Jewelleries are beautiful things. Unlike clothes, you don’t have to worry about growing fat and almost every piece you own has a sentimental value. Well, for me at least. And of all the pieces I own, my charm bracelet is my most valuable. Every charm hanging from my bracelet has a story – my story. It took me a few years to complete my collection and I’m ready to show them to you.
I first learned about charm bracelets while I was reading Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred. In the book, she gave a list of 100 things you should have in your wardrobe and the charm bracelet stood out to me immediately.
Charm bracelets go way back. History has it that they were initially worn as talisman to ward off evil. In the pre-historic time, charms were made out of shells, bones and clay. In ancient Egypt, charms were used as a form of faith, luck and for the Gods to identify them in the afterlife. During the Roman Empire, Christians would use tiny fish charms hidden in their clothing to identify themselves to other Christians. Jewish scholars of the same period would write tiny passages of Jewish law and put them in amulets round their necks to keep the law close to their heart. Medieval knights wore charms for protection in battle. Charms also were worn in the Dark Ages to denote family origin, religious and political convictions.
Queen Victoria wore charm bracelets that started trending among the European noble classes. She made the charm bracelet popular as she loved to wear and give away charm bracelets. When her beloved Prince Albert died, she even made mourning charms; lockets of hair from the deceased and miniature portraits of the deceased. In 1889, Tiffany and Co. introduced their first charm bracelet — a link bracelet with a single heart dangling from it, a bracelet which is an iconic symbol for Tiffany today. Despite the Great Depression, during the 1920s and 1930s, platinum and diamonds were introduced to charm bracelet manufacturing. Soldiers returning home after World War II brought home trinkets made by local craftsmen to the area where they were fighting to give to loved ones. American teenagers in the 1950s and early 1960s collected charms to record the events in their lives. Iconic women in history like Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana also owned personal charm bracelets that told their stories including places they’ve travelled to, charms that symbolized their children and ones from their husbands with inside jokes and engraving.
After being inspired by all the charmed stories, at 25, I was on a mission to create my own personalised bracelet like Jackie Kennedy’s and Diana’s (mind you, this was way before the Pandora frenzy, I’ve never been a Pandora girl anyways).
- The Oyster – I bought this on my own as a way to signify my love for the ocean/beach as it has played a big role in my late teens and early twenties. Oysters and pearls also remind me of mermaids and the quote “The world is your oyster“.
- My Angel – Shine got me this for my birthday after a year of seeing each other. He had heard about my charm bracelet mission and wanted to be part of it and got me this by surprise. I call her my Angel because he wanted me to have her watch over me. She has her hands together and eyes closed in prayer.
- The Pina Colada – This one is a really funny one. Lisa and me were throwing a Jacuzzi party that year (2011) and I wanted to surprise her with a charm for her bracelet. I got her a silver Pina Colada with crystals to symbolize the event. Turned out, when we exchanged our gifts, she bought me the exact same charm except that mine was in gold to match my bracelet. We all had a good laugh and a very precious moment.
- A Superwoman – My very first charm on this bracelet from Lisa in 2010. That year was the beginning of a string of nightmares that was to come. I was just discharged from hospital after my surgery that year when she gave me this; a red heel with wings. She probably thought it was pretty and wanted to cheer me up then, but I always saw it as a reminder to stay strong.
- My Mortarboard – I received my Diploma in Makeup Artistry in 2012 and my mother got me this engraved with my name and the year to congratulate me for having take up the skill I’ve always wanted to do.
- The Black Swan – Given to me by Zilin and Nas, “Dear Watie, this was chosen because white is too common… And you are anything but ordinary to us! May you be blessed with beautiful charms in life (pun intended) and be happy always“.
- My Honey Bear – Randomly bought and given to me by my honey Shine to symbolize, well, him. I always call him my Sunshine Bear when he’s happy and being lazy and Grumpy Bear when he’s tired after he eats a heavy meal. He bought this because he wanted me to start wearing my bracelet out (I didn’t wanna wear it till it was complete, lol).
It took me several years to have a full evenly spaced set of charms on my bracelet since I’ve read The One Hundred about five years ago. Now, whenever another lady asks me about my bracelet, it brings me so much pride and joy to share my story with them. I hope to someday pass it down to my daughter (if I have one) or wear them when I’m old and wrinkly while my grandchildren play with these little while sitting on my lap.
I was thinking about starting a new bracelet or to add in more charms to signify the new stage of my life – a wedding locket of Shine and myself, baby girl/boy booties for when we have children and one of our home with our door number engraved in.
Do you have a personalized charm bracelet? I would love to hear all about it!