Queen Victoria’s own fascination with charms, jewelry and pendants made charm bracelets enormously popular amongst the gentry of the time, as a luxurious fashion item. It was common for the wealthier classes to show off their wealth by wearing elaborate and exotic clothing, and the wearing of charm bracelets as a fashion accessory.
Queen Victoria routinely gave charms as New Year’s Eve gifts, and Prince Albert often designed charm bracelets for Queen Victoria to commemorate birthdays and other special occasions.
One such simple heart charm bracelet was a special gift from Albert to Victoria, first presented on November 24, 1840, three days after the birth of their daughter Vicky. The bracelet had one enamelled heart locket containing a lock of the princess’ hair. At the birth of each subsequent child, Albert added a new enamelled locket with one of the child’s curls inside.
It wasn’t until World War II, however, when soldiers, who collected trinkets as a reminder of men they knew, the women they loved, and their time in battle that the wearing of charms really took off throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Fighting, often away from their loved ones for years at a time, soldiers would buy small reminders of the places they had been as presents for their families back home. Such presents, some bought, others found, seemed to encapsulate moments from the soldiers’ time away and as such charms became hugely popular as a means of capturing emotion and personal memories. Since then charms have often been collected as reminders of good times, and because they signify a great amount of sentiment which their wearers wish to carry around with them.
As a result of this, charm bracelets became immensely popular throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and as a popular gift on a girls’ 16th or 18th birthday or as a wedding or engagement present. The nature of these modern charm bracelets meant that new charms could be added and old ones removed and kept. This meant that girls and women were able to change facets of their charm bracelets on a daily basis to express their own mood or thoughts that day. It is this aspect of charm bracelets which have kept them immensely popular since then.
Nowadays charms and trinket bracelets are highly sought after the world over. Ever popular with young celebrities, charms have recently been used to promote charities, religion, good times, and just plain fun, as well as carrying the sentiment which comes with every one.
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