As one of the oldest forms of jewelry, charms offer women the opportunity to adorn themselves in a quaint, very personal way. Scholars insist that charms were first worn by men and women more than 50,000 years ago as souvenirs and adornments, and were just pretty shells or stones. They became a good luck symbol (or charm) and were noted as a religious identifier 2,000 years ago.
Charms became very popular in the late 1800s in the United States, when Tiffany offered them in their catalogs. Queen Victoria is often credited with starting the modern-day craze of charm bracelets, and at Old Northeast Jewelers, in our estate division, we buy hundreds of 9k gold English charm bracelets each year. Usually they come with a heart-shaped lock and decorative key. These were popular from Queen Victoria’s time forward. Their value ranges from $100 to $300.
The real heyday of charms was the 1930s, when fine enameled and figural charms were made from platinum and gemstones and were retailed by Tiffany, Cartier and others (but usually ordered from Oscar Heyman – the masters of fine stone setting in the U.S.). If such charms are of a larger size and signed Tiffany or Cartier, they can bring $1,000 apiece; if not signed, they bring $100 to $500 each.
In the 1940s through the 1960s, 14k yellow gold charms of unusual shapes were made and still bring more than their gold value. Sadly, silhouette charms and the more conventionally shaped charms only bring the weight of the gold.
Today, our St. Petersburg store sells charms, but of the modern variety. The charms we sell are more like beads. Colorful sterling silver bead charm bracelets made by Chamilia fit perfectly and mix and match with Pandora beads.