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Thomas Sabo
Thomas Sabo

Get lucky! Charm trends for 2018

They may be small but they’re not to be ignored. ALEX EUGENE discovers why charms are so much more than a passing fad.

JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter children’s book series, first received a charm bracelet when she was just five years old. Remembering the event in 2013 for Harper’s Bazaar, she wrote, “I had never been given anything more beautiful.”

Later in life, when the seventh Harry Potter book was released, Rowling’s editor gave her what would become “my most treasured piece of jewellery: a bracelet covered in gold and silver charms from the books. There was a tiny Golden Snitch, a silver Ford Anglia, a Pensieve and a stag Patronus. There was even a Philosopher’s Stone in the form of an uncut garnet.”

"Being able to create stories link by link with endless combinations for women, men, girls and boys allows the wearer to express their personality using an icon based language."
Ken Abbott, Managing Director of Timesupply

Like her books, Rowling’s personal story will hit a note for millions of people everywhere: charms have been made and worn for deeply personal reasons since the earliest times. And for retailers today, there’s no better item that taps into the highly emotional market of jewellery, but also presents an opportunity for repeat business on a regular basis.

In the history books

“The charm concept has been part of human history going back to prehistoric times,” Isaac Jewellery director Annet Atakliyan explains. “The need to keep things close to the body – individual treasure, things of beauty, cherished memories and marking prominent moments in life – was always met through charm jewellery.”

Indeed, ancient charms have been discovered that were made from shells, wood and bone long before fine jewellery existed. Christians used tiny fish charms hidden inside their cloaks to identify themselves to each other during the Roman Empire’s reign, between 64 AD and 313 AD.

Today it remains popular to wear charms as a symbol of personal meaning. Small and delicate, they have a unique ability to capture significant moments in life.

This, combined with the sheer diversity of designs on the market, makes charms a highly “collectable concept” that perfectly suits the personalised jewellery consumer, says Phil Edwards, managing director of Duraflex.

Duraflex Nikki Lissoni
Duraflex Nikki Lissoni

“For consumers, the appeal of this category is the unique product concepts, which allow wearers to celebrate their own personality and diversity – there are innumerable jewellery combinations possible,” he explains.

Ken Abbott, managing director of Timesupply, echoes the sentiment with regard to the Nomination bracelets, which feature unique interchangeable links. “Being able to create stories link by link with endless combinations for women, men, girls and boys allows the wearer to express their personality using an icon based language.”

Edwards adds there is further appeal for retailers: “Charm bracelets and bangles make the perfect gift, which can then be added to with additional charms to celebrate birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas and more. This generates customer loyalty and ignites consumers passion for a brand.”

The quiet achiever
Duraflex - Thomas Sabo
Duraflex - Thomas Sabo

In a price line-up, charms might seem negligible alongside engagement rings and other big sellers; however, it’s this very affordability that means customers are more likely to buy more than one and come back frequently.

Pandora has built an empire on these tiny heroes. The company’s managing director, Mikael Kruse Jensen, admits that Pandora harnessed “a magic formula in increasing customer basket size and engaging in a long-term relationship with the customer”.

“Charms as a concept is built on gifting and repeat purchases. With Pandora, consumers want to fill their bracelets and create different looks according to their style and sensibility, as well as mark the moments and milestones in their lives. The broad spread of pricing also appeals to many consumers, therefore price is not a barrier,” he explains.

For the quiet achiever to become that winning formula, visibility is crucial, Edwards explains.

Isaac Jewellery
Isaac Jewellery

“The concept of collectability is key, and effectively marketing this is critical,” he says. “This is why with Thomas Sabo, the launch of Generation Charm Club is accompanied by a comprehensive marketing concept to support local retail-partner marketing strategies. This includes a new generation Charm Club logo, unique POS presentation, advertising campaign, value-adding promotions, staff training portal, social media support and more.”

Atakliyan says charms lend themselves perfectly to today’s online sales climate. “Charms are playful and full of meaning, and as marketing ingredients, they are easily conveyed in today’s world of social media,” she says. “Charm material can be presented with any occasion, memory or message you wish to pass on to your clientele.”

For Abbott, personally helping the customer make the first step is key. “Be interested in you customer, listen and ask questions, to be able to help them build a story in iconic links that resonates emotionally,” he suggests.

Getting bang for buck
Stones & Silver
Stones & Silver

Charms don’t have to be limited to the bracelet domain either, Edwards says. In addition to the Thomas Sabo Generation Charm Club, Duraflex also carries the popular Nikki Lissoni range, which includes collectible charm bangles.

“They are essentially similar, but also provide options for interchanging, personalisation and wearing more charms, further driving the passion for collecting and sales,” Edwards says.

Even better, Atakliyan says retailers can benefit without blowing out the budget.

“Small collections of charms will benefit stores as customers will be attracted to them. Once the offer is there as a choice, retailers can order on an as-needed basis without committing a huge part of their yearly budget. They will stay relevant with the current market demand, instead of missing out,” she explains.

“We have found the Australian consumer loves Australian quality products. The messages ‘We are Australian’ and ‘Hand-made in Australia’ helps with successful sales,” she adds.

A charming future

The popularity of charms has exploded worldwide and the local market is no different.


“Sell-through from existing Composable stockists has been strong, with consistent reorders,” says Abbott. “And since the new distribution arrangement that started in January, with a refocus on Composable Links, we have 25 new retail partners.”

Edwards says: “Both Thomas Sabo and Nikki Lissoni continue to be strong jewellery brands in both the Australian and New Zealand markets. The Thomas Sabo Charm Club is the strongest-selling range in Australia, closely followed by the sterling silver jewellery range.

“For Nikki Lissoni, the charm products are an excellent addition to the core concept of interchangeable coins, which are the best sellers here locally.”

Atakliyan also says the Isaac charm collections “have performed very well since our initial launch of the Surreal brand in 2008.” She puts it down to being an Australian product, with a quality that inspires consumers to choose Isaac over other brands.


With the trend still going strong, suppliers are hard at work keeping it new and fresh.

“We are launching ‘Illuminate’, our new range of charms and jewellery with luminous gems and diamonds, which are collectable items,” Atakliyan adds. “The sky is the limit for mixing jewellery with charms; there is always room for marvellous creations.”

Thomas Sabo also has an extensive new range of offerings. “With around 260 restyled, high-quality charm designs, including extra-large charms, single earrings and a wealth of different carriers such as necklaces, bracelets and hinged hoops, the new collection is a completely new and modern offering,” Edwards says. “Generation Charm Club now addresses all Thomas Sabo target groups, above and beyond the loyal fans of the collection. This is by means of the new alignment of the collection, new pricing and combination options, and the addition of the unisex ‘Vintage Rebel’ designs.”

As Atakliyan puts it, “Charm jewellery has been in our lives and will be part of it for many centuries to come.”

If history is anything to go by, she may be right, and retailers can be the ones to help turn it into a reality.

Alex Eugene

Alex Eugene is a staff journalist with Jeweller.

Nationwide Jewellers

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