The following article appears in the July 2009 "The Valley" newsletter of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society.
Charming Way to Write a Book by Jacky Walker
Phyllis Hansen, author of Charming: Jewelry with a Message, regaled guests and members of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society on Thursday, June 25, with tales of charms and charm bracelet history.
“Charms are fairy tale tokens that carry messages,” Hansen said. “They tell time, reveal history, keep secrets, introduce you to new friends, tell tales, record genealogy, and are keepers of our soul.”
Hansen explained how charms were used by ancient Egyptians through the modern era when Queen Victoria popularized the miniature tokens with her penchant for wearing jewelry. She predicts that a new heyday for charms is surfacing. New uses for charms include adorning cell phones, photo frames, shoes, bookmarks, tiny
Christmas trees, dog collars, and even men’s watch fobs.
According to Hansen, the most popular charms are gold and silver, although she has seen charms made of lacquered wood and Bakelite. Turquoise/silver charms were avidly collected after Route 66 opened and tourism to the Southwest became popular.
Several members of the audience shared their charm bracelet history, including Liane Schirmer, whose charm bracelet was a joint gift at her recent milestone surprise birthday party. Each guest brought a charm representing a special memory that they shared with Liane, which was a great ice breaker and a memory she truly cherishes.
Hansen, a freelance writer, also explained how she came to write the book and the creative process of getting it published for her client the Brighton Collections, a leading accessories specialty store. Thank you, Phyllis, for a wonderful program!