charm bracelets: what’s your story?

charm bracelet

For boys maybe it’s baseball cards. I’ll have to figure it out. Girls, I know girls.

When I was a toddler my grandparents gave me a gold heart charm locket with a diamond in its center. The locket opened, and I wear it still today.

I love gifts like this, long ones. The gifts that stay with us throughout our lives, the ones we cherish enough to pass on. I’ve wanted, for a long time now, to get a gold charm bracelet for me, and a matching one for Abigail. Each year, our tradition would be to get a new charm. Maybe we’d mix and match. They’re literally links, a link to where we’ve been, reminders of fads and fights and the bond between a mother and daughter. Even if it will be many years before she can wear the bracelet, I’d still like to the collect the charms now, so she too can say, "I was given this when I was just a little girl."

umbrellaI like yellow gold best for a charm bracelet. I’ve written before that I’ve never, ever, been a big fan of Tiffany’s. Love the color, but it’s kind of a cliche of a store, even if it is timeless. It’s also so Long Island, the way David Yurman is so Texas. So, I’ve always preferred more "creative" jewelry, thinking outside the Tiffany Box. However, I’ve got to say, Tiffany’s has just about the best charms I’ve ever seen, but with prices to match. What I love best, though, is the bracelet. The links of the bracelet open, so you can insert the charm, rather than each charm needing a big honkin’ clasp. I also love the possibility that you can then attach anything, and it won’t need a clasp. Brilliant. I think I might just cave and get the Tiffany bracelet.

I love the rain. LOVE. Love so much I should move to Seattle. Love the mood of it, and storms are just outright sexfests. They’re best in the afternoon when it should be bright, but the sky darkens and it feels like 7pm. Love it. My father will sometimes call complaining of the weather. "Ugh, it’s still raining. Enough. I can’t play golf in this. But you, you love this weather." I do. I also love this Tiffany umbrella charm, which I know some might associate with bad luck indoors, but to me it represents so much more: opening up, renewal, and that enchanting whimsy of a little girl twirling her umbrella. It represents cycles and new days, growth. I think I’ve just come upon my new power symbol (sorry Mr. Turtle). I could see myself wearing it alone, on a very thin, barely there, fine gold chain. But at $950? Talk about saving for a rainy day. What I need is an 18k gold knock-off.

917037 29692

I also love this Pail & Shovel by Roberto Coin (with his signature small ruby on back) for my Little Miss, Abigail Ruby. I’ve found it for $675. Yikes. This is an expensive story, no?

Charms tell a story. Here’s mine: NYC Taxicab, Martini with emerald olive, A camera that opens or where the dial turns, A laptop or pen, An artists palette to represent creativity and imagination, A bikini (to represent my time in the Hamps with the chicklets),  A tennis ball, or something to represent my crazy ball-chasing-chewing-hiding between sofa cushions LINUS, A Jean Schlumberger Turquoise egg (Turquoise is the birthstone of the sprouts), A Moose or a scale, or perhaps a powder puff (hello Chubb Rub), and then, when I make a movie I’ll need to add a film reel… I kind of love that I don’t know what’s next. In the meanwhile, I can dream up wish lists on ThisNext:

how charming

If you could tell your life’s story in a charm bracelet what charms would you include?

A YEAR AGO: (Un)comfort Food, Slacker Mom

5 YEARS AGO: Turks, Frogs, and Pink Elephants



  1. Love it :). My mom has a white gold one, and a few years ago she took a bunch of my really small pendants and had them sodered and turned into charms – a tiny D, a tiny flower, a tiny butterfly.. I’ve in turn added a high heeled shoe and hand bag to hers :)

  2. I was given a gold bracelet with a tiny little heart clasp from my parents when I was a little girl. I was only allowed to wear it to church or for special occasions. Of course this rule was implemented after my mom (foolishly) bought one of those gold necklaces with a few small gold balls on them, do you remember those?
    She had one, so she bought one exactly like it for me. Little did I know it was real gold and real gold is soft, and I sunk my teeth into those balls (that sounds bad, hee!) out of habit. The necklace was ruined, and my mom learned a valuable lesson.

    I also had a baby bracelet that was my mom’s when she was a baby. I love the idea of baby bracelets.

  3. My grandmother had a charm necklace with all sorts of quirky charms from her travels around the world. Me and my cousins used to play with it all the time when we were younger. A few years ago she gave it to me. I was so surprised and honored. I’ve only added one charm but I love the idea of adding to something that she started and one day passing it onto another girl in our family. One of the charms is a locket with a picture of my Pop-Pop in it from his days in the navy. This is my prized piece of jewlery. Abigail will love and cherish this bracelet… great idea!

  4. I have a silver charm bracelet I started sort of late (20s) but it is chock full of old things that are not even really charms: A locket of my grandmothers, a subway token from NYC, a tiny silver box, lots of weird stuff that I have loved forever.

    This will be an amazing gift for your daughter.

  5. My great grandmother always wore a silver chain with silver saints medals around her neck. When I was a baby, I used to teeth on them whenever I sat in her lap. She passed away when I was about 10 years old and she left me the necklace (teeth marks and all). Since then I’ve continued to receive saints medals from other family members and it just makes the necklace even more special.

