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For some people, every personal milestone is just another excuse to add a charm to their jewellery collection: a birthday, a new romance – even the end of a relationship. “We’ve heard amazing stories about friends gifting each other charms of strength to help them through break-ups,” Alighieri founder Rosh Mahtani tells Vogue. “The idea of collecting them, like fragments to mark significant moments in life, is so magical. My most precious charm is one that my dad bought me when I was actually going through a difficult time; it’s a little rose gold drum.”
If Alighieri’s charm jewellery is weighted with powerful symbolism (it is a brand inspired by Dante, after all), Chopova Lowena’s delightfully zany creations are covered with candy-coloured motifs including butterflies – a brand signature – as well as hearts, smileys and dolphins.
The brand’s kitsch designs are refreshingly modern, but they’re decidedly similar to the gems you might have worn in your youth (’90s and Noughties babies, we’re looking at you). And what’s a classic charm without a touch of personalisation? Chopova Lowena offers that, too. In fact, the swinging alphabet dog bone pendants are a favourite among team Vogue.
Y2K-inspired charms can also be found at Greek brand Mayol – which specialises in jangling bracelets, anklets and necklaces loved by Gen-Z magpies Dua Lipa and Mia Regan – and New York-based Beepy Bella, whose whimsical designs have received the supermodel seal of approval from Bella Hadid.
Celebrities have gone wild for similarly nostalgic necklaces from Ian Charms, an LA-based brand offering playful beaded jewellery. The brand’s founder Lisa Sahakian previously told Vogue: “I love that my necklaces don’t follow any rules, and they’re 100 per cent customisable. Each piece can get so personal and I learn so much about each customer.” (Dua even commissioned a charm that bears the face of her dog, Dexter.)
Jeweller Cece Fein Hughes goes one step further, describing charms as “miniature treasure chest[s] of stories in ring or pendant form”. Ian Charms is all about the Y2K aesthetic, but Cece delves deeper into history, making jewellery inspired by fairy tales and traditional tattoos. The fledgling designer’s delicate pendants are made from recycled gold and decorated with hand-painted enamel etchings, meaning that every piece is completely unique.
Foundrae’s jewellery champions enamelwork, too. Beth Bugdaycay, who founded the brand in 2016, has attracted the likes of Kamala Harris, Emily Ratajkowski and Gwyneth Paltrow with her storytelling charms and medallions.
Meanwhile, Pi London is leading the charge on the vintage front. According to founder Isobel Procter, the London-based supplier stocks “everything from Victorian insects and fruit inspired by Darwin’s discoveries, to 1970s star signs and letters, to diamond and gold daisies from the Nineties”, sourced from her vast network of auction houses and antique dealers. Procter echoes her fellow jewellers’ opinions: “Charms always make you smile and every charm you find means something different to each person.” And isn’t that half the fun?
Read more: The Best Initial Necklaces