Archive for the ‘American Design’ Category

Charmed Bracelets And Necklaces For Mother’s Day

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

When I was (much) younger and asked my Mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day, she always replied “a hug and nice children”. Easy to give and I was happy to do so, but of course she deserved more than that. Even at a young age, I realized that being a Mom is not an easy job, and I was always looking for something special that would surprise and delight her. Sadly, my Mom is not with us anymore, but I still send her a (mental) hug on Mother’s Day.

For those who are lucky enough to still have their Mothers around, here are some recent finds that I think any Mom would love to receive:

Art-Charms

Who doesn’t love kids’ drawings and paintings? They are so creative and honest. I have one on the fridge that my best friend’s daughter did of me and my dog 4 years ago and it still makes me smile every time I see it. Cleveland-based company Art-Charms, founded by goldsmith Chad Verhoff, make adorable charms, pendants and cuff links from your child’s drawings (using only recycled precious metals). They come in circle, oval, heart or square shapes with the drawing engraved into the charm. I love the idea, and the final results really do look like the original drawing.

Photos: Art-Charms

Cut-out Art Charms

Swedish-born goldsmith Mia van Beek started her company Formia Design in Stockholm in 2001, but fate and love brought her to the US, and since 2004, she operates her business out of Virginia. Mia also creates jewelry from children’s’ art, but with a different look. Her charms, earrings, brooches, pendants, bookmarks and key chains come in gold and silver, and instead of being engraved into the pieces, they are cut out of the metal. The idea for the art jewelry came to her when she was trying to think of a personalized gift for her 3-year old daughter’s pre-school teacher. Her daughter drew a scribble, called it earrings, and that’s exactly what Mia turned her daughter’s drawing into.

Photos: Formia Design

Charmed Necklaces

Zoe, founder and owner of Three Sisters Jewelry Design, used to be an attorney, but a series of life-changing events made her change course. She opened a photography studio in one of my favorite places on earth – Solana Beach, CA – and also started taking metal smith classes. Eventually, Three Sisters Jewelry (named after her three daughters) was born, and today, she creates a large variety of hand-stamped silver and gold charm bracelets and necklaces. My sister-in-law has a charm necklace from Three Sisters, the “gigi’s jewelry box”, which has a locket with the silhouette of her daughter and two hand-stamped charms with initials. It is absolutely adorable, and my niece loves opening the locket to look at her own profile.

Photos: Three Sisters Jewelry Design

Recycled Charms

Retired TV and movie costumer Suz of Polkadot Magpie turns metal scraps from her custom knife maker husband’s workshop into these adorable personalized hand stamped charms and pendants. They come in several different shapes: hearts, cats, stars, birds, bunnies, etc. The bunny charms have a very special story: Suz worked on the set of Crash with the late Dennis Hopper (whom she called “The Bunny”) and when he told her that his illness had taken a turn for the worse, she created these charms to help raise funds for ACS (and still donates the profits from the bunny charms to them).

Photos: Polkadot Magpie

Fingerprint Charms

Therese and Sandra, the two artists (and Moms) behind London-based company Joulberry create these darling silver fingerprint charms and pendants. When you place an order, you first receive a print kit so that you can take an impression. The charm is then created from the print, and can also be engraved on the front and/or back with your child’s name, birth date, or any other message you would like.

Photos: Joulberry

Also check out the baby teeth charms on the Unusual Charm Bracelet Charms post, and don’t miss my post about Men Gifts for Father’s Day


Christmas And Winter Holiday Charms And Beads – Santa’s Sleigh

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Few things are as symbolic of Christmas in American culture as Santa traveling across the dark winter sky in his sleigh pulled by reindeers. He supposedly travels from the North Pole and delivers packages all over the world, although his home base varies depending on where you live: in Denmark, everybody knows he lives on Greenland, in Finland, he calls the mountain Korvatunturi home, and a few years ago, a Swedish company determined that Kyrgyzstan would be the ideal location for him, based on the rotation of the earth and where the majority of people are located.

