Layer Up: Build Your Own Charm Necklace

When Tim and I were first dating, we went on a lot of hikes in the Shenandoah area which was honestly a new experience for me: I conceptually enjoyed nature prior to knowing Tim, but I considered myself much more comfortable in the city than traipsing through the woods. So, I owned little by the way of hiking gear and often found myself too cold or too hot, especially in the fall and early winter. One day when I was complaining yet again of my temperature imbalance, Tim looked at me and – in all seriousness – said, “Have you heard of this thing called layers?”

I died. Layers! Of course I had “heard” of layers. I’m sure I was wearing multiple layers at that very moment. But here’s the thing about layering up: you need the right foundation pieces to make it work. If you’re layering poor quality thin t-shirts under your super heavy “Bevar Christiania” hoodie that you bought at some hippie stand in Copenhagen, you will still be uncomfortable.


I opted for a layered approach featuring our alternating beaded chain in two lengths,
our pierced initial charm in “M”, the diamond crescent charm, and our geometric pearl.


The same principle applies to jewelry. I love the layered effect of simple necklaces and charms, but if you simply stack a bunch of charms on a few thin chains, you’ll end up with a tangled mess. I like to strike a balance between delicate charms and larger statement pieces that provide a nice backdrop to your clustered look. I also think it’s very sweet to add a personalized touch, like initials or a constellation reference, to create a subtle reminder of those you love.


Three charms of varying shapes and dimensions create the perfect balanced effect.
This necklace features our pierced letter charm in “A”, our cluster diamond charm, and our handmade constellation disk.
Shown with our Milestone Bracelet featuring the same diamond cluster charm.


We have curated a collection of mix-and-match charms and chains that you can play with to create your own special assembly. These charms can be made to slide on and off so that you can change your look daily, or they can be added as a permanent feature to your chain – the choice is yours. Most are even available as bracelets!


Our pierced letter charm in “S”, the block letter charm in “E”, and our handmade hammered disk pendant.


Our layering charms are a beautiful idea for a recurring gift. Choose a different charm for each milestone, but keep the overall aesthetic refined and cohesive so that she can wear them as a batch or all together, depending on her mood. Understated simplicity, yet completely personalized. And, since they’re all fashioned out of genuine 14k gold, you know they’ll last.


The Milestone Bracelet featuring our cluster diamond charm, paired with our Petite Bangle.


Depending on your charm choice you can choose an in-stock option or custom order a more personalized style. We’ll walk you through everything from recommended chain length and style to how to achieve the perfect layered effect. And, for what it’s worth: my layering technique has improved dramatically since those early hiking days. 🙂


  • The latest from Meaghan
Creative Director & Co-Owner | Alexandria & Company
I came to join Alexandria & Company by way of love: my husband Tim has owned the stop for nearly ten years, and I started by helping him on Saturdays so that we could spend more time together. Eventually, I quit my other life in the legal field to become Alx&Co’s Creative Director and co-owner with Tim. Now, we run our small business together in Old Town and I haven’t looked back.

Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.  |

121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314


Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment

Appointments encouraged for custom design.

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