From The Bench

All About Beads and Charms – The Crafting Life

The use of beads and charms in crafting DIY jewelry is part of the long history of the “do it yourself” movement, which began as early as 1912. Even then, the idea of doing something yourself meant you ‘bypassed the experts’ for various reasons. While other DIY projects, such as house repairs and home improvements, are more well-known, the DIY spirit extends well beyond drywall and drills. Jewelry design, for one, is one field where the DIY spirit is very much welcome.

For example, Xinar has sold countless beads and charms to crafters and jewelry-making enthusiasts for over twenty years. Our work began in the nineties on eBay. We’ve helped countless crafters bring their creative visions to life with our carefully curated collections of metal beads and findings and 925 sterling silver charms.

The Everlasting Appeal of Beads and Charms

Beads and charms have been worn for hundreds of years to bring good fortune, love, and spiritual forces to their owners.

Egyptian pharaohs wore the first known charm bracelets because they thought the objects would accompany them into the afterlife.

Talismans were commonly carried into battle during the sixteenth century to ward off evil, bring great luck to their owners, or damage to their foes.

Since the less superstitious Renaissance, when only the lower classes favored charms, their popularity did not fully recover until the reign of Queen Victoria, who created the modern charm bracelet and whose admiration of these jewels spread quickly throughout European aristocracy.

Queen Victoria is well-known for giving plenty of favor to expensive gemstone charms and lockets that held snippets of hair or small photographs of loved ones. She had charms made to give to her loved ones every year to mark the passing of another year, and such was her devotion to these miniature treasures.

After the turn of the century, beads and charms remained a favored accessory for women. For example, the ‘Forums Up,’ a small child’s figure with a wooden head, was a popular design among World War I soldiers who wanted a lucky charm to rub when they encountered difficulties on the battlefield.

Handmade souvenirs from the areas where American soldiers had served were also very popular with soldiers returning home from World War II.

However, the most glamorous beads and charms were most likely made for the silver screen goddesses of the ’40s and ’50s. They paired their haute couture with charm bracelets frequently made of the most luxurious materials, such as platinum and diamonds.

Walter Lampl, a jeweler in New York City, had a soft spot for charms because of the incredible attention to detail and intricate design they often featured.

Walter’s love tokens for Sylvia were often made of sterling silver or 14K gold and decorated with enamelwork and precious stones like rubies, sapphires, and pearls; his 1956 catalog featured 750 charms that catered to almost every interest and pastime.

Walter Lampl was well-liked by his large staff because of his generosity, respect, and excellent care for them. However, after Walter Lampl’s untimely death from a heart attack on Christmas Eve, 1945, in front of all his loyal employees whom he was hosting an annual party, Sylvia Lampl decided in 1959 that she couldn’t bear the prospect of relinquishing control of her late husband’s legacy to someone outside the family. So she shut down Walter Lampl Inc.

Although the Thomas L. Mott Company was best known for its butterfly wing jewelry during the Art Deco era, its souvenir charms commemorating trips around the world, many of which featured brightly colored enamelwork, were highly sought after in the 1970s, when charms experienced something of a renaissance after a relatively quiet decade.

Despite this, Beaucraft said that charms were their best-selling jewelry throughout their 57-year run, which ended in 2004. The company’s products were innovative, so it hired a large sales force to transport them from the Rhode Island factory to the nation’s jewelers and department stores.

British companies Nuvo and CHIM, active from the 1950s through the 1970s and 1980s, also produce highly collectible charm brands.

Both cultures created a plethora of beautiful and complex works using silver and gold, some of which even featured moving or hinged parts, gems, or enameling. Some charms are stamped with the Wells hallmark and a top hat, indicating that they were produced by the American company Wells Sterling, which also traded as Top Hat from 1957 to 1964 and whose catalogs from that time are now as highly prized as the items listed within them.

The variety of charms available today is unparalleled, and many people buy them as souvenirs for special occasions like vacations, significant birthdays, anniversaries, and career milestones.

Collections of beads and charms are beautiful to look at over time. For example, a bracelet with 1-3 charms makes an excellent gift that can be added to special occasions like holidays, birthdays, and even anniversaries.

Crafting with beads and charms can be a labor of love that lasts a lifetime and becomes a piece of personal art passed down through the generations.

The Benefits of Crafting and DIY Hobbies

Are you seeking inspiration to increase your output of handmade goods? Or how to justify your beadwork time to loved ones.

Exactly what are the upsides of making things by hand?

– Eighty-one percent of depressed people took a survey about crafting. However, they said that crafting made them happy. Half or more of the respondents said they were “thrilled.”

– Decreased anxiety. One of the most widespread threats to human health is stress. Some side effects include migraines, fatigue, heart failure, and cognitive decline. Conversely, disease rates decline as stress levels drop. You can reduce the adverse effects of stress daily by using DIY crafting as a form of meditation.

– Used for the treatment of depression and anxiety. The most widely reported and researched advantage of crochet and knitting is its relief from depression. Serotonin, a natural antidepressant, is released in the brain because of the repetitive nature of the crafts.

– Building one’s pride in oneself through completing a project is invaluable. Feeling good about yourself can begin with envisioning, working on, and finally completing a product. One example is the fear of losing one’s job; others have finally used this to break free from an abusive partner.

– Protects against age-related mental decline. Several studies suggest that crafting can delay the onset of memory decline that comes with advancing age. In addition, those showing early signs of dementia may also find comfort in the crafts.

–  Crafting aids sleep, so it’s suitable for insomnia. It’s awful to be unable to sleep. You’re exhausted, but you can’t seem to fall asleep. This makes you even more frustrated. Did you know that in a study of people with insomnia, 100% said the program helped them sleep better, and 90% said they could reduce or stop taking medication altogether?

– Calming oneself down is a surefire way to lessen agitation and irritation. So pick up some wire and metal beads when feeling down in the dumps, antsy, frustrated, or bored. Relationships can be maintained, and emotional stability can be maintained with the help of this constructive outlet.

– If you’re planning to take crafting classes like crafting with beads and charms, you’ll socialize much more. Crafting helps strengthen bonds between people. In addition, a solid support system is beneficial for anyone with a health problem.

– Crafting with beads and charms and other similar hobbies facilitate the work of mourning. But, unfortunately, we all must eventually deal with loss. You may feel like you’ll never be able to function normally again during intense grief.

One of the most reassuring activities during this time is working with beads and charms. In other words, you won’t need much time or cash to accomplish this. You can do it bit by bit whenever you have the energy. Moreover, it has the potential to alleviate distress temporarily. Each day spent engrossed in rhythmic beading can bring you one day closer to feeling normal again.

Please contact us if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for reading!

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1 Comment

  1. Santafeli on November 13, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    Are you located in Graton, CA? Most, if not all, bead shops in the area have closed down. I wonder if it is possible to buy your beads in person, as I live nearby. Thank you.

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