Things to beguile the charmless (Part 2)

Sunday 4 December 2011, 12.01am HKT

(Continued from Part 1)

There are roughly 21 days to go before Christmas for you to blow your life savings on gifts for the ingrates and other assorted cattle in your overly extended family. One of the more fetching gifts to consider is a charm bracelet.

One for the boys

Charm bracelets aren’t just for women, you know. They’re okay for men too, though I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend the menfolk start wearing them at work. Kinda sends the wrong message in most cases, you know what I mean?

And if you happen to be a guy and a biker as well (of the motorcycle variety, like me), a charm bracelet just doesn’t seem to quite fit in with the image of a lean, mean and keen biker that you’re trying to project.

Protip: I reckon chopper bikers (such as yours truly) could get away with a charm bracelet — as long as:

  • it’s worn on the left wrist
  • the charms themselves are not too ‘dangly’
  • the charms are either few or all-out massive in numbers

Barebones dingly-dangly bracie

The bracelet

First off, the bracelet itself should be sterling (925) silver at the very least, or 9-karat gold for the well-heeled. (Your bank balance may vary considerably downwards after the purchase.)

FACT: Carat (ct: 1ct = 200 mg) is for diamonds and gems, and karat (kt) for gold. Don’t confuse the two, as many jewellers still make that mistake. You would’ve thought that of all people…

The 'Nicola' bracelet: solid 9K gold and sterling silver two-tone charms hard-soldered to a 9K gold curb bracelet: all charms either hinged with a hidden item inside (e.g. the rose with a bee inside: 10 o'clock position) or moveable (e.g. the Smithy with moving hammer striking the anvil: 6 o'clock position)

Protip: Avoid electroplated bracelets. They’re a waste of money. The plating rubs off like mad after only a few wearings, and then the base metal underneath causes unsightly black stains on the skin that’s really hard to clean off.

The charms

A barebones charm bracelet should have three dingly-danglies at a minimum.

Protip: Every charm ideally should have a story behind it. But it doesn’t matter if there’s no story.

Chinese wristcord with 12 Chinese astrological animals in hard jadeite each of ½ inch diameter

1. Astrological sign. Go by Western zodiac (e.g. Aquarius) or by Oriental animal sign (e.g. Rat for 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008), whichever works best for you.

Sterling silver sailing junk charm, 14×18mm, 1.69 g, £4.18 (US$6.52)

2. Place of birth. Use your imagination a bit for this, although some places don’t exactly lend to the imagination. A cowboy hat for Texas is wee obvious, as is a junk for Hong Kong (where I was born). Much more interesting would be an adobe, which could mean anywhere from Arizona to Chile to Iran to Kyrgyzstan. If all else fails, go for the lowest common denominator: your national symbol or flag.

3. Weakness/strength. Everyone has something screwed up inside them. Word Nymph says in her article she has a crutch-shaped charm to represent brittle ankles. I’m having a hard time locating a brain-shaped charm for my birdbrain loopy mind. Call me if you have an ear charm for The Naked Listener.

Juicy Couture Christmas crutch charm, US$60

Those three are the absolute minimum. If you can’t manage those, forget charm bracelets.

Sterling and gilted silver blood-type charms, ½ inch diameter, US$3.99

Interestingly, when it comes to charm bracelets, the Japanese often include a blood-type charm. This is not because their country is in constant danger from earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, which would make sense in having such charms. It is because the Japanese believe in the insane theory that your blood says it all.

Read the dedicated post on the Japanese obsession with blood types.

* * *

Continues in Part 3

Protips for buying the right charm

* * *

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.

Images: ‘Nicola’ bracelet via Welded-Bliss ♦ Chinese wristcord via ♦ Junk charm via Charmmakers ♦ Blood-type charms via Legacies Heirlooms at eBay. Juicy Couture Christmas crutch charm via ebeyss.

2 Responses to “Things to beguile the charmless (Part 2)”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    Okay, so I look like an American football lineman, but the real problem with dangly stuff is how great the risk to my arm or the bracelet, since I am the king of all klutzes. With sufficient prosperity, I wouldn’t object to the close fitting stuff on a cord. I used to pick up moderate-to-poor quality jade pebbles in lots of sand bars in Alaska, but never thought to try carving any of it.


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