Although in Sweden, he doesn’t arrive by sleigh at all; he walks, knocks on the door and comes in and hands out gifts in person. And in Holland, Sinterklaas arrives by boat from Spain. Regardless of what you believe, the image of Santa and his sleigh is a compelling one, and for today’s post, I have selected some of my favorite sleigh charms:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver charm bead by Chamilia

2. Sterling silver and garnet charm bead by Pandora

3. Sterling silver and red enamel charm by Links of London USA

4. 14k gold and enamel charm by HJ

5. Sterling silver and 9k gold charm from Clogau Gold

6. Sterling silver (also comes in 9, 14 and 18k gold) charm by Amanda Jo

7. Oxidized sterling silver charm by LGU

8. Enamel and gold plate charm necklace with a tiny diamante by Sparkle Thots

9. Sterling silver charm from JewelryWeb

10. Antique copper charm bracelet with pink glass beads by Ambient Zebra

For more Christmas-related charms, also see my Christmas Tree charms post.

All content © Charms Guide


Rose Quartz Charms, Bracelets And Pendants

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Pretty, powder pink rose quartz is THE gemstone when it comes to love, so I thought this would be a good time to feature it, with Valentine’s Day around the corner.

Rose quartz is (obviously) part of the quartz family (which also includes, among others, amethyst, opal, and citrine) and comes in colors ranging from very pale, translucent pink to dark rose. Some have rutile needles which gives the stone an asterism effect, and you can find transparent stones as well, but they are much more rare, and so pale in color that you can hardly tell they’re pink. (more…)

Travel Protection Charms

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

With holiday travel fast approaching, I thought a post featuring charms that protect travelers would be a timely subject. Travel insurance is all well and good, but with air travel becoming more of a hassle every time, gas prices constantly fluctuating, and fall hurricanes and winter snow storms are on our doorstep, those of us who travel can use all the added protection we can get!

All cultures have their own special way of doing this, and as we saw in the black cat charms post, in certain parts of England, having a black cat on a ship is believed to help keep storms away, and having one in the house is thought to bring fishermen back safely.

Here are a few other charms, amulets and talisman believed to help get you to your destination (and back) without hiccups (read about the protective properties of each below the images):

1. Runes
Runes are characters (often thought to have magical powers) from several different alphabets that were used by Germanic people around the 3rd – 13th centuries. This Nephrite pendant (which also comes in other materials) has a hand carved bind rune (a combination of two or more runes) of Raidho (symbolizing the journey of Life, means of transportation, street smarts, travel, movement) and Elhaz (symbolizing protection, safety). Handmade by Carine of NYC Spellbinder

2. St Christopher
While not formally a saint any more, St Christopher has long been considered a protector of travelers, and is carried by Catholics (and others) all over the world. Vintage silver and enamel St. Christopher charm with a 1940’s sedan on the reverse side. From Eleanor Brown Boutique

3. Traveler’s Prayer
The Traveler’s prayer (Tefilat HaDerech in Hebrew) is a traditional Jewish prayer recited at the beginning of a trip for a safe journey. Black Italian braided leather bracelet with a 14k gold and sterling silver charm inscribed with a part of the prayer. From Most Original Gifts & Jewelry
Most Original Gifts & Jewelry

4. Moonstone
Moonstone, a member of the feldspar group, is associated with much folklore. including attracting passionate love, aid in gardening, balancing emotions, and providing travel protection, especially on water and at night. All useful things to get help with for sure! Vintage (1930s-40s) 14k gold and moonstone pendant from Arnold Jewelers (via Ruby Lane)

5. Malachite
Malachite is a green copper carbonate said to help the wearer be comfortable in changing situations, assist with releasing negative experiences, and provide protection from accidents, especially in air travel. Handmade Malachite and sterling silver pendant by Alysha Bushey

6. Amber
Amber, fossilized pine tree sap from millions of years ago, was carried by travelers for protection in ancient times. Today, Amber is more known for clearing negative energy, and anybody who has been at an airport lately knows what a valuable property that can be! Cognac-colored Baltic amber pendant set in 925 sterling silver by Amber Regina

7. Milagros
Milagros (“miracles” in Spanish) are small charms that have been used in Spanish folk culture for centuries. They are traditionally used in religious offerings and for healing, but are also carried for protection and good luck. Donkey sterling silver charm. with a turquoise flower on an oxidized chain from Sundance Catalog

8. Kotsu Anzen
The Japanese Kotsu Anzen omamoris are traffic safety charms, amulets that protect travelers from accidents while for example riding a bike, motorcycle or driving. Polyester and rayon Kotsu Anzen from IKI Japan

9. Hermes
No, not the fancy brand with the gorgeous orange boxes. This time, we’re talking about the ancient Greek god of of roads and travel. Hermes had a lot on his plate, and among his numerous duties was being the patron god and protector of all travelers. Black onyx amulet engraved with the Star of Hermes by Best Amulets


Black Cat Charms And Pendants

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

With Halloween around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time for a post featuring black cat jewelry. I have to confess that I’m not a huge fan of Halloween myself; I actually think it’s kind of creepy (I know that’s the point, but I still don’t like it). But I do love cats!

