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What is a charm?

australian charm braceletWe've all heard the word.  We may know about "charm bracelets" but just what exactly is a charm? Is a charm the same as a pendant? Are there different charm styles?  All these questions (and more!) will be charmingly answered in this post.
Charms have been popular for centuries. Oh My Giddy Aunt has been creating charm jewellery and keepsakes online since 2003, and we are delighted to say that these charming little symbols are still a very popular away to tell a story!
A single charm can be worn to make a statement, or several charms can be worn to tell stories of special people, places and times. There are many, many different charms, many different ways to wear them,  and today there are even different ways to attach them. 

What is a Charm?

solid gold bracelet and charmIn a nutshell, a charm is a miniature symbol in jewellery form, usually silver or gold, designed to attach to bracelets, bangles, necklaces, earrings or other keepsakes or accessories.  Charms range from tiny little first charms through to precious, highly decorated pieces that are passed on through the generations. 
Charms are usually smaller than pendants, although a charm can also be worn as a pendant with the right fitting or attachment.  Pendants are usually quite large and have the bail or fitting attached and most pendants are worn on necklaces rather than bracelets.
Charms worn on bracelets also usually move around a lot as they are on busy wrists, so it is important that they are quite solid.  Pendants can be a little more delicate as they are worn against the chest on a necklace. 
Oh My Giddy Aunts charms are all sterling silver or solid 9ct or 18ct gold, and the majority of them are still proudly made in Australia. Some of our charm designs are over 200 years old... and some were designed just the other day!

What are Traditional Charms?

gumnut gumleaf charmsWhen you think of a "charm bracelet" you are probably picturing the charms we refer to as Traditional Charms.  These are the charms we remember from childhood - they dangle on jewellery and are usually 4mm - 20mm in size. A charm can be a single charm on a jump ring or there may be a couple of little charms together such as the gum nut and gum leaf charms. These miniature sculptures are usually beautifully detailed and some charms even open and close or move! 
There is no right or wrong way to wear charms. While most people tend to collect charms in the same metal and size as the bracelet, they can be mixed and matched to tell any story you would like to tell.  The most important thing is to ensure that the bracelet is strong enough to hold the traditional charms you would like to include in your story.

Ways to Attach Charms

attaching charms to braceletsTraditional Charms come with light, open jump rings that need to be soldered closed to attach the charm to a bracelet or necklace. While soldering has traditionally been the most secure way to attach charms, today there are several other faster, less expensive charm attaching options available. 
If you would like to attach your charms yourself, or turn a charm into a pendant that can be worn as a necklace, there are a few options that will save you a trip to the jeweller. Find more details about charm attaching options on our site.  The option that suits you will depend on the weight of the charm, how it is going to be worn and the amount of wear it will get. 
Charms are designed to dingle dangle and move about and need to be worn with care to ensure they don't get caught in clothing or hair and pull, or you may find yourself reattaching charms!


Other Types of Charms

bebe block bead charmsSome charms are designed with a big hole in the middle so a chain can be threaded through the charm, rather than attaching the charm to the bracelet.  Big Hole or Bead charms have long been popular as they can be slipped onto a bracelet or necklace and added to tell a story with each bead. 

Another form of charm is known as an Italian Charm. These are flat, square charms that link together to form a bracelet that looks like a watch band. Worn by men and women these charms tell a very contemporary story and the symbols are often quite modern too.

australian linked charm bracelets

Some charms are soldered together so they create the links of the bracelet.  It takes a little more work and planning to create a linked charm bracelet this way but it can be done and your giddy aunts have several different designs made this way.


Telling the Stories of Life

Charms allow you to tell your story, your way.  It is a very personal way to create a keepsake as you choose the number of charms you would like and the symbols and meaning.  Some people create a sterling silver starter charm braceletcomplete bracelet, recording people, places or times.  Others choose a Starter Charm Bracelet that can be added to over the years to tell the story as it evolves. 

Due to the value of solid gold charms some people collect a charm each year that will be presented on a special occasion - perhaps a significant birthday or a graduation or achievement! 

However you choose to tell your Charm Story your Giddy Aunts would love to help.  And if you can't find the charm you are looking for on our website please just contact us - we have hundreds more in the bottom drawer!



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