How To - A GUIDE FOR THE MOST ADORABLE CHARM BRACELET

1. CHOOSING A BRACELET

Firstly you need to consider which material suits you best.  Charm bracelets are available in gold, silver (in various finishes) and leather.  Does your bracelet need to complement existing jewellery, are you (or the recipient if buying for a friend or loved one) a more traditional gold lover or would silver, either shiny or dark grey oxidised, suit you better.  Leather provides another alternative for a more modern and casual feel.

Once you have chosen a material you need to measure the correct length.  Measure around your wrist either with a tape or wrap a piece of string around, mark the length and lay it flat to measure it.  This is the circumference of your wrist.  Your bracelet needs to be 2-4cm larger than this.

If you plan to have just a few charms on your bracelet go for 2cm bigger, if you are planning on a full bracelet then you need to add more so that the bracelet isn't tight on your wrist.  You should also bear in mind that over time your bracelet may expand up to 10mm as the material 'relaxes', this is true of both metal and leather bracelets.

So now you know the material and size of your bracelet-to-be, the next decision is to choose a clasp, they are available with a traditional lobster claw clasp or with a clamshell type clasp which splits in half to open, clipping together to look like a spacer bead when closed.

2. ADD YOUR FIXTURES AND FITTINGS

Now you have your bracelet your are almost ready to add your charms, but before you do take a moment to think about the look you want, how you are going to keep the charms where you put them and how to make extra-sure you don't lose them.

Your bracelet when opened has a threaded part at one end, this is where you put your charms on, they either screw on or slip over this part of the bracelet, there are also small threaded parts one third and two thirds of the way along to split it into 3 separate areas.

If you are filling your bracelet up then you don't need to worry but if you are starting with a few charms and adding more as you go along then you may want to think about clips, these open up like the clamshell clasp and clip over the threaded areas part way along the bracelet effectively splitting it into three distinct areas, if you only have 5 or 6 charms this can ensure that they stay evenly distributed along the bracelet and do not 'bunch up' in one area.

You may also want to consider a safety chain.  These thread on before your first bead and after the last one so that if the clasp comes open for any reason the bracelet is still held together as a 'ring' by the safety chain, ensuring that no charms fall off.

3.  MAKE IT YOURS

Now comes the fun part.  Which charms you choose depends entirely on you.  How about some boy and girl charms to represent the kids, your favorite animal, national flag in enamel, a pretty flower.  Nobody can decide for you, the only thing to do is browse the charms and see which ones call out to you.

Remember that once you have a few silver charms that you love you can adapt your bracelet to suit your mood easily.  Add a few Swarovski charms to add some sparkle, slip some silver core coloured glass or cut crystal beads between your silver ones to recolour your bracelet to match a particular outfit or occaision.

You don't ned to rush to fill your bracelet all at once, stick to buying charms that you love and it will make the finished bracelet more meaningful, and if you do end up with more than will fit on then expand with a double bracelet which goes around your wrist twice or even a necklace.