Cats as symbols have a long history, as long as civilization itself. Through the ages, there have been many powers attributed to them – they have been considered good and evil, gods and witches, healers and bringers of disease, and some of the things that were done to them are too horrible to even think about (Google “France cat burning” and you’ll see). Black cats in particular were and are viewed with suspicion – we all know that a black cat crossing the street in front of you is supposed to be bad luck, and even to this day, rescued black cats are only half as likely to find new homes as their white, calico, gray, etc. siblings.

But, fortunately, they have also been considered good luck. In ancient Egypt, the cat Bastet was a goddess of love and protection; killing a cat was a crime that brought a death sentence, and many cats were mummified and buried in coffins, just like humans (archeologists found a cemetery in the city of Bubastis with over 300,000 cats in it!).

In England they were thought to bring fisherman back safely from the sea, and sailors believed that a black cat on the ship kept storms at bay. Receiving a black cat as a wedding gift is good luck, and there is an English proverb that goes “Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack”.

And in Japan, Maneki Nekos, very popular cat figurines that come in all kinds of materials, shapes, sizes and colors (including black), are believed to bring good luck and protection to their owner.

As I mentioned above, I personally love cats, and certainly think they are good luck, whether black or any other color. And their grace, beauty and air of mystique have always made them perfect models for artists of all disciplines, including jewelry. Here are some of my favorite recent cat charm and pendant finds:

1. Porcelain Maneki Neko good luck charm from Dandan Designs

2. Black polymer clay kitten with Czech crystal rhinestone eyes by Gabiscuits

3. Scrimshaw (pre-ban) ivory pendant with a hand-etched cat portrait by Linda Layden

4.Sterling silver and crystal two cats charmfrom AME Jewelers

5. Antique Czech glass cat charm with rhinestone eyes and a brass collar from Thistle & Bess

6. Playing black cat charm necklace from Trost Jewelry

7. Black cat resin charm necklace by Jessica Meyer of Treasured Charms

8. Enamelled metal playing cat charm from N2

9. Black enamelled sterling silver clip-on cat charm with a freshwater pearl from Thomas Sabo

10. Vintage (1960s) Wells sterling silver and black enamel cat charm from Princess Charming (Ruby Lane)


Green Jewelry Designs: Living Pendants

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

This time of year, I always start longing for a house in the country, or at least a house of my own with a garden where I could grow vegetables and herbs and spend sunny afternoons weeding and pruning and picking homegrown lettuce for a dinner salad. Maybe one day… for now, I’m in an apartment in a large city, and the only green around me are the trees in neighboring yards.

To add a bit more living nature to my life, I have house plants and plans for a windowsill herb garden. But I recently found another awesome way to add more greenery to my everyday life: plant jewelry. Crafty (and green-thumbed) jewelry designers have come up with a variety of styles that admittedly do need a little bit of maintenance (some are to be watered on a regular basis; others should get just the right amount of sun to stay healthy), but that’s a small price to pay to be closer to nature! :-)

Here are some fabulous finds:

1. Self-sustaining terrarium curve necklace from With Roots

2. Tiny handmade pendant vase for use with any plant of your choice. By Melinda Cunningham of Nature’s Adornments Pottery Studio

3. Short-lived, but very pretty (and an easy DIY) flower petal necklace. Idea and photo from Manekis pärlblogg

4. Maintenance free silver and plexiglass “twigs and moss” terrarium pendant by Tiny Terrains

5. The bold statement pieces from the Invenki line by Viola Living Jewels are made from a variety of metals, stones, feathers, and fairly sizeable plants

6. Potted succulent in a tiny handcrafted pendant pot (other plants are also available) from Recologies

7. The translucent acrylic polymer planter by Colleen Jordan works for both tiny cut sprigs and flowers as well as plants (you add the greenery yourself)

8. The wedding favor plant pendants from GemSprouts are created with recycled plastic and organically grown plants

9. The silver and Icelandic moss necklace by Hafsteinn Juliusson looks like a little window box – so cute!


Guinea Pig Charms And Pendants

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

In honor of March being Adopt a Guinea Pig Month, I thought we’d do a post featuring Guinea Pig charms and pendants. I love guinea pigs, they are so adorable, friendly and personable. It’s so cute how they start “talking” to you (more like squeaky happy little guinea pig sounds) as soon as you walk into the room, and how they sometimes jump straight up in the air (“popcorning”) when they are excited or happy.

