion's focus on individuality. Women today often wear a single charm from their collection on a bracelet, or as a pendant. Collections are often beautifully displayed in a shadow box, or hung from ribbons on a bulletin board, mirror or frame.

Vintage charms make wonderful, very personal gifts. At a recent wedding shower, each guest gave the bride an antique charm representing one of her (or the couple's) interests or experiences; they all shared the cost of a charm bracelet. The bride wore it on her wedding day. Another bride did the opposite, using antique charms as personalized thank-you gifts for her bridesmaids. Yet another woman treats herself each birthday to a charm with some relevance to the preceding year of her life; she intends to start the same tradition for her young daughters.

Start your own tradition today...Click here to shop our online catalog of antique charms!