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Entries in charm bracelet (9)

Q & A with Mother/Daughter Duo of Charmco

Charmco | Gem Gossip

There are quite a few jewelry businesses that feature mother-daughter duos in this industry. Each one having a story rich in passion, a love for what they're doing AND for one another, and above all, a special bond you truly can't have with anyone else. Mother's Day is quickly approaching, and jewelry is a wonderful and powerful gift to give any mother--but a charm that has significance and meaning, one that connects you two together will make her heart sing!  Even better if you get that charm from Charmco, a mother-daughter run business that has been deeply connected to charms and promotes this in every way possible!  After hearing their story, you'll not only want to start your own charm collection (if you haven't already), but also buy your mom a personalized charm for her to unwrap on Mother's Day!

Q1 | Gem Gossip

It started with my grandma Boomie’s charm bracelet. I remember when she would visit my sister and I would go over each and every charm and beg her to tell us what they were and she would have fun telling us stories. My mother inherited the bracelet and decided to use a few of these special charms to build a bracelet for us. ​She searched for the rest of the charms to make the bracelets meaningful to us; I lived in NYC and worked in communications while my sister was working on a farm in Bali so you can imagine how different the bracelets could be! It was hard to find great charms to add so it took quite a while. When she gifted us the bracelets, needless to say we were both blown away! Wherever I wore my charm bracelet it seemed to spark a conversation- I even remember showing my charms to a stranger on the subway and going over what each little treasure meant to me. My mother had always been a collector of vintage and antique jewelry and I loved the idea of starting a business where we could help people find great charms so we launched C.H.A.R.M, an acronym for “Charms Have A Real Meaning”. An awesome name for our company but not a great one for a web based retailer so a few years later we became Charmco.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip

Q2 | Gem Gossip

We started traveling and educating ourselves and collecting and by Spring 2002, we began to work with private clients in NYC by appointment to make custom charm bracelets. Soon after that we developed our first website. It was an informational site which had a questionnaire in a pdf form that was downloaded by customers with questions that were supposed to reveal their true charm nature! We had piles of forms come in and we would build a sampling of their bracelet based on the answers. We were sending charm bracelet all over the US and were featured in a variety of popular magazines and had a great word of mouth business. We started doing trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman and for about 3 years we sold through Bergdorfs, Neiman Marcus and Fragments showroom and to a variety of boutiques. We moved our focus online in 2005 with an ecommerce site and now Charmco is home to over 700 collection charms all made in NYC, more than 1000 vintage charms, charm bracelets and necklaces to mix and match.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Q3 | Gem Gossip

A charm bracelet or charm necklace is so personal, it tells your story, your travels and your loves- all around. It's a piece of jewelry that's classic so it avoids being on trend one season and out the next. It can be passed down from one generation to the next and get transformed into the next person's wearable life story. The charms I have from my Grandmother are some of my most precious. Charm gifting, in itself, becomes a tradition. We have mothers, husbands, daughters, sisters, friends, grandmothers returning every year on the dot for another charm for their bracelet. Charm bracelets, unlike any other jewelry is a growing reflection of one’s life.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip

Q4 | Gem Gossip

Some of our all time favorites are also some of the most popular charms. My absolute favorite is our Custom Calendar; a charm where your special date is marked with a Diamond and which is entirely bespoke. Other classics are an engraved monogram disc, retro baby booties that can be engraved with a birth date or a name ​and famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, which we make 4 different ways. Our all time most popular category is travel; a classic charm bracelet theme. ​New styles people are loving include our new martini glass with a Diamond olive and our elephant mom and baby charm. The martini glass is classic and has a fun diamond olive spark to it and the elephant mom and baby gets an “aww” from everyone when they see the mom carrying the little baby with her trunk.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Untitled

Q5 | Gem Gossip

We see more symbolic charms like unicorns and lightning bolts rising in popularity. The infinity symbol is a charm that's popular at the moment and I think it’s a concept charm that people embrace right now.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Q6 | Gem Gossip


The charm bracelet that inspired our business has evolved through the years. I have custom calendars for each of my two daughter’s birthdays. I paired them with a mini vintage rooster and rat charm to mark their Chinese Zodiac for our three years in Hong Kong. One of my favorite charms is a movable roulette wheel with a little bead that moves with a shake and lands on a winning number. I still test my luck! I also have always cherished my devil that pops out of the martini shaker. I do like a good dry vodka martini! I've just started building a separate travel charm necklace and my favorite piece on this necklace isn't the most "fantastic" charm but it means a lot to me. It’s a golden mountain range of Crested Butte Colorado where I got engaged to my husband. The day I found that charm, I also learned I was pregnant with my first daughter Audrey, so it has super special meaning!


