Monday, May 31, 2010

Charmed, I'm sure

Charm: Typewriter ad

I've been in love with the idea of charm bracelets since I was a young teen. In fact, I like the idea of souvenir jewelry in general, including lockets and hair jewelry. I had a locket that I wore through college. In it were photos of our family's cats, Crystal (who passed away my junior year) and Deedee (who is still around and fat). Every time I showed the inside to someone, they looked surprised and told me they'd expected to see photos of a guy, which I thought was odd. At 19, my cats were more important to me than any boyfriend could have been. Even though I am married now, I'd still pick a photo of our cat, Taroko George, over one of my husband for a locket (a choice I'm sure Ron would approve of, since we are both feline fanciers).

During our honeymoon in San Francisco a year ago, I thought it'd be fun to start a charm bracelet. I didn't get the chance, however, until we'd returned to Taipei and I discovered De Stijl, a store that imports vintage jewelry from the US and Europe. Several of the charms on my bracelet are from De Stijl; the rest are from Internet sources. The first was this little cat in a basket, which Ron bought for my birthday last year:

Charm: Cat in a basket

I chose the charm because I think the kitten, cozy in its little basket, represents the household that Ron and I have created together. Also, I'm a basketcase sometimes.

The next charm was the one you see at top of this entry. The typewriter represents my career as a journalist. I debated getting the miniature ad or holding out for a tiny 3-D typewriter, but in the end I decided I like the "50 words" at the top. Sometimes when I have writer's block or am stressed out by a deadline, I remind myself that everything will fall into place quickly if I just write 50 words at a time (and keeping doing it for as long as I have to).

Charm: Diary

I've always been bad at keeping a personal daily journal. Despite that, I think it's important to constantly look inward and think about how your own thoughts and actions have contributed to the shape of your life and your relationships. This tiny diary is a reminder to myself to be accountable. Also, I get a kick out of the fact that it opens and closes, like many things in my life, including my jaw.

Charm: Zebra

The zebra symbolizes our wedding. We got married at the San Francisco Zoo on a platform in their African Savanna habitat and there were several animals grazing behind us during our vows. There's a zebra (or its butt) in a lot of our photos from the ceremony.

Charm: Sewing machine

This sewing machine represents my love of needlework (and its history). It also represents the fact that I could not find a knitting charm that does not look like a silver ball of snot with two sticks stuck through it.

Charm: Camera

Photography has been a big part of my life since our parents bought my brother and me matching kids' cameras with disposable flash cartridges (remember those?). This charm is the only one on my bracelet that isn't sterling silver. I'm thinking of looking for one that is, because the contrast between the color of the metals is a little jarring for my taste.

Charm: Queen Elizabeth II profile

I found this tiny bust of Queen Elizabeth II at De Stijl and debated buying it for several days. The history of the British monarchy reminds me of cultural imperialism and colonialism. As someone of Chinese descent, I find those things distasteful in a personal way. At the same time, I admire Queen Elizabeth II for her sense of duty -- and the fact that she occasionally wears thick-rimmed spectacles with evening gowns. Now that's what I call charming (rim shot)!


  1. I guess I didn't realize you were a journalist. Maybe subtlety is lost on me, or I just see what I want to see. Either way, fancy that!

    Charm bracelets are charming - touche! But they also tell stories. I have a collection of about 7 or 8 different bracelets, some decoupaged with someone else's story, and some I've compiled my own... I like yours. It's dainty, simplistic, but yet, not so simple that it's dull (if that makes sense).

    Ron sounds like a soul mate kind of husband. How did you both meet?

    Britain, The US, France, et al are all imperialists... and you're right, it's a dark part of Anglo/white heritage that we must work vigilantly to assure that we don't continue the hegemony and devastation colonialism entails. Now, don't get me started on the real reason we're in Iraq/Afghanistan etc etc. That's not appropriate for this blog entry... but know that I know precisely what the US is doing over there, and you must know that I do not support it whatsoever. Not at all.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing part of your story with the interwebs, yah?

  2. Oooh I would love the create a charm bracelet like this! I love how all the charms have meaning.
    Maybe try Etsy for a new camera charm? I've seen lots of camera jewelry on there.

  3. Oh. Well. Heaven.
    I want them all!
    Need some pretty charms for the coming busy days!
    They're so cute!

  4. i love charm bracelets too, and it's so nice hearing the story behind each of your charms! whenever i see one at a vintage shop, i always wonder about the history of each charm and why the person chose it. i would really like to start one for myself. i hope you'll keep us updated as new charms get added too! ~joelle

  5. I enjoyed reading the stories behind each of your charms in the bracelet, the one about the sewing machine made me laugh XDD