Thursday, January 22, 2009

Charms

38mm Alhambra Charms watch of rose gold and diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels; $18,400; at 12West 57th Street; 212-644-9500.
by Ki Hackney

We could all use a little luck these days, don’t you think? And while we wish our 44th President has Luck standing alongside him as he faces the hard work ahead of him on behalf of our country, most of us could use some good fortune on our own home fronts.

What better way to encourage a positive turn than fortifying ourselves with a lucky charm, whether it’s a true amulet worn through the ages for its power to protect its wearer, a talisman bearing a mystical symbol on its surface to attract luck and help with healing, or a more modern-day charm associated with its ability to bring about luck, such as a lucky penny.

The most popular good-luck token is the four-leaf clover. While Ireland’s signature Shamrock, is actually a three-leaf plant symbolizing the Holy Trinity, legends have it that, instead of an apple, Eve picked a four-leaf clover in the Garden of Eden.
Enameled four-leaf clover at Deanna Littell’s Charm School; at 212-369-8474 or www.deannalittellscharmschool.com. Scarab motif charm; $18,150 ; at Cartier, 653 Fifth Avenue/53rd Street, 212-753-0111.
Whether she did or did not, this quatrefoil is said to possess God’s grace, and, since ancient times, the leaves have represented hope, faith, love, and luck.

Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels give this traditional symbol life in very different ways: Tiffany’s clover is clean-cut and silver while Van Cleef’s is their signature quatrefoil, in miniature, of diamonds set it rose gold.

Some people use their lucky amulets for special events, such as flying. The late Nan Kempner wore her coveted collection, including a coin blessed by the Pope and a gold figure that her daughter made on a chain around her neck on every flight, clutching them during take-offs and landings.

Others have worn their tokens for life. Park Avenue dentist, Dr. Bobby Wang, still wears the protective jade bi (pronounced bee) disc given to him by family friends at birth in keeping with an ancient Chinese protective custom.
Top: A sterling silver next with pearls for purity and coral for good health and regenerative force from Nikki Sedacca; available at Nikki Sedacca, The Art of Jewelry; 49 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL; 877-957-1965 and at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores. www.sedacca.com.

Above:
Satya necklace with Om for inner peace, the Hand of Fatima or hamsa to protect against negative energies and a carnelian to encourage positive thoughts; at Satya, 330 Bleeker Street, 212-243-7313 or 946 Lexington Avenue, 212-288-3292.
And Jennifer Miller, who has been selling variety of evil-eye jewelry and accessories in her shop since the “early 90s” whether simple Murano glass or gem-studded, wears her own “grand-daddy” bracelets every day. And many of us received our good luck clovers and ladybugs as charms for bracelets that our Mothers and Grandmothers started for us.

Designer Deanna Littell, who creates custom charm bracelets, keeps a collection of these charmers, including the Chinese disc, horseshoes, ladybugs, and clovers.
Jennifer Miller’s collection of evil eye jewelry; at Jennifer Miller, 972 Lexington Avenue, 212-734-8199; www.jewelsbyjen.com.
Increasingly, more and more lucky charms have mystical imprints, whether it’s an elephant with his trunk turned up for luck, an Om symbol or a smiling Buddha. Specific spiritual symbols, healing gemstones and sacred meanings are the focus for Satya, and the shop is filled with these mystical charms grouped together in a series of delightful everyday necklaces.

Me & Ro takes the very spiritual path as well and has been creating symbolic jewelry since 1991, including their current pendant engraved with golden fishes -- a classic Tibetan good luck sign. Cartier reaches back to ancient Egypt and the sacred scarab for its winged charm associated with the sun and renewal of life and a bit of luck.
Four leaf clover charm in sterling silver, $100.00, at Tiffany & Co., 727 Fifth Avenue, 212-755-8000. Open Heart pendant in rose gold and sterling silver by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co.; $440; Tiffany & Co. 727 Fifth Avenue; 212-755-8000.
Vintage 1945 lucky horseshoe cufflinks in signature sterling silver and gold designed by Flemina Eskildsen for Georg Jensen; $375.00; at www.jensensilver.com or 646-733-8041.
Me&Ro’s engraved Golden Fishes Pendant, symbolizing happiness, fertility and plenitude, is one of the eight Tibetan symbols of Good Fortune. The pendant measures 1-inch in length and hangs on a 16 or 18-inch silver chain with a silver lobster claw closure. Also available on www.meandrojewelry.com; $580.00 retail.
This charming black elephant has his feet on the ground and lucky trunk in the air; $65.00 (for the necklace); at Kenneth Jay Lane, The Plaza Hotel Retail Collection, 58th Street/Fifth Avenue.
This Chinese jade bi disc, the pearl-studded horseshoe, and ladybug plus the key with miniature good luck charms are just part of the collection of the fine vintage charms at Deanna Littell’s Charm School from which you can create a custom charm bracelet; charms range from $200 and up; at 212-369-8474 or www.deannalittellscharmschool.com.
Jennifer Miller’s collection of evil eye jewelry and accessories ranges from diamond studded bracelets or an embroidered clutch (below) to Murano glass evil eye bead bracelets and clusters colorful evil eye charms on braided leather bracelets; $35-$4800.00; at Jennifer Miller, 972 Lexington Avenue, 212-734-8199; www.jewelsbyjen.com.