Archive for the ‘Rembrandt Charms’ Category

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


Christmas And Winter Holiday Charms And Beads – Christmas Trees

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Trees have held a special meaning for people since ancient times, and bringing evergreens indoors during winter is something that has long been practiced in many cultures. In some countries, they were thought to keep evil spirits, illness and ghosts at bay; in some they were symbols of deities, and in others, they were simply a reminder that summer – and another growing season – would return.

The Christmas tree as we know it is thought to have begun in the southern parts of 15th century Germany, where people brought fir trees indoors and decorated them with apples. The trees were an important part of the Winter Solstice celebration, and they were believed to keep evil spirits away (who were supposed to be particularly active on Christmas eve). Apples later turned into ornaments, and Martin Luther (the Protestant reformer) is credited with contributing the tradition of adding lights. The custom spread through Europe, but did not reach the US until the early 1800s, and even then, many here regarded them as pagan symbols. It wasn’t until the early 1850s, when a slightly doctored print of of Queen Victoria and her family (in order to “Americanize” them, Prince Albert’s mustache and the Queen’s tiara were removed) with their decorated Christmas tree was published in the US that the Christmas tree became popular.

There is also an interesting variation on the story on how the Christmas tree came to be: the story of St. Boniface. St Boniface was Christian missionary in Germany in the 600-700s, everyone agrees to that, but the thoughts on his impact on the Christmas tree tradition varies. Some say he cut down fir trees in the woods of Thüringen and used their triangular shape to demonstrate the trinity, and the people in the area started bringing the trees indoors, although they hung them upside down from the ceiling. Some claim that when St. Boniface returned to Germany after an absence, he found that the locals had revered to their pagan winter celebrations, which included the sacrifice of a young man under Odin’s oak tree. Enraged, he cut down the oak with a single blow of an axe, which impressed and scared the people. As the oak fell, it had narrowly missed a small fir tree, and when the frightened people asked St. Boniface how they should celebrate, he pointed to the fir and told them to bring such a tree, which symbolized immortality and peace, into their homes.

Today, a Christmas tree is an essential part of the holiday in many countries across the world, even some that are not mainly Christian. They certainly add an unmatched coziness to the celebrations, and every time I walk into a home with a decorated and lit Christmas tree, I feel like a child again – that happy excitement and expectation you always had for weeks (or even months) leading up to the big event.

Now that we’re properly educated on the subject :-) , here are some recent favorite Christmas tree charm finds:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver charm by Rembrandt

2. Sterling silver charm by Amanda Jo

3. Sterling silver charm with a gold star by Brighton

4. Sterling silver charm with marcasites and cubic-zirconias by Judith Jack

5. Enameled pewter charm by Jewelry by Aimee

6. Pandora charm bead in sterling silver with a 14k gold star

7. Sterling silver charm bead for the Lovelinks Petit collection. By Lovelinks

8. 18k gold charm with emerald and blue and pink sapphires by Tiffany & Co

9. Rhodium plated charm with metallic green epoxy and crystals by Swarovski

10. Sterling silver charm bead by Zable

For more Christmas-related charms, also see my Santa’s Sleigh charms post.

All content © Charms Guide


Holiday Gift Guide Series – Cupcake Charms

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Chocolate Cupcake Charm Necklace from A Fine Distraction

I don’t think the cupcake craze of the last decade has escaped anybody’s attention. Magnolia Bakery in New York City is usually credited with starting it in the mid 90s, and their creations really rose to fame after being featured in Sex and the City. They are still as popular as ever, and have even gone worldwide: last year, they openend a bakery/store in the Dubai Mall. Tourists from all over the world still flock to the original NYC store as well – I went a few years ago with a friend who was visiting from overseas and had to see it (and eat a cupcake). It’s tiny! But the cupcakes are good.

