Tracey Zabar. Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, $19.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-1-58479-334-2
Stunning photographs of intricately assembled charm bracelets back up jewelry designer Zabar's contention that charm bracelets function as""history on a wrist."" Whether they be sentimental, autobiographical, historically significant, cheap or very expensive, each bracelet reveals what is (or was) close to the heart of its wearer. Some hold silver silhouettes of boys and girls, others gem-studded Cartier figurines or even kitschy miniatures of popular candies or brightly colored dice. Zabar, whose own charmed designs are sold at Barneys New York and Kate Spade, traces the rise and fall of the bracelets' popularity--beginning with ancient people's belief in the power of amulets to repel evil and bring about fertility--and celebrates the recent resurgence of the unique accessory, which fell out of fashion during the women's movement in the 1970s. Zabar showcases many celebrities' charm bracelets--including the bracelet Desi Arnaz gave Lucille Ball, which was adorned with six records engraved with the titles of his hit songs--and provides ideas for building a bracelet for a specific person, such as an animal lover, bride or career girl. Crucial advice for the proper assembly and care of charm bracelets is offered, as well as clever suggestions for uses of charms""beyond the bracelet,"" like slipping them on the ribbon of a birthday gift or wrapping them in parchment and baking them into a cake (warning those who eat it, of course, that there is a treasure inside). It is unlikely charm bracelets will ever fall out of style forever, because, as Zabar remarks,""Charm bracelets express who a woman is in a subtle way, simultaneously giving a whimsical little nod to her style while also serving as a record of remembrance of her life.""
Reviewed on: 09/01/2004