Many of you know I have a rather large charm bracelet collection, and when I asked what y’all would like to see on the blog, I had many requests for my charm bracelet collection. Since then, I’ve been debating on how to go about doing this, because I have so many, and ultimately decided to split my collection into three posts.
For the most part there are two kinds of charm bracelets out there; ones that are personal, they are built up over the years by the owner purchasing individual charms and attaching them to a bracelet, then there are pre-made charm bracelets, often they feature several charms (I have a handful that only have one charm), and often with a theme, already attached. Typically personal charm bracelets are built using sterling silver charms, while pre-made charm bracelets are made using cheap “pot metal” and then often chromed, and/or painted with enamel. Like individual charms, pre-made charm bracelets made excellent souvenirs, and there are many that were made for a specific location, like Las Vegas and Hawaii. Because of the various types, and theming, I have decided to share my collection in the following way:
The subject of Disney and Disneyland is a love it or hate it category for many, and as I have quite a few, I thought it best to give it its own volume.
Most of my charm bracelet collection is made up of vintage pre-made charm bracelets, but I do have a few personal charm bracelets, which I will focus on today, as well as a couple new charm bracelets.
I built my very first charm bracelet, when I was 12 or 13 at the time, at oddly enough an auto-racing event in Portland, as one of the vendors was a charm bracelet booth. All new charms, I chose a relatively random assortment, but they were all “retro” in some way, and looking back, rather cliche, a record player, a poodle, a pair of dice, the Eiffel Tower, etc.
I originally intended to add to this charm bracelet, and the process of looking for individual charms at jewelry booths at antique shows and in display cases at antique malls introduced me to the world of vintage jewelry, including pre-made charm bracelets, which I began to buy around this time. Also in looking at individual charms and pre-made charm bracelets, I developed the idea to have themed charm bracelets, instead of adding to this first one. There was just so many charms out there that I liked!
Over the years I expressed interest in wanting a western themed charm bracelet, and oddly I never found a pre-made one, although I have quite a few now. Then for Christmas one year my dad presented me with one that he had built for me using vintage charms, and there was plenty of room to add more charms! This has quickly become my favorite charm bracelet, and has reached the point where I am doubling up links with two charms.
I never once thought the world of western charms could be so vast. I’ve found the typical stuff, such as a covered wagon, chaps, boot, but I’ve also found a peace pipe, tomahawk, and various full figure interpretations of cowboys and Native Americans. This charm bracelet features strictly vintage charms I or my dad have found at antique malls/shows and flea markets, with the exception of the jackalope charm, which I purchased new on Etsy, because I just had to have a jackalope! I originally had many Mexican themed charms on here as well, but as I found more true cowboy and Native American charms, I decided to start a Mexican themed charm bracelet. Sadly, that bracelet is still awaiting an actual bracelet, and the charms are just sitting in a bag. One day it will get put together!
At one antique show I found a Mickey charm, and bought it thinking I would start a Disney themed charm bracelet. Sadly I had no idea how difficult to find or expensive sterling Disney charms would be! So this charm bracelet is rather sparse. However, my collection of pre-made Disney charm bracelets I think makes up for it.
At another antique show I found a charm that was a create of California oranges, and I immediately fell in love. I decided it would be fun to develop a California themed charm bracelet. I quickly found a classic California bear, a surfer, gold miner, and palm tree, and recently found amazing location specific souvenir charms. You might spy a charm of the Liberty Bell on the far right, and wonder what it’s doing on a California charm bracelet, but what is so unique about that charm is that it explicitly reads “Liberty Bell Knott’s Berry Farm” on the bottom, meaning it was sold to represent Walter Knott’s recreation of Independence Hall at Knott’s Berry Farm (you can read about my visits to it here and here).
When it comes to purchasing vintage charms, Etsy is indeed a great resource and you can spend hours searching through pages upon pages of vintage charms, and honestly if I did that, I would be flat broke. I personally find joy in uncovering charms in person at antique malls, shows, flea markets, etc. There is a certain level of thrill to digging through a box of charms and unearthing gems.
That wraps up the first installment of sharing my charm bracelet collection! I hope you enjoyed! And I’ll post again soon with a much longer post sharing my pre-made charm bracelets!