Guinea Pigs, whose scientific name is Cavia porcellus, (they are often called Cavies) originated in South America where they were domesticated around 5000 BC already (although not so much for their cuteness but as a food source). The Peruvian Moche people worshipped them and often depicted them in their art, and statues of Guinea Pigs dating back to 500 BC to 500 AD have been found in both Peru and Ecuador.

They made their way to Europe in the 1500s where they became popular pets (Queen Elizabeth 1 of England was very fond of them). Today, they are popular all over the world, and it is estimated that there are around 3.5 million guinea pigs kept as pets in the US.

Unfortunately, many of those pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons – changing family and living situations, unplanned guinea pig babies, lack of time, failure to understand the extent of the commitment of owning a pet before getting one, etc. It is such a shame, because guinea pigs really are wonderful pets, quite low-maintenance, and so much fun.

Typical guinea pig life expectancy is around five to seven years (although they can live longer) and they are very social animals (they live in large herds in the wild), so if you consider adopting, please don’t get just one, your cavy needs a friend.

They will need a large cage with a solid floor to live in, toys to play with and a house to hide in, bedding to sleep on, and lots of time to exercise outside of the cage. Their diet should consist of lots of top quality hay, pellets (especially made for guinea pigs) and a variety of vegetables, especially those that contain a lot of vitamin C – guinea pigs do not produce vitamin C on their own, but they need it for their survival. The ASPCA has lots of great information about caring for guinea pigs, and a downloadable pdf with care tips.

If you are interested in adopting (or fostering) guinea pigs, contact your local shelter or go to Petfinder.com and type in your zip code to search for available pets in your area.

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver necklace with a tiny handmade guinea pig charm by California artist Sue of Lulu Bug Jewelry

2. 3D charms in 14k yellow or white gold from Esquivel & Fees

3. Sterling silver necklace with a trigger clasp pendant by Graham Gillett. From The Winking Cavy

4. Sterling silver charm bead (fits most European-style bracelets) by Ohm

5. Sterling silver clip-on charm from Charms by Carol

6. Custom-made (from your photo), hand painted Polymer clay charm by Michigan artist Jen of Blue Desert Rose

7. Pendant with a Beatrix Potter illustration of gardening guinea pigs by Funck Love Designs

8. Fused glass pendant with a tiny painting of a guinea pig. Handmade by Canadian artist Fanny Dallaire

9. Stainless steel Italian charm bracelet link by Clearly Charming

10. Sterling silver necklace with a hand detailed guinea pig pendant by Rochester-based artist and metalsmith Mary Walke

All content: © Charms Guide


March Birthstone Charms And Pendants – Aquamarine

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

In the modern tradition, the birthstone for March is the gorgeous Aquamarine (in the mystical tradition it’s Jade and in all others Bloodstone – more on those in separate posts).

Morganite, Aquamarine and Heliodor

Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family, which also includes Emeralds (green), Morganite (pink – purple), Heliodor (yellow), Goshenite (Clear) and Bixbite (red, very rare). Pure beryl has no color – these stones get their different hues from impurities, and in the case of Aquamarine it comes from iron. The stones are also almost always heat treated which enhances the blue color by removing some of the green and/or yellow that may be present.

The word Aquamarine comes from the Latin aqua (water) and mare (sea) and it certainly is an apt description of the colors of these stones, which range from a pale light blue to deep greenish hues. They are fairly abundant and are mainly mined in Brazil, but also in Madagascar, India, Nigeria, Russia, China and the US.

The stones can come in huge sizes and it is not unusual to see large cut aquamarines of 40 – 50ct. Aquamarines can be quite affordable, but the price of course depends on size and quality. Greenish-blue ones with lots of inclusions are at the lowest end of the price scale, while clear (no inclusions), intensely sky and dark blue stones usually fetch the highest prices. Having said that, beryl sometimes have inclusions that produce rare asterism (star) and cat’s eye effects, and aquamarines with either of those can be quite costly.

