The charm

No one can dislike a charm. Based on a simple talisman hung on a piece of string, it’s one of world’s oldest jewelry styles. While originally charms were carved out of a gem, rock, horn or wood, and worn to ward off evil spirits, in Victorian times, they became more decorative: fashioned from silver or gold and chosen to signify important things in the wearer’s life, from christenings to engagements. When Queen Victoria herself took to wearing clusters of them – some with lockets of hair, others with miniature portraits – the fashion world was quick to embrace them. Soon Chanel and Tiffany (with its iconic Tiffany heart) became renowned for stylish versions, followed subsequently by designers and brands around the globe, from Vivienne Westwood to Chloé, Alison Lou, Jennifer Meyer and Harry Winston (pictured). This time, though, as well as the traditional Cinderella coaches, dogs and ponies clinking on wrists, there are 21st-century motifs, from lightning bolts and skulls to smiling emojis and arrows, worn in clusters on necklaces by fashionable young women. Why the sudden resurgence in popularity? Not only because this boho prop has “passage of life”significance – equally appreciated by both a child and a fashionable woman for a special occasion – but because it’s versatile. Single charms can be worn with a pretty dress or you can bring out your inner Esmeralda with a clinking bunch of them. This season, a bit of wizardry has also been added to the mix: Harry Potter charms that bring not just literary characters to the frame, but a little bit of 21st-century magic too.