Susan Page Davis is the author of more than forty published novels. A history major, she’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and also a winner of the Carol Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Awards and the More Than Magic Contest. Visit her website at: http://www.susanpagedavis.com.
I’ve had my charm bracelet since I was about thirteen, but I didn’t know much about these nostalgic pieces of jewelry until I wrote my new book, The Charm Bracelet.
It seems charms have been around since ancient times, but charm bracelets as we know them are a much more recent innovation.
Many cultures made and wore amulets or talismans, which were associated with magic, protection, and spirituality. Today we wear charms simply for their beauty and the pleasure they give us.
The Babylonians may have been the first to wear charms on a bracelet, from around 700 B.C. Ancient charms were made of many materials—shells, stones, clay, bone. Later the tiny figures were carved of ivory and semi-precious stones, and still later they were cast in metal.
Queen Victoria helped popularize charms and charm bracelets in the mid-1800s. Wealthy people at the time wore small, custom-made “charms” as pendants or ornaments on their watch fobs and clothing. The queen wore small lockets containing miniature portraits and locks of hair of her deceased loved ones. After Prince Albert died, she led the trend in “mourning charms” and bracelets carved of jet to be worn with the black dresses she favored for the rest of her long life.
With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, charms were machine-made and mass-produced. Now the middle class could afford the ornaments that previously belonged only to the wealthy.
In the United States, Tiffany and Co. introduced its first charm bracelet in 1889. This link bracelet held a dangling heart. People could add more tokens to the bracelet.
But it wasn’t until after World War II that charm bracelets reached the pinnacle of popularity in the U.S. Soldiers brought souvenir charms home from Europe, and soon jewelers were creating new styles of charms, which were given as gifts on any occasion. Travelers bought miniature representations of monuments they visited, such as Eiffel Towers or the Statue of Liberty.
Many women collected charms that symbolized important events in their lives. Hearts, graduation caps, baby shoes, and tokens engraved with significant dates were a few. The bracelets remained very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, with movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford seen displaying their own bracelets.
by Susan Page Davis
When Lisa Archer’s charm bracelet is caught in a mall escalator, she is rescued by a flippant but dashing EMT. Steve Rollins seems to understand only too well Lisa’s mixed feelings toward her escort, Dr. Bryan Cooper, who gave her the bracelet. Lisa and Steve meet again, and the sparks fly. Steve is sure Lisa hates him, and Lisa can’t help comparing vibrant Steve to mediocre Bryan, although Steve makes her furious every time she sees him. She tells Bryan she no longer wants to wear the charm bracelet, angering Bryan, and both are injured in an auto accident. When Steve responds to the emergency call and finds that Lisa is one of the accident victims, his guilt weighs him down. Will he have the chance to ask Lisa’s forgiveness and start over in his clumsy attempts to win her heart? With a lot of prayer and some manipulation from Steve’s sister, he may be able to charm his way into Lisa’s life.
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