Aquamarine Healing Properties

Aquamarines are said to protect seafarers, enhance communication, help you stick to your goals in life, become less self-centered, alleviate depression and anxiety, calm fears, promote tranquility and a light heart and boost creativity and intuition. Holding an aquamarine while meditating helps you focus and go deeper into the meditation. It is also believed to help with the immune system (allergies), the thymus gland, spleen, heart, throat, lymph nodes, eye inflammation, arthritis, and varicose veins.

In addition to being the birthstone of March, it is the planetary stone for Pisces, the state gem for Colorado, the birthstone for October in the Roman, Hebrew and Arabic tradition, and the 19th wedding anniversary stone.

I love aquamarine and always carry a small rondelle with me when I’m not wearing aquamarine jewelry – I find it calms and centers me, especially when I hold it in my hand. Give it try yourself and see what you experience.

As usual, I have selected a few favorite aquamarine charms and pendants:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Handmade sterling silver and aquamarine necklace pendant by Colorado-based artist Nancy Green

2. Sterling silver Donatella flower charm with an aquamarine dangle. From Macy’s

3. Handmade sterling silver and aquamarine Tree of Life pendant by Florida-based artist Miss M. Turner of Phoenix Fire Designs

4. Vintage 14k gold bracelet with amethysts and aquamarines from Ross-Simons

5. Handmade silver and aquamarine owl charm by British silversmith and artist Caroline of Little Bird Studio 22

6. 14k white gold necklace with an aquamarine and diamond flower pendant from Angara

7. Copper, tin and brass Hamsa hand talisman with aquamarine, glass and Swarovski Crystals. From AmuletGifts.com

8. 14k gold and aquamarine bead charm from Pandora

9. Tiny sterling silver and aquamarine charm from The Black Bow

10. Handmade hammered sterling silver and aquamarine pendant by TatianaG

All content: © Charms Guide


February Birthstone Charms And Pendants – Amethyst

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Amethyst is a member of the Quartz family. Quartz is a mineral, the most abundant on earth, and not only does it make up around 12% of the earth’s crust, it is everywhere. Even those of us who are not living under a rock :-) have quartz all around, perhaps without realizing it. Your TV, computer, watch, cell phone and granite kitchen counter top all contain quartz.

Quartz is commonly divided in two groups – Macrocrystalline (which has visible individual crystals) and Cryptocrystalline (which has crystals you need a microscope to see, sometimes also called Microcrystalline). Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, and it is part of the Macrocrystalline group.

Amethyst is the birthstone for February (except for in the Mystical tradition, where it is Bloodstone. We will cover Bloodstone in the March birthstone post, because it is the birthstone for March in several other traditions), the astrological birthstone for Aquarius, Pisces, and Sagittarius and the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversary gemstone. It has been known and used “forever”, and it was one of the stones in the breastplate of Aaron. It is mainly found in Brazil; other locations include the US (Arizona), Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia and Russia.

Amethyst

Amethysts range in color from pale pinkish purple to deep violet and they are the most popular of the quartzes. In spite of that, they are very affordable (the darker the stone, the more expensive it is, generally), and if you’re shopping for the high end variety, you want to look for nice, clear transparent stones without inclusions (i.e. things like bubbles, crystals, graininess, cracks etc. inside the stone). In jewelry, you most often find them faceted or cabochon cut.

Amethysts are sometimes heat treated to alter the color slightly, and when lighter varieties are exposed to heat, they “turn into” citrine (so most citrine on the market is amethyst that has been heat treated).

Amethyst Folklore

The ancient Greeks thought amethyst could prevent intoxication and instill a sober mind. The name comes from the Greek “amethustos”, which means “not drunk”. In traditional dramatic Greek fashion, there is the story of Bacchus (a.k.a. Dionysus) and the young maiden Amethyst. A mortal had insulted Bacchus, who as revenge decided to let tigers go after the next human who happened to come along. It turned out the be Amethyst on her way to worship the Goddess Diana. Diana knew of Bacchus’ plan and to spare Amethyst turned her into a quartz pillar, which made Bacchus so remorseful that he wept tears of wine, which turned the now quartz pillar Amethyst purple.

Amethyst Healing Properties

Amethyst is one of the most important stones in crystal healing, believed to get rid of negativity and promote a more positive view on life, protect its wearer, aid in meditation, help when going through major life changes, heal a broken heart and make the wearer able to trust others and fall in love again.

It also helps with addictions, stress, nightmares, insomnia, anger, grief, and feelings of being victimized. On a physical level, it alleviates arthritis and balances the thyroid, helps with headaches and strengthens the skeleton.

