Keira Knightley loves hers, Oprah also wears one, and they are not the only celebrities who wear them. If you wear an Italian charm bracelet you will be entirely on trend.
Charm jewelry dates back to ancient times. Egyptian pharaohs used to be buried with expensive gold necklaces which they thought would bring them luck in the after-world. Their graves glittered with gold and colorful gems, such as rubies and emeralds. No expense was spared for their journeys into the after-life.
The ancient Romans believed that amulets would bring them good luck, protect them from evil, and bring prosperity. Roman amulets could have many different inscriptions, such as ‘Good luck to the user’ or images, such as big breasts, which were believed to help women become fertile. Young Roman boys wore gold pouches on their necklaces to help them. These ‘bullas’ were given to them when they were children to protect them from evil spirits.
Roman girls wore the ‘lunullas’, named after the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, for the same reason. These were burned along with their childhood toys when they got married. This may have meant that they were now entering a different stage of life.
Roman Christians used to wear jewelry with fish motifs hidden under their clothing because Christianity was a forbidden religion. The fish emblem probably originated because the Greek word for fish is an acronym for ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’. The fish identified people as Christians so that they could meet others in secret.
Italian Charm Bracelets
Charms on bracelets have existed for centuries. During the Renaissance the charms could be very expensive and finely wrought with gold or silver. They started falling out of fashion during this period, however, because people began to turn away from superstitious beliefs. The bracelets didn’t return to fashion again until Queen Victoria’s time. Queen Victoria loved to wear charms on her jewelry and charms became very chic.
The bracelets also became fashionable after the Second World War. American soldiers brought the bracelets back to America as presents for their wives and girlfriends. The charms often consisted of the flags of the different countries which the soldiers had visited. The bracelets were suitable for birthdays and anniversaries – any sort of special occasion. Women loved them and they have been in and out of fashion ever since.
Traditionally Italian charm bracelets were made of stainless steel with 18 kt gold and hand-painted enamelled emblems. The bracelets have interchangeable and replaceable charms and links. Today you can still buy the traditional bracelets but there are many other choices, ranging from the expensive to the cheaper versions. The bracelets also come in different sizes and there are a huge range of charms available.
Cheap bracelets are usually made of sterling silver and start at only $10.00. Medium-priced bracelets may contain tiny gems or tiny diamonds. Very expensive bracelets can be bought in 18 kt gold with precious stones, such as sapphires or emeralds. Famous makers of the diamonds include Zoppini, Nomination, and Forzieri.
Italian Horn Necklaces
The cornicello, which literally means ‘little horn’, is also worn to protect wearers against the evil eye. The evil eye was believed to consist of a curse that someone placed on others – many of these curses were believed to affect women’s fertility. Usually this was motivated by jealousy or anger towards another person. Some religious people disapprove of the decoration because of its superstitious origins.
The horn, which is hung on a necklace, looks like the twisted horn of an animal. It isn’t a pretty ornament. It is usually worn by men because of its phallic symbolism. The horn ornaments are also sometimes hung from the backs of cars for good luck.
The horn originated in Roman times when the horn of the moon goddess was considered sacred. She was replaced by the Virgin Mary who was often pictured standing on a lunar crescent. The cornicellos are often made of silver because silver was linked to the goddess. Coral was also considered sacred because it was linked to the goddess, Venus. Girls often wear a coral twig or ornament attached to a necklace instead of a cornicello.
There are many different kinds of cornicello available and, like the charm bracelets, they can be bought very cheaply or you can buy extremely expensive horns made of solid gold or silver.