What is the difference between charm beads and beads with charms? Charm hangers and charm holders? What are charm drops and charm carriers? It’s time for another terminology post to help bring some clarity to these terms, which are often used interchangeably, making searching for them somewhat of a challenge at times. To see the description of the pictures, hover over them with your mouse. To see a picture larger, click on it – it will open in a new window.
The term charm bead usually refers to a bead bead, the kind you find on a European-style charm bracelet (i.e. Lovelinks, Troll beads, Bacio, Chamilia beads, Pandora bracelets, etc.).
Beads with charms can mean either beads beads with a dangly part (a.k.a. dangle beads or dangle charms), or a bead bracelet (or necklace) with charms. You can find the European-style “beads with charms” ready-made (like the Pandora charm pictured on the left here), or you can get a charm hanger and make one yourself.
Charm hangers (sometimes also called charm hanger beads, charm drops, bead bails, and sometimes charm holders) are European-style beads in various sizes. They can be just thin disks or inch-long tubes, all have a little loop on the bottom where you attach your charm(s). Since most have pretty large center holes in order for them to fit on all (or most) European-style brands, they also work great on necklaces, either homemade or bought (provided the clasp is small enough that you can get the charm hanger over it). I personally really like leather charm necklaces, and you can fit several strands of leather (or any string or thin chain you want obviously) through one charm hanger, which creates a great multi-strand look.
I touched on charm holders briefly in the “Pendants…” post, but here is a more thorough explanation: They are usually round or oblong thin loops (in gold or silver, or plated) with a pretty design and a little opening mechanism up top so that you can open it and slide charms onto the holder. They are intended to be put on necklaces (they don’t work on bracelets, they are too big) and are confusingly sometimes also referred to as charm hangers
Charm drops, as we saw earlier, can be the same thing as charm hanger beads, but you often see the term refer simply to hanging charms as well. The charm drop in the photo on the left is from Rembrandt charms.
Charm carriers are very similar to charm hangers, but they usually come in two designs: for use on either necklaces or European-style bracelets. The ones for bracelets have the exact same design as the charm hangers, and the ones for necklaces have a ring up top (which slides onto the necklace), a design in the middle, and a loop on the bottom where you attach the charms. The Thomas Sabo charm one pictured here is intended for use on a necklace.
I hope I have helped to shed some light on the actual products behind these terms and made it a bit easier to shop for them.