  6. I love my charm bracelet. It started when I was a teenager and I now have 2 of them. (James Avery) I can remember who gave me which charms and (mostly) for which occasions. I have over 40 charms total and love every single one of them. When my girls get older, it will definitely be a gift I will give them.

  7. My Mom always had a charm bracelet when I was little as did my Granny and it was always neat to hear about each of the charms. When I was a girl my Mom bought me one and it is full of charms. I’ve actually thought about starting another one. They are great for Mothers and Daughters.

  8. I had a sterling silver charm bracelet when I was little. Now I wonder where in my mother’s house it ended up. A Christmas project to hunt it down!

    And I love Caitlin’s grandmother’s idea of charms from her travels. I travel twice a month for work and this would be a fun project to start to gift myself.

  9. You’ve inspired me to wear my charm bracelet today :)
    Mine is in silver, it’s mostly “funny” charms that my mom brought me back from a trip to England. I think I must have been around 10 at the time. There are a few “normal” charms like the DC Capitol Building (added later) and a silver seashell that opens to reveal a little pearl, but then there’s a toaster with two little toasts that move up and down, and a barrel that opens to show a little sleeping wino in a top hat. I love it because it isn’t really “fancy” but it shows my mom’s sense of humor and whimsy, which to me is what a charm bracelet is all about.

  10. So you just called someone a Bitch on twitter for not liking your book? Free speech, girlfriend!

    1. Author

      Oh, whatever. It was a joke. And yes, there are 31 flavors for a reason. Not everyone has to like you–a lesson I learned when I began this blog five years ago. Just feeling a wee bit sassy today. Which is code for bitchy.

        1. Agree with Anon.

          Really? A joke–pretty low-brow if it was a joke. Calling someone a bitch is pretty uncalled for in this scenario. You try to project this image as a confidant person who doesn’t care what other people think. Instead, you come across as catty and insecure.

  11. My mom has a charm bracelet that she collected over many years. I’ve always coveted it, but now it appears to be in the possesion of my sister. I’m crushed.

  12. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my charm bracelets, and would be heartbroken if they were lost! I got my first at age 7, sterling silver, and it’s charms span the first 40 years of my life…mostly my travels…22 states and 9 foreign countries. It’s a treasure. At 40, it was time for a new charm bracelet, one to span my next 40 years, this one still has a few ‘places’ but is more about being a mommy, watching my family grow and the loves in my life, and my personality.

    I have even put a word in my sons ear…if you find a gal you really really really like…make her first gift a charm bracelet with a first charm…then you can add to it as your relationship blooms and grows..and even if the relationship doesn’t work out, she’ll always remember you because of the thoughtful gift.

  13. I hope Abby becomes all that you want her to be. God forbid she not like these oh so girly things you’ve created in your mind for her long before she existed. The expectations you have for your mother/daughter relationship seem so set in stone for someone who’s best friend ended up being the father that laughed when the kids called you moose. You seem to like your mom well enough, but at times it seems you are trying so hard to create these traditions and this relationship with your daughter as opposed to it naturally happening. I wonder how hurt you’ll be if Phil (the “iron fist”) ends up being Abby’s best friend and confidante instead of you.

  14. Wow, Danielle, that was a pretty shitty comment right there. Are you a parent yourself? I’m curious.

  15. You people take all this wayy too seriously.

    And to Danielle of the snarky comment: I love the idea of a mother-daughter tradition. I treasure the things my mother gave me now that she’s been gone 10 years. And while her taste wasn’t mine, they are a great source of memories.

    Some family traditions occur naturally, but that doesn’t invalidate those that are planned and just plain thoughtful and nice, like this one. I hope you do it. And if Abigail grows up a girly girl, a bull dyke or transgender, she will LOVE that she has those mementoes from her mom.

    and that’s a fact.

  16. I totally love this idea of the “power symbol.” I have no idea what mine might be though — I’m one of those people who hates rain, finds it depressing, so an umbrella is out! There are some animals I’ve always liked, but with no real symbolic reason I can tease out of it. Sometimes I think the places I’ve been to define me more than where I’m from, so many an airplane or something travel related? Tiffany has a cute charm for that:

    (PS, on Tiffany’s, I don’t know if it’s a Long Island thing, but it might be a Jewish thing? Every girl for her Bat Mitzvah where I grew up got the Tiffany heart necklace and the chunky bracelet with tag charm… I’ve grown to love these pieces but it is kind of a joke how ubiquitous they became, so I can understand your aversion)

  17. Not sure my daughters would be into a charm bracelet.. Me either. This may sound completely bonkers but my collecting thrill revolves around junk shops searching for vintage spoons of places I have visited. Remember spoons were so hot so long ago? So rewarding to find them in silver!

    Whatever one likes to collect is wonderful I think, but did almost cough up a lung at the price of that umbrella charm. I mean please, whoever buys that or similar needs to give their head a shake and find a charity near and dear to them I say!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.