THEIR HISTORY AND FUTURE
10,000 b.c. - 4,000 b.c.
Right around the time apes found the monolith and started hitting each other with bones… oh wait, that’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. A little bit after that while Neolithic man (think Captain Caveman) was still trying to fathom the great mysteries of personal hygiene, they would occasionally find unusual stones or pieces of wood and hang on to them in the hopes it would ward off evil spirits.
3,000 b.c. - 500 b.c.
It should be no surprise that the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt were into charm bracelets, although they were probably lost under the ridiculous amount of bling those guys festooned themselves with. Again they were worn to fend off attacks from the ether but also as a kind of I.D. tag for the gods to identify their proper status in the afterlife.
30 b.c. - 470 a.d.
During the hight of the Roman Empire persecuted Christians, when they weren’t being fed to lions, would pull out from beneath their garments… wait for it… fish charms called “ichthys”. These identified them to other Christians and gained them entry to clandestine meetings where they could sing Kum Bah Yah and raise money for the roof leading unimpeded.
500 a.d. - 1,500 a.d.
Ah, the Middle Ages, a magical time filled with knights, castles and half baked wizards who would employ the use of charms and amulets to wreak havok upon their enemies and protect warriors in battle, or y’know, to do absolutely nothing at all because this is the Middle Ages and not The Lord of The Rings.
1,500 a.d. - 1,700 a.d.
The Renaissance put the semi-kibosh on all this Harry Potter bobbins as mass production of printed material made the literate wealthy classes realise how ridiculous the concept of magic is. Unfortunately, the masses were still illiterate bumpkins without a thought in their collective stupid heads so charm bracelets maintained their popularity and their function as a magical talisman continued up until the early 1900’s!
1837 - 1901
Queen Victoria spearheaded out the next major resurgence in the popularity of charms and charm bracelets, however, instead of ‘practical’ tool for protecting, they became purely fashion accessories. Lockets, beads, family crests on bracelets and necklaces were matching typhoid as the eras must have item.
American troops, high on pulling Germany’s collective pants down blasted into the Pacific in order to secure the staging islands before assaulting Japan and ending the axis forces once and for all. The native craftsmen of Wake and Midway islands must have struggled to believe their luck as the young G.I.’s (probably called Dwight or Blaine or something) snatched up every piece of local tat jewellery they could to send home to their sweethearts (probably called Betsy-Mae or Jeanie-Lou or something).
Following WWII as the superpowers steamed straight into the Cold War, perhaps it is due to the paranoia and ‘eve of destruction’ sentiments that people started to mark all major milestones (sweet 16th, graduation, weddings, children etc.) in their lives with a charm for their charm bracelet. These bracelets, usually made from gold were seen as both decoration and investment in a time when gold was more dependable as a trading commodity.
The charm bracelet fell from fashion during the DISCO era as everyone hocked them in to buy rollerskates and cocaine… okay, not really. They were replaced by enormous heavy gold chains and medallions that were worn by funny little out-of-shape men who’s luxurious chest hair was matched only by their dodgy ‘staches.
…let’s just skip the 80’s, nobody really knows what was happening during that decade.
Traditional, vintage gold charm bracelets were starting to become a collectable item at this point. The youth of the 90’s, like the 80’s before, were too busy trying to reinvent the wheel as controversially as possible to notice that savvy geezers who could see past the hump in the road were snapping up the unfashionable and vintage gold charm bracelets, waiting for the resurgence.
…oh dear. Oh dead, oh dear. The resurgence of traditional charm bracelets with an intrinsic value in craftsmanship and gold never hit the mainstream. Sure, some people are aware enough to stay traditional but the masses? Oh man, the masses…
In an amazing PR and ADVERTISING campaign, the likes of Troll Beads, Links of London, Nomination, Chamilia & Pandora have convinced the short of thinking that poorly made, over prices silver and glass tat charms are somehow a replacement for the thousands of years of heritage that is the traditional charm bracelet.
Collective hearts of young bubbleheads burst as they realise they have invested the last 5-10 years of birthdays and Christmas in something that is fundamentally worthless. The ‘fashion’ jewellery industry starts to self destruct. Fat cats at the top jump ship realising that people couldn’t remain this stupid forever… could they?
The landfills overflowing with naff silver charm bracelets, Earth’s top scientists look to the stars as a way to dump this crap somewhere it will be forgotten.
While dropping off a 5 square mile bin bag full of silver charms at Mars, the S.S. DUMPITALL crash lands into the planet and awakens an ancient, sleeping god.
…nice one Pandora, now we must all hail Cthulhu.
© 2017 | ARTHUR READ
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