Archive for the ‘Charms’ 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


Great New Offers From Stella & Dot and Links of London

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

It’s a new year and the craziness of the holidays are behind us. Everyone is back at work and school, and frankly, things feel a bit drab after all the glitz and glamour of holiday parties and all that time off. And this really is the dreariest part of winter – cold and dark, and summer is so far away. How about some jewelry to cheer you up! :-) Even though the shopping frenzy of December is behind us, there are still some great deals to be had, and the new spring collections are out. And Valentine’s is just around the corner!

Here are some great deals going on at the moment:

Stella & Dot

The Stella & Dot’s 2014 Spring Collection has arrived! Featuring fresh colors and a dazzling amount of sparkle, these new pieces are amazing!

And, for the month of January, Stella & Dot is offering a stylist signup bonus: If you sign up today, you will receive $450 in free accessories (instead of $350) for only $199, how cool is that!!

Links of London

Links of London USA

The Links of London SALE is now on with up to 50% off selected lines of jewelry and watches for women, men and children.

New Arrivals at Links of London

Sundance

Sundance Catalog

Over 200 new and unique items have arrived at Sundance Catalog!

Waxing Poetic

New from Waxing Poetic

 

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…)

New Pandora Charms and Beads

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Everyone is releasing new items and holiday collections this time of year, and Pandora is no exception.

Their new holiday collection is all about glitz and glam, and I really like it. New beads include five new Pave beads – round beads pave set with glittering cubic zirconias in different colors (clear, blue, black, brown and pink), and a sterling silver Christmas stocking bead. (more…)

How To Make Paper Beads

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

It’s really kind of crazy how many catalogs we get in the mail, especially this time of year. I like leafing through many of them, but pretty and inspirational as they are, I don’t really need 30 Pottery Barn or Sundance catalogs in one year.

Every time I put a pile of them in the recycling, I used to think to myself: there must be something I could do with these instead of just throwing them out. And there is! There are tons of paper crafts and DIY projects you can use them for, and one of my favorites is making paper beads. (more…)

The New Holiday Collection From Trollbeads

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

As usual, autumn is zipping by at the speed of light, and it’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is only a week away… Time to get gift lists in order and start shopping!

Trollbeads released their latest holiday collection, and I have to say, it’s one of my favorites to date. There is a little bit of everything – cute, gorgeous, blingy and fun.

Glass Beads
The new glass beads include 2 limited edition collections, one in traditional red, white and green and one in a more subdued white, gold and black color scheme. There is also 1 new glass diamond bead, the “ice blue” – acrisp aqua with 13 cubic zirconias, designed by Lise Aagaard.

And these (below) made me smile the first time I saw them: adorable dangle Christmas ornament glass beads – how cute are they?! I could see putting a base bracelet in a gift box and tying one (or more – they are sold both as single charms and in sets of three) of these to the ribbon. Wouldn’t that be a great gift presentation?

Sterling Silver Beads
The new silver beads include the round “winter snow” and “Christmas rose” beads, cute penguin and polar bear beads, both with babies, a bead with a family of seals, the “pebbly” winter berries bead, the (in my opinion) rather oddly shaped Bougainvillea bead (which also comes in a gold version, with diamonds), the softly shaped heart and the adorable Christmas Tree bead (which is assembled in quite a clever way).

They are also introducing their first bangle bracelets, which come in sterling silver in four different sizes, and I know is something many have been waiting for.

A nice new collection, and, as is most often the case with Trollbeads, pretty affordable as well (perhaps with the exception of the gold Bougainvillea bead). Happy shopping! :-)

All images: Trollbeads


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)


Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets vs. Pandora Style Beads

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

If the old adage “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is true, then Pandora should feel very flattered. If you have ever shopped for Pandora charms online, you know that there are literally millions of sites out there offering “authentic Pandora charms”. But are they? How can you be sure that what you’re buying is indeed an authentic Pandora bracelet or charm? I have received a LOT of questions regarding this, so I thought I would dedicate an entire post to the subject, in question and answer format:

How Can You Tell Authentic Pandora Beads From “Pandora Style” Beads And Charms?