I tend to think in themes and Diamonds are my birthstone. One of my favorite charm bracelets is packed with Diamond charms I have collected over the years. The light bulb charm literally “lights” up with all my good ideas! My Sputnik bracelet features five vintage gem-filled Sputniks inspired by the 1950’s space satellite. My main charm bracelet is like a short bio of my life with quirks and all. I have a vintage crystal photo globe charm with a photo of my ex husband (father to my daughters) on one side and my husband of the past 35 years on the other! I also have a vintage troll doll, which represents my era that I love and a taxi meter that rotates from vacant to occupied to forever - A classic love charm.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip

Top-left: Lisa's Travel Necklace -- Top-right: Leslie's Sputnik charm bracelet

Bottom-left: Lisa's main charm bracelet -- Bottom-right: Leslie's main charm bracelet

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Charmco.


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Necklace Stories: Four Figas, Four Different Ways

Gem Gossip Jewel Box Gem Gossip Jewel Box Gem Gossip Jewel Box Gem Gossip Jewel Box Gem Gossip Jewel Box Gem Gossip Jewel Box

Remember that time I decided to make a New Year's Resolution where I can only buy one ring per month for the entire year?!  Yeah, I do too...I, like, just made that resolution and I already want to break it. But I must not falter, I must resist temptation. Oddly enough, other parts of my jewelry collection are growing! Hmmm...strange how that works! ;) For example, I bought a brooch.  I bought a curb-link necklace (photo is of it twisted into a makeshift ring, because I can't help it, ring obsessed). I've even strung a ring onto a gold chain and created one of my most favorite necklaces ever (that way it doesn't count as being a ring if it is worn as a necklace)! Yes, truly loving my new Charlton & Lola Japa ring--a 14k gold ring that features nine sacred gold balls elevated off the main band. When the Japa ring is worn on the finger, it can easily be turned with just the flick of the thumb, becoming an aid in meditation, a soulful piece of gold. This is one of those pieces that you just fall in love with, both the design and comfort of the piece, and end up wearing daily. The Japa ring made me start looking into my necklace and charm collection. I began to pull favorite charms and started to create mini-vignettes of charms that complemented one another. Hope you enjoy!

Necklace One: one malachite figa (from James McHone Jewelry), one St. Anthony medallion (passed down to me by my dad), one green enamel dangling fish (passed down to me from my mom who was gifted it by my grandma after a trip to Italy)

Necklace Two: one figa with gold nails and gold bracelet (!!) (from James McHone Jewelry), one Italian horn pendant (passed down to me by my dad), one Victorian heart padlock (from eBay), one Fox & Bond Mini (from Fox & Bond, engraved with my wedding date)

Necklace Three: the necklace is actually a Y-necklace which I experimented with adding charms to and I love how it looks with charms (from Bea Millen), one Japa ring (from Charlton & Lola), one amethyst figa charm (from James McHone Jewelry), and one Amoré heart charm (from Pasquale Bruni)

Necklace Four: one rose quartz figa charm (from James McHone Jewelry), one Edwardian carved mother of pearl religious medallion (from where I used to work), one gold heart key (gift from my grandma after she got back from Italy)



An Important Figa Collection & Its Rich History by Ariana of Marteau

Figa 1 Figa 4 Figa 2 Figa 5 Figa 3 Figa 6 Figa 7

The Figa--rich in history and quite elusive to some. What does it mean? And where did the talisman originate? I was mesmerized by a collection which has been in the making for years--that of Ariana Boussard-Reifel, owner of Marteau (formerly Mode Marteau) who has a penchant for vintage and antique anything, but especially jewelry.  I had to know more about her collection and asked for her expertise on the topic of the Figa, so she has put together a wonderful blog post for us. Be sure to check out her newly launched website, Marteau.

"I am a collector first and I choose my conquest second. The act of collecting, more than the act of possessing is what enchants me. It’s all about the thrill of the hunt, the seeking and the vanquishing. Unlike some whose collections are focused, I devour jewelry that spans time and space. In this way all of history is exposed by the process of searching. Right now, I’m steadily pillaging the world’s supply of antique Mano Figas.

The first one I saw immediately captivated me. It reminded me of Rodin sculptures and Gabriella Kiss earrings. In appearance, it was both beautiful and macabre, clearly showing the labor of its maker in the finely articulated fingers. But it is the story and symbolism that made me a devout collector.

The gesture of the thumb protruded between the pointer finger and middle finger has a variety of different meanings dating back nearly 8,000 years. In Central Asia where the term for it is rosehip, it is an obscene gesture not unlike the middle finger. It means sex in Japan, the number 5 to the Maasai, the letter ‘T’ in American Sign Language, and ‘got your nose’ to every 4-year-old I’ve ever encountered.

