Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Charmed, I’m Sure

What have I gotten myself into THIS time?

I signed up for an Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction. Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions, a very talented lampwork artist, is hosting another art charm exchange. What the heck is she talking about now, I hear you thinking?

Here’s how it works. Each of 60 participants creates an art charm, well, actually 11 art charms. We send them to Jennifer. We will receive 10 different charms back (from various others) and one charm is donated to an auction, a charity auction to benefit Beads of Courage.

Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage

You can read all about Beads of Courage here.   It’s a wonderful idea that use art to encourage children who suffer from life threatening illnesses.   Each time a child goes through a step in their treatment, they receive a bead.  I’m going to do another blog, just about Beads of Courage so I won’t tell a lot about it here.

This sounded like so much fun, I had to sign up.   Then, I decided that I should maybe research a little bit about charms before I I even started to dream up an idea for a charm.

Charms have been worn since prehistoric times.   Ancient peoples carved small animals or symbols from bone or stone, maybe to charm the animals to them in a hunt or maybe to protect them from animals.

ancient bird carving

ancient bird carving

Ancient Egyptians refined the art of making gold jewelry with wax casting.  Most of their charms and amulets were created from gold.  They used charms to ward off evil spirits, protect loved ones in the afterlife, enhance fertility, and assure prosperity. As master goldsmiths they were the first to develop the ability to cast gold, using the lost-wax technique which many jewelry manufacturers still use today.

ancient Egyptian gold jewelry

ancient Egyptian gold jewelry

Charms truly became popular through the influence of Queen Victoria of England.  She wore small hearts with portraits of her beloved Albert of locks of his hair.

Victorian charms

Victorian charms

Until the Industrial Revolution, charms were mostly work by affluent people.  They were not affordable for the masses but  were custom-made pieces of jewelry. Only wealthy and affluent citizens had the means to afford such treasures. The machine age introduced the technology to mine precious metals and mass-produce them into affordable jewelry for the growing middle class, both in Europe and the United States

Charm bracelets reached the heights of popularity in the United States after World War II. American soldiers returned home with souvenir charms from the cities they had liberated. Jewelers soon added charms of various metals, styles, and occasions to their lines. Today, charms are as popular as ever. The first piece of fine jewelry a young child receives is typically a charm of faith, such as a cross or religious medallion. People continue to use charms and charm bracelets to tell the story of their life, whether it be a simple heart charm worn around the neck or charm bracelet filled with tiny treasures.

So, what about Art Charms? 

Art Charms are small works of art made to be worn or displayed in a small space. They are high quality one-of-a-kind or limited edition mixed media pieces, usually between ¼” and 4” long. Hand-made and utterly collectible, Art Charms are a compact, fun, and affordable

Our instructions for submission as per Jennifer:   only submit ART CHARMS. What does this mean? Well, it means you have in some way created the charm through some type of manipulation. It does NOT mean you add a jump ring to a purchased charm and call it done, or simply wire wrap a loop onto a craft store bead and call it done.

Here are some art charms submitted for last year’s auction.  




There is a whole book devoted to making art charms:  Making Mixed Media Art Charms and jewelry by Peggy Krzyzewski and Christine Hansen.   Peggy and Christina even have a Yahoo Group for people interested in art charms.   To quote from the purpose of the group…..”Art Charms are small works of art made to be worn or displayed in a small space. They are high quality one-of-a-kind or limited edition mixed media pieces, usually between ¼” and 4” long. Hand-made and utterly collectible, Art Charms are a compact, fun, and affordable”

Anyhow, it sure looks like I need to come up with something special.   Now I have “performance anxiety”.   Some of these women make their own polymer clay or lampwork beads.   I’m really worried that my charm won’t be good enough, or clever enough.  OMG…………what have I got myself into this time?


October 8, 2013 - Posted by | Jewelry | , , , , , , , , ,

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