Charms & Beads
It used to be that when jewellery was considered, the choice was limited to the particular items the jeweller had in stock, and the designs may or may not have suited the taste or the interest of the purchaser. There was little opportunity for self-expression, with reliance on the designer instead. These days, however, it is possible for a person to design their own jewellery items and customize them to their own individual ideas.
This is made possible by the current wide ranges of beads and charms available. There are two major options. Beads and charms can be strung onto or clipped onto basic bracelets or necklaces to suit the wearer. The basic bracelets or necklaces vary from silver links or strands to leather. Tools are not needed to construct these, as the bracelets or necklaces incorporate stoppers which prevent the beads from falling off. Colours can be chosen that complement the person's complexion or the colours of clothing they most usually wear. Important occasions or special interests can be commemorated. A new mother can be honored with a pram charm, a graduate with one inscribed "Congratulations," a gardener with a rose or other favorite flower.
The second option is to purchase beads and other jewellery components that can be individually strung on beading wire or filament to compose utterly original designs in shapes and sizes bounded only by the creator's imagination. Constructing these types of items usually means investment in jewellery tools such as forceps, wire cutters and different kinds of pliers and trays and learning special techniques.
Beads for the first option are available in gorgeous shades of Murano glass, often with secondary designs incorporated. There are sterling silver beads with lovely patterns or plainer designs to act as spacers for more ornate beads. Enamel designs can overlay the metal. Beads can be gold-plated, pearl, or inset with precious and semi-precious stones. Each is a work of art in itself.
There are charm beads and charms in a huge assortment of configurations. There are all sorts of animals - snails, toads, giraffes, cats, dogs, dolphins, butterflies, birds - letters of the alphabet, hearts, charms inscribed with meaningful words, flowers, handbags, angels, dice, as well as more abstract designs - something to suit every interest and event.
The wonderful thing is that the beads and charms can be easily changed on the basic bracelet or necklace, allowing the ultimate in expression and flexibility. And once a person is known to be collecting charms and beads, there is never a problem of what to shop for on birthdays and special occasions to be sure to please. When the gift is something chosen with love that shows a true understanding of the recipient's interests and accomplishments, it is to be treasured forever.