Charm necklaces replace bracelets as the jewel that reveals your creativity and personality

Karen Karch's charm necklace

Karen Karch’s charm necklace

I remember hearing both my mom’s and grandmother’s charm bracelets jangle as they walked into a room. The sound also has sweet memories —I watched them stir the batter of my favorite cookies and the many keepsakes on their bracelets would be revealed as I waited for them to let me lick the spoon. I am sure many women can recall times like these and the large link bracelets that held symbols of anniversaries, children’s birth’s, hobbies and other trinkets that offered a glimpse into their family’s lives and loves.

one of my charm necklaces in a theme “The Language of Flowers”

Renowned film stars and socialites also owned the ubiquitous charm bracelet. Elizabeth Taylor sometimes wore two together and definitely one of her own in the film Giant. The Duchess of Windsor wore her Latin cross charm bracelet to her wedding and another one with a Cartier heart that was inscribed “The Heart Has Its Reasons” (part of a quote by Blaise Pascal), which would become the name of The Duchess’ memoir. The bracelet had history, iconic status and was stylistically appealing throughout the 20th century. Fast-forward to 2016 and charm necklaces have replaced the bracelet, offering a twist on the classic style. The necklace features pieces that represent beliefs, superstitions, goals, and dreams. They tell the world a little bit about our personal tastes and styles and a lot about who we are.

Susan Cohen of Circa 1700 personal charm necklace

Many modern designers offer fully assembled necklaces and customized looks, which featuring a range of motifs and meanings from which you can choose and have a hand in styling and putting together. Although they are intricately and beautifully crafted, the most fun and most popular are those that mix antique, vintage and contemporary pieces, findings and chains . Below are a range from designers and jewelry enthusiasts on Instagram, which provide  inspiration  for all of you considering investing in these necklaces. They  evoke a feeling that is not only significant, but simply charming.

Danielle Rubin’s @Jasmyntea charm necklace


If you are considering assembling your own charm necklace with heirloom, new and/or antique styles, here are a few tips to consider:

➤ Decide if you want a modern or antique chain and findings. There are numerous styles of intricate and longer Victorian chains in lower gold carat that are both beautiful and accessibly priced. Or, you can mix two stylee of antique watch fob chains to build your necklace

Here I mixed one 9K gold Victorian chain and a watch fob chain as well as old dog clips and used a hand clasp as a charm

-There are also beautifully engraved Georgian and Victorian split rings in different sizes and karats. These were and still are used to hold multiple charms and also change and exchange how they were worn by the ring opening and allowing them to be slide on and off.

Different size Victorian  and Georgian split rings from Instagram’s @elizabethbespoketreasures

-An alternative, you might try is Circa 1700’s Cohen’s Eternal Love Snake Charm Holder which is based on the Georgian style but is heavier and available in two sizes, 14K and 18K yellow and rose gold, with customized colored stones in the serpent’s eyes.

Circa 1700 Eternal Love Snake charm holders with gemstone set eyes

-There are also dog clips from which you can hang charms in a few different sizes and in different karats of gold

-Stylized charm holders that can also act as charms are Marla Aaron’s now ubiquitous locks. They juxtapose a sleek almost industrial look but are also inspired by Victorian padlocks, according to Marla. They are available with engraving, gemstones, and in different sizes and a range of silhouettes. (See full story here)

Marla Aaron’s different size, shape and gem set locks

-Lene Vibes of Vibes has just introduced her feminine 18K gold garden motif safety pin collection, from which you can hang her enchanting small pendants or your own pieces and you can attach them in different configurations on a chain.

Vibes’ 18K safety pins that can hold charms

➤ Don’t be afraid to mix antique vintage and modern findings, chains and charms—the combination of these will add dimension and character to your necklaces

Alexis Kletjian’s mix of her design of a lotus shield with antique and vintage charms.

➤ If you are not using any specific findings, then you can create a station necklace or hang them at different lengths from different size jump rings to get a look where none are hidden.

Erica Weiner’s personal charm necklace

@jewel_stories on Instagram’s charm necklaces

➤ Go treasure hunting yourself at your local flea markets or antique fairs and choose what is meaningful or calls out to you. Mix these with pieces, which were handed down to you but you might not have know how to wear before.




➤ Don’t be afraid to mix metals in the charms, the chains and the findings. The necklaces with most personality are those that the creator/owner had an anything goes/ no-rules mentality. This allows for more spontaneity in styling.

Samtantha Knight’s charm necklace with a mix from her collection and antique pieces and one from Circa 1700

➤ Choose pieces that are symbolic and have talismanic or sentimental properties that speak to you.
Style the charm necklace in a theme, whether it be luck, love, protection or travel to name a few.

Karen Karch- all from the Karen Karch Fine Jewelry Collection that made it into her personal collection


➤ Wear what you love and what speaks to you or speaks about you.


Eden Daniels’ of @thedencollecive (The Eden Collective)  rare antique charm necklace

Most importantly, you can have more than one charm necklace, which have different themes or meanings.

Reprinted in part from with update info and photos as part of our three part series on  Not Your Grandmother’s Jewels


Laurell Stearns @LaurelStearns at Pass It On Ltd. Charm necklaces