It seems a to be world made to measure for a small person. It’s a way of inspecting the things of the world at close range. There’s also perhaps an element of magic involved, as though these were seeds for the eventual possession of real objects. But they are also public goods, that draw others into conversation – a magnet for the incidental praise that surrounds the world of a growing child.This may well be a good time to return to the roots of the charm bracelet. The Italian cimaruta is an ancient charm that takes the form of a ‘sprig of rue’, at the end of which are a number of symbols, such as moon, fish, dagger and flower. The cimaruta is associated with the goddess Diana and often placed on the breasts of infants as protection, particularly against the evil eye. Without getting ‘neo pagan’ about such pre-modern symbols, the cimaruta offers an interesting model for jewellery as a form of symbolic value to be invested in the future.
So should the charm bracelet be revived? There is reason enough for their return as testaments to craft skills in gold and silver smithing. But as cultural artefact they can be seen as consumerist trainer wheels, preliminary to the eventual acquisition of domestic charm bracelet, featuring a Wedgewood dinner setting, Scandinavian furniture, French car and Milan coat.
The principle, however, seems inherently marvellous. The charm bracelet provides the armature around which a family circle can pin their hopes and support on an emerging adult. We were to keep this principle, what might be the charms for our time?