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Charm Bracelet

Charm Bracelet: One way to wear or carry a multitude of lucky amulets.

Beginning in the early years of the 20th century and extending until around 1960, it was a mark of middle-class properity that young girls be given a charm bracelet before they reached puberty and that at every holiday or anniversay, a new charm be added to the assemblage, often by the doting relative who had supplied the original bracelet. One suspects that jewelers were behind the craze, but in fact, the demand for charms is ancient; only this method of marketing them is relatively recent. Not all the charms on these bracelets were lucky emblems -- equally common were hobby-related and school-related charms. In fact, the multiplicity of charms available, and the mundanity of many of them -- a telephone, a car, a cheerleader's megaphone, a windmill -- served to devalue the word "charm" in the English language, so that today one may be misunderstood if one refers to "charms" when one means "amulets."

The legend reads "Le Langage de Porte Bonheur" ("The Language of Good Luck Charms") and the 10 charms are labelled with their meanings -- which, i feel compelled to note, do not accord in every case with their usual symbolism.