About the Charm Bracelet Rescue Project

When I was eight years old, I had a little silver charm bracelet with two charms that I treasured. Apparently I wasn’t alone. Since the end of World War II, charm bracelets had become massively popular in the United States. In 1956 (before I was born), one in two American women, including my mother, owned a charm bracelet. These bracelets were still trendy during my childhood, but by the time I graduated from high school, my bracelet, now laden with charms, was very old-fashioned. So it sat tarnishing in a box for many years until I retrieved it to show my daughter. That curiosity led to an accidental business and a renewed passion for what is now fashionably mid-century vintage!

I converted my bracelet to a necklace by attaching it whole to complementary sterling chain. I wore it to a party on a lark—drawing many compliments and inquiries because it was so unique. And I began to appreciate anew the careful machine-age craftsmanship that is hard to find today.

I've since learned that today’s rising silver prices and tough economy have created a spike in vintage silver jewelry being melted down as scrap. When the scrap includes charm bracelets, each full of a unique mix of special memories in a real person’s life, I'm particularly saddened that it's disappearing forever. Quite by accident, I've found myself consumed with the idea of a “charm bracelet rescue project”! From this, our company was born.

Now, I seek out unique bracelets from my own community of Eugene Oregon and far beyond. The hunt is great fun. The unexpected gratefulness I often receive when I ask for the history of a piece is heartwarming.  Cleaning, balancing and crafting the necklaces are satisfying counterpoints to my “other” more cerebral work in the nonprofit sector. And passing on the finished piece to its new owner (you?) is just the right amount of bittersweet.  It’s all good.  

Thanks for wondering!

Kathi

Click here to learn more about the history of charms and charm bracelets.

Click here to see the original charm bracelet that inspired the Rescue Project. It's nothing fancy, but it's full of memories.