MONICA RICH KOSANN ON HOW TO BUILD A CHARM BRACELET
Legendary fashion designer Elsa Schaparelli, film goddess Elizabeth Taylor, style icon Duchess of Windsor and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy all had one thing in common – their wrists all dangled and changled with charms that told of the most significant moments of their lives.
The Maestro of the modern day charm bracelet, jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann can be added to that list. Her bracelets are her personal signature. Whether she is chicly dressed for a trunk show at Bergdorf’s or carrying a yoga mat in one hand with her other holding a cup of morning coffee- her wrist is encircled in heavy links of gold.
She also believes that every woman should have one of their own- to tell the story of the sentiments, accomplishments, great loves, hopes and dreams, the big ‘carpe diem moments’ and the adventures that we love and hold dear. So for the debut issue of BeJeweled, I asked Monica to share her tips for building a charm bracelet and to let us in the secret meanings of her personal charms.
Although Monica looks to antique and vintage bracelets for inspiration, the charms in her collection are re-invented with a current sensibility—dimensional and weighty, offering different meanings to different wearers—and, as she describes them “sexy to wear and to hear.” She understands that, like many women, you might have inherited a charm bracelet from your grandmother, mother or both and she knows that when women begin to describe each one of their charms, the story of their life will unfold.
1- ALLOW YOUR STORY TO UNFOLD:
“Some women believe they need to fill up their bracelets with charms immediately but your life doesn’t happen in a day. It’s your story- allow it to unfold organically by starting with the style of bracelet you would like to wear and the one (or few) charm/s that represent those occasions and memories you want to remember and celebrate.You may even start with a charm that was given to you earlier in your life to commemorate your first momentous achievement, for example. Eventually your bracelet will get fuller as your life does.”
2- THE BIG EVENTS:
“I always suggest that your first charm bracelet should hold the larger than life ‘carpe diem’ moments, the adventures and the events that are truly personal and heartfelt. We all have hobbies and charms that represent them. They can be saved for a later bracelet. Look for those charms that depict what’s most significant to you. Eventually, you can have more than one charm bracelet- you can have a few and you can wear them together or wear the one that’s most evocative of how you feel at a specific time.”
3- SELF PURCHASE:
“Don’t wait for someone to buy a charm for you if you can buy it for yourself. Of course it’s wonderful to receive charms as gifts—from your husband for anniversaries or the birth of children or other occasions you share but, if you are celebrating an accomplishment. remembering your beloved dog or rewarding yourself for overcoming a fear, for example, purchase that charm for yourself- it will always give you joy to look at and remind you always that you alone achieved your goal and assigned a memento to it.”
4- WEAR THEM WITH WATCHES:
“They look great with large faced time pieces. If you own a big chunky watch and the bracelet- then by all means wear them together. And, yes, they will get scratched up but they are yours and are representative of your life and your style and they should look like they are a part of it. You should wear these pieces through everything and with everything. The little dings, scratches, and imperfections can be polished out but why would you? They are also a representation and a part of real life.”
5- BE YOURSELF:
“Don’t worry about what the charms mean to other people. It’s about what they mean to you- for example, I wearing a skiing charm and although I have been skiing ever since I was little that’s not why I wear it. It’s on my bracelet because my mom bought it for me and so it always reminds me of when we took these amazing family trips to Austria every year. So for me it’s representative of adventure and wonderful times with family.”
6- MIX IT UP:
“Fit as many charms on the bracelet as you can. The sound is sexy and it’s also sentimental, reminding you of hearing your mom cooking or a visit with your grandmother. It’s okay to mix antique, vintage and modern charms if you have more eclectic taste and love different patinas, metals, shapes and details from a variety of time periods.”
“Take note that when Elizabeth Taylor and The Duchess of Windsor’s charm bracelets went up for sale at auction they went for way above their estimates –the bidders wanting to purchase these legendary women’s stories and not just the gold on their wrists.” Monica adds.
A CHARMED LIFE
Monica shared some of the meanings of the charm bracelet that she wears with everything—a bracelet that is sentimental, marking occasions and family
“I wear a continent of South Africa charm to remind me of a favorite uncle, my mom’s brother who lived in Brazil. He loved adventure like I do and ever time he traveled, he would bring my mother a charm that represented something about the culture of where he had been. Whenever I travel (which I do a lot –I feel like this charm brings me good luck).”
“Speaking of travel, it is such a major part of my life that I have a compass to represent the adventurous side of me. It also reminds me that I will always find my way and the direction in which I am supposed to go next.”
“I have an image case charm from my collection which contains the photos of my two daughters from the time they were really young girls. For me, carrying photos of when they were little, shows me how much they have grown and what amazing women they have become.”
“When my dad passed away I found an old postcard he sent to me, I had part of the card that said, ‘loved dad’ in his handwriting etched into the charm,”
-“My gold disc with a recessed diamond dog paw started with the name of my first dog who passed away. But then I thought I should add the names of all my dogs who are sadly gone and the ones that are now present and add joy to my life.”
There are of course more charms and more stories but I think I will end on some of Monica wisdom, “there will be new events to remember and conversations to be had and memories to build”…
…And always more charms to add!