These days, cupcakes are everywhere: now, there are many bakeries and stores solely devoted to making cupcakes, cupcake caterers, cupcake blogs, cupcake food trucks, cupcake books, wedding cakes, apparel, holiday ornaments, home decor, there is “Cupcake Wars” (an entire show about cupcakes) on Food Network; and what might just take the prize as the trippiest take on the sweet treats ever: cupcake cars from Nieman Marcus. These $25,000 customized motor-driven vehicles – which come with matching hats for the drivers – are surprisingly intended for adults!

There is of course also cupcake jewelry in many forms. Naturally, we are focusing on charms here, and I have put together a collection of some recent favorite finds:

From left to right, starting on row 1:
1. Amore LaVita sterling silver and enamel charm (note the little candle!)
2. Chamilia charm bead
3. CHARM IT! base metal and enamel charm
4. Diva Diamonds Sterling silver and Enamel Charm
5. Juicy Couture14k gold, enamel and rhinestone moveable charm
6. Links of London sterling silver charm
7. Pandora sterling silver and 14k gold charm bead
8. Sweet and Savory Trinkets polymer clay charm
9. Pnut white gold and diamonds charm
10. Rembrandt 14k Yellow Gold and enamel
11. Charming by Ti Sento Rhodium plated sterling silver, cubic zirconia and enamel charm
12. Tiffany 18k white and yellow gold charm with precious stones
13. Tiffany sterling silver and enamel charm
14. Sweet Bling “One Haute Cupcake” charm in 14k white and rose gold
15. Piercing Pagoda Sterling Silver and Enamel Charm
16. Zable sterling silver charm bead

For more gift ideas, check out my Unusual Pendants and Charm Bracelet Charms, Jewelry Men Gifts for Father’s Day and Charmed Bracelets and Necklaces for Mother’s Day posts (and stay tuned for more to come!)


Rembrandt Charms

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

We have talked quite a bit about European-style charm bracelets lately (Lovelinks, Troll beads, Biagi beads, Chamilia charms, and Pandora jewelry) but today’s post is about a famous brand of traditional charm bracelets: Rembrandt.

According to Rembrandt, their collection is the world’s largest, with over 16,000 traditional charms. There is indeed a huge variety of designs to choose from, and one thing that sets them apart from other brands is that each and every one is available in 5 different metals: sterling silver, gold plated silver, 14k white gold, 10 and 14k yellow gold. The same is true for the bracelets, which come in 7, 8 or 9” lengths (some only in 7 and 8”) with box, lobster or spring ring clasps.

All their charms are hand-made using an ancient technique called “cire perdue” (lost wax casting). A mold is made with the help of wax and plaster, and the charm is created by pouring liquid metal into the mold and allowed to sit and harden. When the charm is ready, it is removed from the mold and hand-finished and polished.

Rembrandt’s prices fluctuate according to market price for each metal, and also vary between the metals for each bracelet and charm. As you would guess, the silver items are the most affordable; as an example, the adorable filigree heart charm (one of my favorites) is around $34 in silver and $579 in 14k gold (at the time of writing).

Here are two bracelets I recently put together, one is all silver, the other all 14k gold. The silver version ended up at $311 and the gold at $4,926.

All photos: Rembrandt charms

There is a lot of flexibility with these charms – you have a choice between a jump ring attachment or a lobster clasp (Thomas Sabo charm style); you can get them engraved; the photoart collection charms can be personalized with your own photos; and most charm designs are also available as earrings, brooches, a variety of pins, cuff links, and charm holders.

The charm holders are essentially thin rings with a design up top and a bail. You can open the ring and slide charms onto it, and then attach it (using the bail) to a chain (or any material you want) for an instant charm necklace.

They also have “Charmdrops” – round bead-type charms with a little loop on the bottom, which fits on European-type bracelets – so you can add your favorite Rembrandt charm to your Pandora bracelet (for example).

Authenticity
How do you know it’s an authentic Rembrandt charm? Look for their trademark “RQC” (followed by the metal code) on either the bottom or back of the charm, and/or on the jump ring. And as always, buy from an authorized dealer.