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People are still embracing a charming fashion accessory



Published: Wed, January 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

We've long been accustomed to trends that come and go. Purple one season becomes the pink obsession the next.

This year's hot topics, ponchos and brooches, are already lost to fashion magazines.

But not so with charms and charm bracelets. After Sept. 11, people began looking for meaning and value in jewelry investments.

The idea started with lockets and crosses. And charm bracelets made a powerful comeback.

Prada gave charms a boost last spring by putting them on bags and cell phones. Celebrities started attaching them to jeans loops and sneakers. As testimony to the lasting appeal, Halls, a Kansas City specialty store, recently opened Links, a high-end jewelry line that is promoting the bracelets and a wide array of charms.

So it's not surprising to see a new book, "Charmed Bracelets," by Tracey Zabar (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $19.94). The writer, who designs charms for Barneys, the trendy New York specialty store, says charms go back to ancient people who used amulets and lucky charms to ward off evil spirits.

Sometimes charms represent meaningful events, passions or people in one's life. Charm bracelets were popular during the early 1960s Kennedy era, for instance, and those bracelets with charms representing the presidential campaign or the Kennedy family were huge. Some bracelets just carry one theme, such as shells or tennis icons.

But charms go well beyond the bracelets. Among many uses, the author suggests wrapping a charm in parchment and baking it in a cake for a birthday or wedding.




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