Monday, 9 May 2011


I have always been interested in the idea of charm bracelets and their symbolism. As the last twelve months have been very difficult I have decided, as part of an effort to be more positive, to start one of my own.

I actually own a gold charm bracelet already. It was left to me by my maternal Grandmother along with her beautiful Art Deco style engagement ring. The bracelet is very heavy and chunky and not really my style. I have only worn it once and that was on my Wedding Day. To be honest I found it very uncomfortable to wear everyday but somehow it seemed the right thing to wear on one of the happiest days of my life. There is so much love associated with that bracelet.

I loved both sets of grandparents but was particularly close to my Mother's parents. When I was three years old my Mother was taken seriously ill. For a few weeks her condition was critical and she nearly didn't survive. During her illness and subsequent long recovery, her parents looked after me and my brother. My poor Father had enough on his plate earning enough money to pay the bills and trying to cope with spending as much time at the hospital as possible. As children we were not allowed to visit her at all in hospital. I was too young to understand what was going on but it must have been very distressing for my brother, who is much older than me.

Throughout it all my Grandparents were there, simply caring for us.

I can remember my Grandmother wearing her charm bracelet and she would tell me the story of each charm and why my Grandfather had bought them for her. When she died she left it to me. It now languishes in a drawer, sadly unworn. But there are so many good memories associated with that piece of jewellery that I don't think that I will ever be able to part with it.

I have come to realise that I will never again enjoy the good health that I took for granted for so many years. I will have good periods and bad ones - hopefully more good than bad. There are two ways that this can go. I can either let the illness dominate my life, and the lives of those closest to me or I can take charge and start to rebuild my life.

Just before Christmas last year a shop opened in the centre of Bournemouth selling Pandora jewellery. I had heard of Pandora but hadn't really seen any pieces close up. The idea is simple, you purchase a bracelet and specially shaped beads or 'charms' to add to it. Each has a particular meaning such as 'I love you' or 'you are my inspiration'. I like the idea of a 21st century version of my Grandmother's charm bracelet. However I have decided that, like her bracelet, the Pandora style is not for me. For one thing there is the cost. If you go to the Pandora website you can design your own bracelet. You choose your bracelet and then the charms. There is a running total of the cost in the corner of the screen. I had reached over £2,000 before I had even half filled the bracelet. Not only can't I afford it but it is just a bit too ostentatious for me. I cannot ever imagine myself wearing a piece of jewellery worth several thousand pounds. Please understand me I admire the quality of the pieces and I like the idea of the bracelet, it is just not me and doesn't fit into my very modest lifestyle. Plus I find the sentiments associated with the charms a bit saccharine for my taste. Just my opinion!

Recently I came across a good quality, silver Pandora 'style' bracelet in a local shop for a fraction of the price. It came with a few beads already on it. Eventually I will make a bracelet base from beads using a stitch like herringbone stitch. Until then I will use this one. My idea is to create charms out of beads to chart my journey through this difficult phase of my life. More will be revealed over the next few months.

Finally, this weekend saw me carrying out cat sitting duties for a friend. As you can see below my two furry charges were completely unimpressed by my efforts to take care of them! I enjoyed it anyway. We don't have any pets of our own at the moment but I grew up with cats and I had forgotten how nice it was to have them around. I find them soothing for the soul.


Where the nodding violets grow said...

I love that charm bracelets have so many memories. It is absolutely worth having one just for those even if you never wear it. I never owned one but the lady who lived across the road from me, when I was young, had one. I remember one had a ten pound note folded up inside. It was the first time I had ever seen a ten pound note. I remember thinking that when I grew up I was going to have one and, of course, never have. I like the idea of a bead charm bracelet. The silver one is lovely. I look forward to seeing more of it.

agirlinwinter said...

I think the charm bracelet is an excellent idea. I remember being fascinated with my mum's charm bracelet - it had a little weather house with two people inside. I've got my own now and I've been adding charms for a few years.