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Jewelry A Charmed Life by Rosanna Mignacca While all jewelry evokes emotions and memories, jewelry lovers agree that charm bracelets are among the most sentimental pieces. Like an intricate tapestry woven over time, these precious mementos display the multi-faceted history of the bracelet’s owner. Each charm is a specially selected symbol representing the loves and passions, milestones, and aspirations of the woman who wears it. Something for everyone The traditional charm bracelet is a link chain with dangling charms. From simple designs to elaborate jeweled pieces, often personalized with engravings, charms can cost from a few dollars to a few thousand. The biggest names in couture have charms in their collections, while renowned jew- elry designers carry a line of bracelets and charms. Even with gold and platinum bra­­ce­ lets and charms of precious gemstones, the investment can be manageable because you build your bracelet at your own pace, charm by charm. Timeless and trendy The attraction of a charm bracelet is timeless. From marvelous miniatures to semi-precious stones and glittering gems, a charm bracelet speaks volumes about the woman who wears one. It appeals to the collector, as it becomes an exquisite au- tobiography of wearable art. For travelers, a charm bracelet is ideal for displaying where they have been as well as where they long to go. Because of its personal nature, it is also an heirloom in the making for many women. They see it as an invest- ment collection, a piece that they will 16 Nights hand down to their daughters and grand- daughters, a way to let loved ones know and cherish them long after they are gone. While ever popular today, the roman­ ce, magic, and mystery of charm bracelets go back further than you might imagine... The history of charms can be traced back millions of years to the Stone Age, the time when our earliest ancestors first began to create and use tools. Archaeol- ogists have uncovered primitive carvings shaped and worn for protection: every- thing from saber tooth tigers to evil spirits. However, it was the Babylonians, around 700 B.C.E., who were the first re­ corded group to wear such amulets on bracelets. About 300 B.C.E., the Egyptians be- gan the use of recognizable charms as pure adornment to indicate one’s status and wealth, as well as to ward off mis- fortune and increase fertility. By the European Renaissance, charms as a means of protection and superstition began to fade with the Enlightenment. But for nobility, these visual indications of one’s position in society remained im­ portant, with the use of gems growing in popularity. E