And it might be worth it to invest in some amethyst jewelry even if it’s not your birthstone. Crystal Energy Therapist Karen Ryan says “If you could choose only one crystal to wear for healing, Amethyst is the one – it heals all things at all levels”.

Luckily, there are tons of gorgeous pieces to choose from. Here are some of my recent favorite amethyst charm and pendant finds:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver and amethyst clip-on charm from Pia Jewellery

2. Antique Victorian 15 and 18k gold and amethyst pendant (can also be worn as a brooch). From Fourtané Estate Jewelers

3. This is such a unique pendant! A slice of swirly Oco geode with an amethyst “focal point” set in sterling silver. By Glimmering Gems

4. Sterling silver and amethyst charm from The Black Bow

5. 18k white gold raja Meditation bell clip-on charm, set with black diamonds and amethysts. By Paul Morelli

6. Oxidized Pandora silver charm bead set with 3 amethysts

7. Sterling silver necklace with amethyst bear charm by Honeywild

8. 18k gold amethyst “Sweet Drop” charm (with one tiny diamond) by Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen

9. Small antique (ca 1900) Edwardian suffragette pendant in 14k gold set with an amethyst, a peridot and 22 diamonds. From The Three Graces

10. Customized sterling silver and amethyst charm by Lauren Grace

All content: © Charms Guide


Heart Charms And Pendants

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought a post about heart shaped jewelry would be in order.

The Heart – An Ancient Symbol

The heart as a symbol was used as far back as 10,000 BC, although scientists are not exactly sure what it symbolized at that time. In more recent civilizations, it was long believed that thoughts, reasoning and the soul were housed in the heart, and in ancient Egypt, the heart was not only the center of life, but morality and character as well, and your heart was judged to determined your future in the afterlife. The Egyptian Book of the Dead illustrates how after death, a person’s heart is taken to the judgment area and put on a scale opposite the feather of Maat. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the person was all set to enjoy whatever came after, but if it was heavy with sin, the heart would be eaten by the demon Ammit and the person would cease to exist. (so dramatic!)

But why is the heart symbol shaped the way it is? It doesn’t look anything like an actual human heart. And why do we associate that shape with love?

There are many (possible) explanations: Some say it’s because it resembles several different female body parts (use your own imagination here); some claim it is because of a vision Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque had in the 1600s (although that one doesn’t really hold up, because there are stained glass windows with heart symbols that way predates that – maybe she was just commenting on the decor!); it has also been suggested that it’s the heart in the Book of the Dead that inspired it (although I personally think that looks more like an urn or sometimes an actual anatomical heart, but…).

Then there is the theory of the Silphium plant. The seeds from this now extinct variety of wild fennel are shaped just like the heart symbol we use today, and they were widely used as a natural contraceptive. The plant grew in Cyrene (an ancient Greek colony where Libya is today), and was a great source of income for the area. It was extensively commercially traded and the seed pods were even depicted on their coins. It also had a slew of other health benefits (Pliny the Elder wrote that it could be used as an antidote for poison, re-grow hair, cure leprosy, sore throats, etc.), and unfortunately, demand was larger than supply, and it was picked to extinction.

And why it’s associated with love – well, we all know what the heart feels like when you’re in love (or going through a breakup). No mystery there.

Time for the visual part of the post – my selection of some favorite heart charms and pendants:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver filigree heart charm by Rembrandt

2. Vintage (ca 1945) Walter Lampl sterling silver and enamel charm from Morning Glory Antiques.

3. 10k rose gold charm with set with a red stone (they label it garnet, then say it’s labradorite in the text. Red labradorite has been much debated and a source of both great controversy and lawsuits in the professional gem world. I just wanted to mention that so you can make an informed decision about the piece. Regardless of the quality of the stone, I like it, and I think it’s pretty, so I included it). From Sundance.

4. Sterling silver heart chakra charm from Shanti Boutique Fair Trade Designs

5. Tiny connected custom stamped brass hearts on a sterling silver chain by MomentusNY

6. Brass and silver-tone base metal charms by Fossil

7. Anatomical heart charm by Pnut.

8. 18k white gold and diamond heart charm necklace from Tiffany & Co.

9. Sterling silver, brass and resin pendant by Waxing Poetic.

10. Sterling silver, cubic zirconia and rhodolite dangle charm bead from Pandora.

All content: © Charms Guide