Italian charm bracelets are not the dangling type of charm bracelet. Rather than hanging charms attached to a linked chain, they are flat bands made up of modular, rectangular charms that link together on a stretchy band. The charms on this type of bracelet are available in a wide range of materials, patterns, colors and finishes.
Italian charm bracelets started becoming popular in North America in the 1990s when Italian soccer players were seen wearing the bracelets with charms which featured Italy's flag. One that fits the average woman usually has 18 links. A small bracelet has 17 links and a large one has 19 links. Children may need less links depending on their age and men may need more links added. The wearer chooses a bracelet with the required number of links first and then chooses the charms to fill them.
Each bracelet can be customized to reflect the wearer's personality, hobbies and interests. The charms can be purchased at different locations since the links in Italian charm bracelets are standard sizes. Each charm image is soldered to the flat, modular links. The links can be taken on and off the bracelet to move the patterns around as new charms are added.
More than one Italian charm bracelet may be worn at a time. Double-banded bracelets can be made by using a large rectangular charm in the center of two bracelets. A watch face may be substituted for the large charm to create a watch with an Italian charm watchband.
Italian charm bracelets can be very inexpensive or very expensive. The inexpensive types have charms made of stainless steel and/or enamel. Themes of Italian charms include flowers, flags, sports, religious symbols, rock stars, animals, licensed cartoon characters, initials and many more. Some have messages printed on them such as Happy Birthday or I Love New York.
More expensive Italian charm bracelets may include charms made of gold and/or charms set with gemstones. Sterling silver bracelets are also available. Photo charm bracelets feature charms made with a photograph coated with enamel. Pets and travel are popular subjects in Italian photo charms.