If you have done an internet search for jewelry charms, you have no doubt found pages and pages of places to acquire these pieces. Your head may be swirling with all the options and possibilities. But, before you buy, there are a lot of things you need to know about the charms you are considering purchasing.
What metal is it made out of?
Charms are created in a number of different metals. Those metals and how they are finished can create a variety of look that will completely define your jewelry designs. Pewter charms are the most versatile for appearances. They are essentially the chameleons of charms. Pewter in it's straight form will give you a grey-silver colored charm that can supply a look that it may have already been an antique as soon as it was created. But, then there are the many other faces of pewter charms. Through the magic of finishes they can take on a look of other metals. If you've ever seen pewter charms with shiny gold or shiny silver finish, you may have had a tough time deciding whether they were the real precious metals or not. In addition there are antiqued silver and gold finishes that will make your jewelry piece look like an heirloom handed down over generations. If you want charms made out of precious metal, silver is the more affordable option, and while it will tarnish, it can be easily cleaned with a polish or dip-style silver cleaner.
Look for Quality in the design.
When considering a charm purchase, take careful consideration of the quality of work that has gone into the piece. Whether they have been stamped our poured, a well-created charm will have beautiful definition with attention to detail in the design that make it stand out. Feel the edges. They should be clean and smooth. If not, that is a show of bad workmanship and quality control, not to mention charms with rough edges will likely get caught on your clothing when being worn in a jewelry creation.
Is it real, or is it glass?
Some charms are extra-special and come with accenting from semi-precious stones or rhinestones. Before you buy, make sure you know what you are purchasing. Sometimes, less than honest dealers will sell you bits of glass embedded in a charm, for a fortune, claiming it's the real deal. Instead of being ripped off, choose a reputable dealer to purchase your charms. They'll stand behind their product and likely will even give you a product description in writing so you know you are getting the genuine article.
What is the charm saying?
Every charm has a meaning. Sometimes we see a new collection of charms, are awe-struck by the variety, and start snatching up all the ones we haven't seen before. But, as you choose the charms to purchase for your next jewelry endeavor stop to think about what they are saying and whether you speak the same language. If you are going to create a piece for yourself, do the charms represent you or hold special meaning to you? If you are making a gift for someone else, make sure the charms you choose to incorporate into their piece will speak to them in the same way. Because of the variety of designs in charms, these are a very unique way to make a very personal piece of jewelry.
Who else has my charm?
There is nothing worse than thinking you have something that is one in a million and then finding out everyone in the world has it too. This is the same with charm jewelry. When you are deciding which charms to purchase, consider the originality of the pieces you are buying. Some companies only offer a limited selection that are mass-produced, meaning everyone will be buying the same few designs. Instead, look for a wide variety or designer-style charms from which you can pick from a plethora of designs to create a special look.
Building a charm family.
While many think of shopping for charms like any other shopping expedition, remember the piece you are going to create are going to be a personal extension of you. You should put as much energy into this as into any other special purchase in your life. By knowing what you are looking for before you begin your charm shopping spree, you are much more likely to find the charms you want, the quality you expect and be able to create a unique piece of jewelry you will treasure for many years to come.
Know where a charm is going to go before you buy it. If you are creating a piece of jewelry or art that has only one charm, or only one design of charm in it, shop away. But if you are going to put a family of charms together to create one unique piece, you need to know the family is going to 'get along'. While you may see a lot of charms that you like, you may not all like them when they are side by side or strapped to a bracelet around you wrist. The charms need to compliment one another. When they are together, they need to seem like a collection. Make sure the charms compliment each other and that none of them are detracting from the piece as a whole.