Friday, January 16, 2009

How Charming!

Most little girls when they are around 7 or 8 start to poke around their mother’s jewelry boxes, I was no exception. I would spend hours sitting on my mom’s bed, her open jewelry box next to me with its contents strewn about the soft comforter. I would try on her diamond rings holding them up to the light to see how they sparkled, finger the delicate off white strand of pearls, and wish that her red ruby bracelet would fit my small, child sized wrist. Her turquoise drop earrings would weigh down my tiny earlobes. If I opened one of the lower drawers of the jewelry box I could find the iconic pieces of her teenage years – a spoon ring, her class ring, and my most favorite piece, her silver charm bracelet. I loved how all the charms dangled off of it and would ask her tell me the story of each charm over and over again. The bridesmaid charm from her best friends wedding, the lighthouse from her trip to North Carolina, a typewriter charm from the time she won best typist. I loved that each charm had a story, a reason for being added to the bracelet. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to have my very own and start adding my own charms and stories.

I received my own charm bracelet when I was 14, a birthday gift from my mom along with a little silver round birthday cake complete with candles charm. I begged my grandfather right there to affix the charm to the bracelet and I wore it with pride. That year, when we went on vacation I picked up a charm in the shape of the state of Florida. Slowly but surely I began to build my bracelet, just like my moms. Over the years some charms were given to me as gifts – a telephone because I would spent hours on the phone, a piggy bank because I went through a shopaholic stage, a tap shoe signifying my 12 years of dance lessons, the Washington monument from a class trip to DC, a sweet sixteen charm when I turned 16, a diploma when I graduated from high school. I kept adding charms from special events in my life that I wanted to remember forever. When I ran out of links I started doubling them up, two charms per link until my bracelet was more of a weapon than a piece of jewelry. A few years ago, I broke down and started a second charm bracelet, which is filling up quickly as well. I have charms from different countries brought back to me by friends, a gavel that I was given after sitting for the LSAT, the US Capitol building reminding me of my college internship, a Canadian coin from a weeklong trip I took with friends. I’ve also several other charm bracelets to my jewelry collection as well: one with ladybugs and daises, another with just hearts, a few Brighton state charm bracelets from trips that for one reason or another will always be incredibly special to me.

My very first charm bracelet is by far the most sentimental piece of jewelry I own. Every time I take it from my armoire to wear, my fingers go from one charm to the next. In most cases I can remember who gave me which charm. Each one tells a story, brings back a special memory of either a specific moment in time or a fun trip. If the charm was a gift from someone it usually conjures up memories of that person. When I was in high school Italian charm bracelets became very popular but I detested them—all the charms laid flat against the bracelet and it seemed like everyone had one. Yes, my bracelet is heavy and clunky, but I love it – it’s a statement and conversation piece, its something that tells my story, its completely different and unique, just like me!

That said, just today I added this Brighton charm bracelet to my collection:

I think its a beautiful reminder to always keep working for and dreaming of peace and I love that a portion of the proceedes goes to a charity that I chose (there were four or five different ones to choose from -- "some work to resolve violent conflicts -- globally or close to home; some strive to end world hunger and disease and others support those who courageously protect us--our tropps and their families."*).

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry, why is it your favorite? Do you have a charm bracelet that tells your story?

*From the Brighton romance card.


Kylie said...

Very cute! I love that bracelet!
My favorite piece of jewelry is a tie between my wedding rings and my Ruby ring. The wedding rings for the obvious reasons and the Ruby ring because it is the first piece of jewelry that Brad bought me. It's my birthstone and if I ever have a daughter her name will be Ruby after my grandmother that I was never able to meet.

Frank said... jewelry for least none that I wear in public ;)

I have a watch that Rachel gave me for my high school graduation present. I wear it every day.

Anonymous said...

i was never a bracelet girl. right now my fave piece is this simple pearl drop necklace of my mom's on a delicate silver chain. i find it so classy!

Andy said...

I have my grandma's charm bracelet that I really mostly have as a souvenir because it doesn't really fit me (too small)...

But my favorite piece of jewelry is definitely some jade earrings I have. And don't tell anyone, but they were found as part of some jewels belonging to some Mayan royalty.

Yeah, I'm special.

Trina G. said...

I too have a charm bracelet, that I started when I was 29. It has many different charms from places I've been and experiences I have been through. I love it and will give it to Valentina when she will appeciate it. I want it to be a token she will always remember me by. Right now my fave piece of jewelry that I don't take off is a green jade heart pendant that Sissy got me in Guatemala. I reminds me of when I first saw Valentina over web cam in Guatemala. Do you know that I love that girl???? LOL

alexa @clevelandsaplum said...

i got my charm bracelet on my 16th birthday and it is extremely sentimental for me. all the women in my family have one and when i turned 16 i got a charm from my mom's bracelet, my aunt's bracelets and my grandmother's bracelet.

it's a pretty powerful piece and i will always cherish it.

LBluca77 said...

Oh so cute. I love charm bracelets. My favorite piece of jewelry is my necklase that I never take off. It is silver with my name on it. Like the Carrie necklace in Sex And The City. I want to say it was only like $25 but I just can't seem to want to take it off.

Anonymous said...

i used to love digging through my mom's jewelry! she had so many pretty rings. sigh. even though i'm all grown up with my own pretty jewelry box now, she's still holding on to my favorite piece for me -- my grama helen's wedding band. the setting isn't really "me" so at some point she's going to take the diamond out of it and a diamond out of one of her rings and have it re-set. :)

my charm bracelet is one of the italian ones -- almost full but i haven't gotten any charms in the longest time. on it right now are my initials, a horseshoe for luck, a phone because i am ALWAYS on the phone, a "nashville" skyline -- i had wanted to move there at one point, might still be in the cards someday, two montana charms, cuz i'm the big sky girl, of course!, sunshine bear the care bear from my bestie/roommate, a black hills gold heart leaf from my mom and dad, a birthstone heart, a frog (i collect), a heart that says neice, a heart that says daughter, a pink one that says princess -- that's me! -- and a white glittery one from my pops that says "daddy's girl." that one's my fave. :)

anyway, that's all of them! :)

Anonymous said...

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Jen said...

i loved my moms charm bracelets as well!! she gave me my first one for valentines day, the hart charm is engraved with my name and the date and i still have it and would have to be a close second for favorite piece of jewelry right after my ring.

jamie said...

I love that bracelet!

I am more of a ring girl, myself.

Cherrie said...

I loved this post. When my daughter made her 1st Communion, we bought her a "very good" charm bracelet. I remember, my Mom had one when I was growing up.

Mandy said...

Kylie--What a neat idea of the ruby ring and your grandmother/daughter name.

Frank -- Watches count as jewelry.

chasinglibby--pearls are always classy.

Andy -- I need to add some jade to the collection.

Sissy -- what a beautiful idea of passing it on to Valentina!

Alexa-- sounds perfect, how neat that you were able to get one of your moms, aunts, and gma's charms.

Lbluca77--sentimental jewelry doesn't have to be expensive.

bigskygirl--what an awesome piece of jewelry to inherit one day!!

Fritz--I love that your mom had one too!

jamie--ohhh, rings are fun too!

Cherrie--awesome tradition to pass on to your daughter as well.

Auburn Kat said...

My sister gave me a charm bracelet a couple of yrs ago. Growing up, I always loved looking at my mothers!