All Pandora beads are made from sterling silver, 14 or 18k gold, so anything else is not authentic. In addition, everything is stamped with:

  • A Maker’s mark (ALE, which stands for Pandora’s founder’s Dad, Algot Enevoldsen)
  • A Quality mark (S for silver, G for gold). Note: this is a more recent addition so if your older beads, like mine to the right here, do not have it, that doesn’t mean they’re fakes
  • A Purity code (925 for sterling silver, 585 for 14k gold and 750 for 18k gold)

Unfortunately, many of the fake Pandora beads and charms on the market also have these markings, so to be absolutely sure that you are buying an authentic piece, shop at a Pandora store or one of their authorized online sellers.

Can You Find Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets On Sale? How About Other Pandora Specials?
Pandora charms do not go on sale. But authorized retailers often have Trunk Shows and other special events where you get a free something with purchase (like a free bracelet with the purchase of x number of beads or x dollars spent).

How About Retired Pandora Charms And Beads? Do They Go On Sale?
No, retired charms and beads are sold at their regular prices, no less, and not any more either. If you see Pandora beads advertised as retired and the seller is asking a higher price because they are “collectibles”, be careful.

Can We (The General Public) Buy Authentic Pandora Beads Wholesale?
There are quite a few sites that supposedly offer this, but no, we can not (only authorized retailers can).

Is It Possible To Find New Authentic Pandora Charms On eBay?
Yes, if they are pre-owned. Pandora does not authorize any of their retailers to sell on eBay (or other auction sites). People can of course sell beads and charms from their own collections, and these can obviously be authentic Pandora charms. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to buy a pre-owned bead, the best thing to do is to contact the seller, strike up a conversation, ask lots of questions, ask to see photos of the bead taken from all angles, and trust your gut instinct. If it’s a charm that is still being sold, compare the photos you get from the eBay seller to the ones on Pandora’s site and check for any discrepancies. Remember that pre-owned beads are not covered by any warranties.

Should I Buy Pandora Charms Online At All?
Yes, but make sure the seller is an authorized Pandora retailer.

Telltale Signs Of “Pandora Style Beads And Bracelets”
It’s easy enough when the seller openly advertises that what they sell is “Pandora style” but there are many out there who try to pass fakes off as genuine Pandora charms and bracelets. Price is an indication, but what else?

I did a quick Google search for “authentic Pandora charms cheap” and ended up with close to 250,000 results. Some were honest about the fact that they sell fakes, but many were not. Granted, the quality of some of these sites would be indication alone that what they’re selling is not the real thing (one site I looked at had even misspelled Pandora!), but there are also some pretty slick sites where customers could easily be fooled. The bracelets are photographed in a Pandora box where you clearly see the logo, and their charms even have the correct Pandora hallmarks. Sometimes it becomes clear that they are fakes if you read the fine print on the page, but not always. My advice? Read the small print everywhere on the site, look at the quality, compare what you see with what’s listed on Pandora’s own website, and again, trust your instincts. If you think the site is selling fakes, don’t shop there. In fact, you should report them to Pandora.

Pandora Compatible Beads
NOT fakes. It is openly advertised in the name that they are Pandora compatible beads – charms that fit Pandora bracelets, but not Pandora brand charms. They are not fakes, just other brands (it could be Chamilia, Trollbeads, or no-name charms, etc.”) that work with the Pandora charm bracelets, and they can be of just as high quality as the brand name charms.

So, in conclusion: you can take your chances with non-authorized sellers or save a bit of money (usually) by going with Pandora compatible beads, but if you want to be 100% sure that you’re buying an authentic Pandora charm, your best bet is to go with an authorized seller, either online or in a shop.