What’s The Allure of A Charm Necklace?

Posted by Karen Sugarman on


For several years, I was able to offer customized tokens that celebrated the honors, travels, family and theatre/operas attended by so many of my customers in pre-ban ivory, then subsequently in a man-made ivory material. These token necklaces were fashioned after the famous Elizabeth Taylor / Edith Head Opera Token Necklace and were a huge success for several years. To this day, I still get inquiries about making up a necklace. I recently had a phone call with my scrimshaw artist and to my delight, she has agreed to tackle these tokens once again, sometime in the latter part of the summer. We just have to wait for her to complete a move and get her studio set up before I deluge her with orders! So the take-away here is. . . if you had your heart set on creating a customized Cherish Necklace, I will be able to offer this again in the very near future.


There was something so entrancing about that famous necklace that legions of women fell in love and many decided to have their own necklace customized in the old opera token style to celebrate their lives. Perhaps it was the simplistic black and white design, the opportunity to customized these tokens or the soft chattering of the tokens as they moved with the wearer that made them so appealing. In any event, this lovely charm necklace always elicits inquiries when worn.


Personally, I believe part of the allure of any charm necklace has to do with the observer touching each of the charms and the friendly exchange of asking what each of the amulets means to the person wearing the necklace. It is easily one of the best ice-breakers to encourage friendly conversation between women (and perhaps men too). In an innocent way, it is okay to ask about one’s children, travels, honors, etc. When you add the entrancing chatter of a charm necklace - it quietly draws attention and encourages further investigation.


When my scrimshaw artist needed a break from making the original tokens, I began the hunt to find another artist I felt could do the necklace justice - but sadly,  I came up empty handed. During my search, I came across some Mother-of-Pearl tokens that eerily reminded me of the original design - even though they were completely different. These adorable and whimsical Victorian scrimshaw-styled charms repeated the black and white theme and almost all of them had some meaningful connection (as most antique jewelry does). As a result, the Calliope Necklace was born and I am delighted to feature it as another delightful charm necklace design.

If you study the Mother-of-Pearl tokens in the Calliope Necklace necklace your will see a variety of scrimshaw style designs. All have some meaning and a few are just pretty designs. The swallow represented a safe return home and faithfulness during the Victorian era / The swirly heart is simply a pretty design / the bee represents “Queen Bee” as well as the French Napoleonic symbol / the crossed fingers of a lady’s hand represent “Good Luck” / The gaming queen represents the “Queen of Hearts” / the crown signifies royalty / the Fleur de Lis is of French origin and the clever “Bee M’Eye Heart” (Love), obviously was a forerunner of today’s emoji craze!


The charming necklace (no pun intended) is certain to be a favorite and other charms can be added to the mix of the original necklace. The whimsical black and white artwork on Mother of Pearl tokens paired with the alternating gold and blackened rhodium embossed link chain, gives the necklace a more modern and edgy design, even though it is richly steeped in the Victorian style. The allure of this charm necklace is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to meet new friends and answer some very interesting questions.

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