Queen of Charms

girl holding a hot dog smilinggirl holding a hot dog smiling

“It is surely the limitlessness of charms that is at the heart of their appeal and yet, no matter what guise they take, the need they fulfil are as old as time. These magical pieces of jewellery offer us love, luck and protection, themes that have endured through the centuries and across continents.”



Whatever name we give to these delicate pieces of jewellery; talismans, amulets, touchstones, their allure is as strong today as it was for our ancient spellbound ancestors.


1. Where it all Began

For the Ancient Egyptians, the scarab was one of the most powerful symbols. Celebrated since 4,000BC, it was believed to represent the sun’s movement across the sky and therefore became the symbol of the lifeforce itself. Believed to ensure rebirth in the afterlife, the scarab, as well as ladybirds, beetles and other perfectly formed critters, have long been celebrated in jewellery since.


Similarly, the Cowrie shell, which offered protection 20,000 years ago, remains popular; while variations of the ‘blue eye’, born out of the need to repel the ‘evil eye’ of death and destruction, is still attached to babies clothing in Azerbaijan today. In Eastern belief systems the turtle and its cousin deity the tortoise, were seen to support the cosmos and, in contemporary beliefs, have come to symbolise eternal life, wisdom and strength.


With the advent of Christianity, such charms became more decorative than amuletic. However, from the early pilgrims to 12th century crusaders those undertaking long, and often fraught journeys, were often accompanied by talismanic charms, like Annoushka’s solid gold St Christopher or a devotional cross. An ardent Christian with a taste for decoration, Queen Victoria is one of the most fabled celebrants of charms. Like Tutankhamen, the Queen instructed that 150 personal and sentimental charms would accompany her to her grave.


Spanning millennia, charms have always been part of the battle between good and evil. They have been adopted by every religion, culture and creed as emblems of love, luck, devotion, celebration, protection, heritage, wealth and style. Today, much like in 12th century Europe, many have turned to charms as talismans for a sense of comfort and protection at a time when the world seeks both—which is no doubt why we find charms at the centre of fashion once more.

2. Charm Anthology


Over her career as a jeweller, Annoushka has often pondered why she and others find charms and perfect miniatures so captivating.


“Is it that when we’re growing up, we relate to miniatures because they relate to our size? Or is it about being able to create something as absolutely perfect as it could be and hold it in our fingertips?”



Annoushka can trace her charm anthology back to childhood, where her mother would gift her a small trinket or memento from her travels, often to her native Russia. These cherished gifts developed into an eclectic collection of miniatures—from painted porcelain plates and tiny figurines, to pea-sized animals with every tail and whisker intact, gathered over a lifetime.


With a design career spanning 30 years and two jewellery brands, Annoushka has continued to unravel this fascination, designing close to 500 different charms.



“I love the intricacies of designing each tiny form, but really it’s a charms ability to tell a story and evoke a memory, which has been my most constant source of inspiration.”



One thing we know from their long and spellbinding history is that the significance of a charm is entirely personal and the form with which they take, whether magical, spiritual, celebratory, romantic or just for luck—knows no bounds. Each of Annoushka’s solid gold charms has their own story and so does each and every wearer.



3. Style it Your Way

While the charms themselves pose many choices, how you choose to wear and style them, is a decision Annoushka can also help with. For Queen Victoria, who one might imagine led a less active lifestyle than we do today, wearing a decorative charm bracelet was absolutely OK! These days, with so many of us sitting at computers for hours, full charm bracelets just aren’t always practical, but there are so many other ways to wear them.”

If you intend on wearing your charms together as a classic charm bracelet, then Annoushka explains the secret is in the positioning.



“I always think odd numbers are best, three, five or seven. Charms are not about uniformity, but you do want to create balance. When you wear multiple charms together you want to be able to enjoy them all and not be irritated by them sliding about or bashing into each other.”





If you love the three-dimensionally shaped charms, Annoushka designs with a vast array of fine materials to best capture the essence of her subject. Our iconic Spinning Globe is crafted from pure 18ct Gold and hand-finished with black rhodium for exceptional detail, while our Ebony Conker features a smooth, sculptured ebony seed for the perfect finish. Annoushka suggests they might work better worn on a longer chain necklace where they can swing playfully and take center stage. The long “Y “shaped Mythology chain or multi-link Biography chain, designed with charms in mind, allow you to taper your charms from the bottom up. With charms on a short necklace, Annoushka suggests you should consider how they will sit together on your chest.



“Attach the longest and largest at the bottom and the smallest at the top, like a cascade. Charms tend to look better as a combination of two flat shapes or as a trio of 3D shapes”



You may find that starting your story with a two dimensional charm is an easier starting point. Our Zodiac, St Christopher or Token discs are a great choice for this and ideal for personalisation—you can then add an engraved message or symbol to make your charm feel truly individual. These flat, coin-shaped charms then allow you to layer it with something like our Initial charm, which is partly cut out, so you can see a glimmer of the other charms beneath.




hand with a charm bracelethand with a charm bracelet

4. Tell Your Story

The sheer variety of charm designs available means that each one of us can create a distinctive story according to our own interests and achievements. This personal touch is what makes charms such a sentimental gift to receive and to treasure for a lifetime. Charms have the power to make us feel connected to our own story, to bring a memory back to life and hold in our hands and keep close.


When charms are exchanged between friends, even the most fun and frivolous such as our Smiley Face charms or Monkey charms become laden with touching messages and camaraderie; when they are gifted between lovers to mark an anniversary or Valentine’s Day, they can be imbued with romance, or with something more tongue in cheek. A universal symbol of love as well, as a heraldic emblem of kindness and charity, the heart is surely the most enduring of charms.


For gifts of fondness between a godparent or father to daughter on a birthday, an Initial Pendant or a series of Initial charms spelling out their name, is a lovely place to begin a collection, and gives you lots of scope for gifts to give year on year or for milestones such as graduation. An emblem of luck is also a poetic and lighthearted choice as a gift, such as our four-leaf Clover charm. For a more subliminal message try our Touch Wood Ebony charm, offering the protection of a talisman.


It’s also worth considering the different ways the recipient could wear their charms, and our collections offer lots of versatility. Necklaces maybe a more contemporary way of wearing charms in today’s trends, but to allow for styling options, all Annoushka charms are designed with a detachable bale clasp —so no matter what combination of treasures you choose for them, they can be worn around the neck, on the wrist or even on the ear.



“Whether it’s a landmark birthday reached, an exam passed with flying colours, the purchase of your first home or car or the birth of a baby—a charm collection records in exacting detail an individuals’ experiences— the solid gold map of a full life lived.”



If you’re just at the start of your charm journey, then who better to visit than Annoushka who offers so much choice and expertise. This guide offers an eloquent and easy to digest method to starting your own collection or choosing charms for someone else. If you can’t find the one that you want, then you can always contact the team to discuss a bespoke commission.





flower bouquet charmflower bouquet charm



5. Bespoke Charms

In 2020, Annoushka launched the very first bespoke charm service, My Life In Seven Charms, where she distils her client’s fondest memories and milestones, into a series of seven exquisitely detailed miniatures. My Life In Seven Charms is also an emotive podcast series, which unpicks the life of seven well-known personalities. Should you be interested in commissioning your own ‘life in charms’, please get in touch with our team.



“Everything about charms is to do with the narrative that they tell—the memory that they give, who they belonged to and when they wore them, perhaps that’s what makes them so appealing.”






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