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The History of Charm Bracelets

Early prehistoric charms found in Africa and Europe were worn around the neck, but ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians are thought to have worn their charms on bracelets as early as 600 to 400 BC. Later, charms were used as identifiers by many groups, including early Christians and Jews. During the Dark Ages, individuals also wore charms to mark their affiliation with certain rulers, political groups, or religions, and knights even wore charms superstitiously in hopes of gaining protection during battle. It was Queen Victoria who made the charm bracelet a popular fashion accessory, especially among the wealthy elite in Europe. She frequently wore them herself and also gave them to people in her circle as gifts. In 1889, Tiffany & Co. created its iconic charm bracelet, which remains popular to this day. Charm bracelets were even worn during the Great Depression; the wealthy wore charm bracelets made from precious materials while the impoverished wore charms made from broken jewelry items, hand-carved trinkets, or found objects. During the later years of World War II, soldiers would send trinkets home for their loved ones to use as charms, and charm bracelets remained popular throughout the 1950s, especially among teenage girls. Link bracelets (or Italian charm bracelets) were popular in the 1990s, while the famous Pandora charm bracelets had a moment in the early 2000s. Today, charm bracelets of all types remain a beloved piece of jewelry for many and often have sentimental value, since they are frequently given as gifts.

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