But the specific symbolism that gave rise to the charm that we refer to as a Mano Figa originates in Etruscan Italy. Mano means hand and Figa means fig, a slang term for female genitalia. The gesture is undeniably a reference to heterosexual sex. In ancient times it was worn as an incantation to The Goddess, a call for fertility, virility and good times (the fig also has close ties to Bacchus). They were traditionally made of silver or blood coral, sacred elements for Luna, the goddess of the moon and Venus, the goddess of the sea, respectively.

Through time and colonization, the symbol crossed the oceans with Christianity, and beginning in the early 17th century figas began to be produced in South America. Now they are commonly worn throughout Brazil and Peru as a symbol of protection against the evil eye. The obscenity of the gesture is said to distract Satan from his conquest for your soul. Because of the close ties to femininity and motherhood it is traditional in Brazil to tie a tiny black figa to a child’s wrist to ward off bad luck.

For all the richness and history of the mano figa, I can’t help but love them large and small, fine and primitive. Because the gesture carries such breadth of meaning it’s easy to imbue it with the significance you choose. I wear figas daily to feel a connection to my femininity, to represent my love of antiquity, and simply because they are always a good conversation starter."


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Gold Gifts for My 30th Birthday #LoveGold

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Monday, September 8th marked a milestone in my life--I turned 30.  And like any other birthday of mine, I had to commemorate it with a piece of jewelry.  But for me, turning 30 is a big deal, so each gift had to have some meaning and significance!  You only turn 30 once!  

For the longest time, probably since I could remember, I've always wanted a charm bracelet.  I've picked up different gold charms along the way throughout travels and special occasions, but never really did anything with them except keep them in my jewelry box.  Well, my day has finally come!  My parents bought me an 18k yellow gold long-linked bracelet that was given to me during my birthday lunch that will become my ultimate gold charm bracelet!  It was given to me empty, except for one charm to start me out.  The charm my mom gave me was her key charm (from previous post) which my dad had given to her on one of their first dates!  I was speechless! The photo above shows the bracelet with some possibilities--I have lots of charms, I just need to get the bracelet going and well balanced.  I am very excited!

I had been searching for a spectacular gift for myself for seems like I find some of my best rings on eBay (this one came from seller  When I came across the Edwardian diamond ring, I was instantly in love.  eBay did the trick again!  These Edwardian diamond rings, with the elongated look to them, and the yellow gold shank, platinum-top are my absolute favorite!  The diamond weight on this thing is insane.  This was no doubt my 30th birthday present to myself!  And if you have never bought yourself something for your birthday, I highly suggest it.  You should love yourself and celebrate another year within your life...especially if you're hardworking and dedicated in many aspects.  You deserve it!

My last birthday gift came from my fiancé.  Since 30 is such a milestone, we decided on a piece from Tiffany & Co. because of its iconic and classic nature; something truly to be passed down and continue to have value.  I have been a fan of the Atlas Collection for quite some time and had my heart set on the open Atlas ring in yellow gold. I loved how the ring was open in between the roman numerals, rather than closed.  One day, I had gone to their website to admire the ring once more, and found that it was no longer available.  I was really sad and searched for answers.  An employee of Tiffany explained that the company likes to release styles in limited quantities for a limited time.  When Tiffany released some new Atlas styles designed by Francesca Amfitheatrof recently, it was again available.  Just in time for my 30th birthday, with a special order for a size 4 in 18k yellow gold.  I love the look of the ring, a real classic style, just what I had hoped for!

My 30th birthday has been an amazing one!  I got three important gifts that will forever be significant in my life, all with one thing in common--gold!  Here's to many more birthdays celebrated with gold!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold



Charm Bracelet or Charm Necklace? #LoveGold 

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I’ve been collecting gold charms for quite sometime now, and I’ve been inspired to finally put together either a charm bracelet or charm necklace...just not sure which one to choose!  If you follow me on Instagram, you have noticed I sometimes post photos of jewelry that I am appraising for clients.  I recently appraised a woman’s gold charm bracelet which contained a lifetime of memories in the form of gold!  She had 35 gold charms, all depicting different aspects of her life--charms that represent travel (palm tree, islands, cruise ships, Eiffel tower), charms that represent children and grandchildren (gold child profiles with engraved names and birthdates), and charms that represent hobbies/loves (gold tennis racket, horse, dogs).  It was an amazing finished piece.

However, I’ve also seen some gorgeous charm necklaces in various lengths.  So before deciding which to create, I sat down and took a look at my charm collection to help me decide!  

I have several all gold charms, some religious medallions, and a bunch of stickpins converted into charms (and some that have yet to be converted).  I also have a few gold bracelets that could be potential charm bracelets. 

So, which would you do--a charm bracelet or a charm necklace??

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold