(left, clockwise from top) Sterling silver and stamp charm (Croghan’s Jewel Box, $90). Sterling silver Southern Gates Fancy Garden charm (Charleston Collections Gifts, $17). Sterling silver Old Exchange Building ($69) and sand dollar ($33) charms (Skatell’s). (right) Bouquet with captain’s wheel charm (thrift store). Photographs by Ruta Elvikyte (charms) and Jennifer Bearden (bouquet).
June 25, 2013
How Charming! Add sentiment to your Big Day with treasured keepsakes for you and your ’maids
written by Molly Hutter
When Confederate Lt. George Dixon was shot point-blank in a Civil War battle, the gold charm a sweetheart had gifted him stopped the bullet. So when Dixon set off in the H.L. Hunley submarine to sink a Union sloop just outside the Charleston Harbor, he packed his lucky charm. While the mission to sink a Union sloop was a success, Dixon and the rest of his crew perished. When their wreck was recovered in 2000, the charm was reclaimed, too. Inscribed on its face: “Shiloh, April 6, 1862: My life Preserver, G.E.D.”
Though all charms may not carry such storied lives as that iconic Charleston relic, the trinkets can mark milestones throughout the years—and your nuptials are no exception. To weave details from her courtship with Graham Lucas into their wedding day at the French Protestant (Huguenot) Church last May, Laura Bojarski pinned charms to her bridesmaids’ bouquets.“My bridesmaids and I talked about the story behind each charm,” Laura says.
West Ashley’s Ashley Bakery also sees a lot of charms worked into weddings thanks to the “cake pull”—a Southern ritual from Victorian times. The cake is placed atop a sea of charms that are tied to ribbons, the loose ends of which cascade out from under the confection and sown the stands. After the couple cuts a slice, each attendant pulls a ribbon and keeps their charm. “A charm is a wonderful keepsake,” says Laura Lee Buncher, owner of Charleston Charm. “It’s a memory that can be passed along.”
Whether for bouquets or cake pulls, jewelers offer charms for any budget (typically $15 and up). Especially suitable for Lowcountry weddings are sweetgrass baskets, palmetto trees, and horse-drawn carriages. Other options include ironwork patterns from gates throughout town, or the steeples of ceremony spots like St. Philip’s, St. Michael’s, and St. Matthew’s churches. And though sterling silver charms are most prevalent, many Charleston vendors offer gold, enamel, and bejeweled varieties, too.
“It’s the memento aspect that makes charms so special,” says Stacy Gould, who, along with her husband, Scott, has been casting charms in their Princess Street workshop, G2 Silver, for nearly three decades. The couple sells their wares to local and national boutiques like the Historic Charleston Foundation Gift Shop and are know for their detailed craftsmanship. “There’s a moment or a memory behind each and every one,” she says. And what could be more meaningful than a memento from that momentous day?
Find Holy City-themed charms (and many more) at these local jewelers.