How to Curate a Charm Necklace

Charm check lace

Back in my late elementary school years I was obsessed with Project Runway as I was convinced I’d become a fashion designer one day. Everything the judges and Tim Gunn said was canon in my rule book and I only hoped that I’d have my own runway shows in New York City every S/S and A/W. Nina Garcia was one of the long-running judges and I bought every book she wrote, including The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own. In that book, I learned about wrap dresses (I always said I’d buy a DvF wrap dress when I got my first adult woman job…and that has yet to be purchased), investment bags, and charm bracelets, with the latter taking a spot on every birthday and Christmas dream wishlist ever since. Nina spoke about charm bracelets as delicate and intimate pieces customized for each wearer. I loved the idea of picking charms for special occasions and as souvenirs after vacations to places I might not see again. I’ve always wanted to create a truly special and elaborate charm bracelet, and my partner has gifted me a handful of charms representing trips we’ve been on together in the past couple of years along with three of my favorite parts of life—a rat charm for my precious Michael and Quentin, a BU for Baylor, and a solid gold football for obvious reasons. When I combined my Texas James Avery charm with my Kinn Studio heart locket, I unexpectedly created a small charm necklace, which I’ve obsessed over far more lately! My bracelet stacks have expanded with pieces I purchased myself along with ones I’ve been given, so drafting a charm necklace felt like the best way to showcase the jewels I love most at this time. It can be difficult finding charms, stacking them in a way where each one is seen, and finding the best chains and/or charm connectors to create even more elaborate neck art. I’m still in the process of finding my perfect charm necklace chain. I’m currently using my beloved one my Kinn Studio locket came on, but because I’ve added several more charms to the dainty chain, it looks a bit too heavy. My ideal charm necklace chain right now is a slightly thicker curb chain with more weight and length to hold heavier stacks. I find that I love mixed metals, textures, and shapes, and there’s nothing more delicious than charms that move! In my current charm necklace stack, I have a solid gold jingling tambourine with guitar charm from Yeah It’s Jewelry and a silver rat charm (similar here) on both sides of one of my most beloved Christmas gifts—a solid gold carabiner from Anygolds on Etsy (a perfect alternative to the gorgeous but outlandish Marla Aaron baby locks!), to which I connected my solid gold Kinn Studio heart locket, James Avery Texas charm, and solid gold football charm from Charmco!

I initially had trouble styling the charms on my necklace to evenly lay them and display the fronts at all times, and although the pieces still occasionally spin or jumble (see my football and locket turned a bit?) I found that adding the carabiner helped immensely with any styling issues! Charm connectors and extenders like carabiners, dog clips, or any other type of clasps can add length and dimension to an otherwise jumbled mess. My charms used to sit on top of each other, puddling instead of displaying for everyone to see, so my carabiner freed up space between the three on the connector in between the two that only sit on the chain. When deciding on styling, I recommend experimenting with how each piece lays out flat on a chain and moving them around until you find your perfect framing. So as not to have a chain that tilts to one side or the other, make sure you have the heaviest pieces in the middle of your charm stack either held together with a connector, or just in a v-shape with the lightest charms on the ends. I personally love having my most treasured pieces on my stack every day, but many people love moving their charms around or wearing multiple layered chains with a different stack for each occasion! Charm necklaces are so intimate and unique, so style, design, and wear yours exactly as you want it!