Charms mean never having to say- I’m too grown-up.

It is my belief that charms are proof positive that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. Every great memory is enshrined there- ready to be told to children, grand children, or to oneself on a rainy day.

Granted, my parents (shockingly) didn’t always give in to my requests for charms on our family trips, and as I grew older my attention wandered, and I ceased to collect charms as life’s milestones piled up. But now, as I take a chance to breathe before the next leg of life’s journey I also take a chance to collect mementos from the times I wish to remember, and to file them on my bracelets as small tokens of achievement. The graduations I never bothered to attend, the places and events that seemed so unimportant at the time, yet now glow in time’s reflected light – are surprisingly missed. I celebrate them in my charms, and for a brief moment relive the feelings – bittersweet and tart as pomegranate on the tongue, gone in a flash, but part of me always.

For the record, I also add tokens of those times I DON’T want to remember- but should because they, too, are a part of who I am and how I came to be where I am now (Not perhaps a world leader, or hero, but still, a sentient woman living in wondrous times). I guess what I have become is old enough to appreciate that we all, every one of us, has a history, and a story, that is worth telling and enjoying, even if only to ourselves. So I enjoy my tiny metallic scrapbooks, and I enjoy every one I see, and appreciate the person whose life it celebrates.

Debates can go on for years about what charms can be classified as antique, vintage, retro and modern. It seems every collector has a slightly different view so I’m willing to be flexible -feel free to correct me. eBay terms vintage as anything made before the 1980’s and anything after that as modern.
The eBay charm group (surely the best amalgamation of vintage charm collectors, buyers, sellers and experts presently in existence, headed by the amazing gelatogrrl- queen of all charmers) says that antique is before 1900. Then there are the antique charms that were reproduced in the 1920-40’s making them technically vintage charms that look like antique charms, and the vintage charms that have rhodium plating so they look more like modern charms even though they were made in the 1950-60’s. Does everyone have a headache yet? Just think how tough it’s going to be for charm collectors in 2525 to figure out. They’ll also have the problem of Juicy Couture, Silver Confetti and other modern charms of good quality and great design that we snobby vintage charm noses presently ignore due to their newness. A few centuries from now the difference of a decade or two will probably not matter as much as we think now. In the meantime we all have to deal with what we are willing to pay and how to tell we aren’t being ripped off. To be honest I never buy Puffy Heart charms because I’m just too stupid to be sure I can tell real from repro. I try to learn, see, feel, and absorb everything I can about vintage charms. In the end however, I buy what I love and hope for the best.

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