From the Heart
A mother’s heirloom charm bracelet becomes necklaces for her daughters.
Mom’s charms link sisters.
My mother gave me her charm bracelet years before she died, but I never wore it. I’m just not a bracelet person. It stayed tucked in my jewelry box, cherished but hidden. When a friend wrote a book called The Charm Bracelet, I was inspired to pull out my mother’s tarnished silver heirloom from its hiding spot. And I decided I wanted to share it with my five sisters.
Instead of mailing the bracelet from state to state in a sort of time-share arrangement (which
we’d once done with a treasured family quilt), I decided to use the charms to create necklaces. Each of my sisters (sorry, big brother) got one as a gift from me as a memento of Mom.
Although I could have done the project myself, I have a friend whose hobby is jewelry-making. Better to hand it off to someone who has drawers full of beads and clasps and chains.
She and I talked about my sisters: Marcia, Sandy, Cathy, Mary and Terri. What are their birthstones and styles? Silver or gold? Simple or embellished? We figured out the appropriate personality for each necklace and divvied up the charms, some with a significance that remains a mystery to me. The baby shoes probably were a gift to my mom when Marcia, her first child, was born. There was a mini bowling alley with a teensy moveable ball that could be “rolled” down the alley to knock over tiny pins. That would be perfect for Mary, whose son once worked at a bowling alley. There was an old-time wringer washing machine charm. A tiny wedding ring. An old-fashioned stand mixer that had moving parts. A religious symbol. A medal for her completion of a Dorothy Carnegie course. There were entwined hearts engraved with the words “you/me.”
Those charms—once hidden away in my jewelry box—have been brought back to life for my sisters, who now wear them close to their hearts.
Each personalized necklace shows off a charm from Jeanne Ambrose’s mother’s bracelet.
Jeanne’s family gathered in Hawaii on her wedding day. From left are brother Mike; sisters Mary and Marcia; parents Catherine and Louis; Jeanne; and sisters Cathy, Terri and Sandy.