Susan Zealouf predicts our May shall be a charmed
Long before we’d ever heard of intermittent fasting, my siblings and I would grab boxes of breakfast cereal from a sleek walnut cabinet flanking a Florida orange Formica® countertop and slide ourselves into icewhite swivel chairs around a bevel-edged laminate round table. The iconic Tulip pedestal dining set was designed by Finnish architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen for Knoll in 1957, in response to what he despairingly described as the “ugly, confusing, unrestful world” he witnessed below most traditional tables with chairs, buttressed by an unbearable “slum of legs”. It is still relentlessly copied, sought after by design aficionados like my warring parents (the only thing they had in common), the original version available even now through Knoll.
At this table, I’d eat Lucky Charms right out of the box, “magically delicious” mouthfuls of sugar-coated oat cereal studded with Technicolor marshmallow bits: pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clover, each candied charm imbued by Lucky the Leprechaun with a special power. Growing up in a violent, mid-century modern Long Island household, my lousy childhood needed all the luck it could get – some mornings I’d pick out all the star charms, hoping for the power of flight to whisk me away from my parents’ savage fighting; some days I ate only hearts as I waited for my crush Tommy, our lanky long-haired paperboy, to come to the door to collect. Neither worked a charm.
Soldiers have always carried lucky charms and amulets into battle: a religious medallion, a shamrock carved from Connemara marble, a lucky rabbit’s foot, a beloved’s lock of hair, a piece of coal from home, a pocket-sized Bible (one credited with stopping a German bullet from piercing the tender heart of 17-year-old WWI soldier Leonard Knight). New York City in the 1980s may not have been a war zone, but it felt like one, and a friend suggested I envision myself inside a protective pink bubble as I walked through the mean streets of Manhattan. Today’s mean streets look like a Google Earth satellite view; nowhere feels safe enough. What can we do to deliver us from evil and/or score a lottery win?
“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.” Erma Bombeck, American Wit
If lucky charms somehow bring good fortune and shield us from harm (and there have been scientific studies concluding that it’s the belief in the charm that acts as a charm, rather than the charm itself), then how will you wear yours in an uncertain 2023? An 1980s throwback chunky gold-tone Versace heart and V necklace or a gothic-inspired Maria Tash Crown Eye ring – choose either a brown or blue glass eye framed by pavé diamonds – spooky but said to ward off curses inspired by envy? Or will you source a vintage charm bracelet from Etsy and imagine the life story of its previous owner, a Libra who might have played the accordion, visited the Empire State Building and worked as a secretary before she married? I surmise, of course, based on the tiny stenographer’s notebook, the hinged case that opens to reveal a typewriter and the marriage license charm inscribed with State of Bliss, just a few of the 30 charms dangling from almost every sterling silver link.
The jury’s out on the efficacy of charms, but why not wear a wristful, to be sure to be sure? Either way, your May portends to be charmed, I’m sure. @susanzelouf
1. I’M TELLING my own story through a one-of-a-kind Loverglyph ring by www.dedyne.com.
2. I’M SUMMERING in the city with sophisticated charms from www.eu.anyahindmarch.com. Tennis, anyone?
3. I’M KISSING winter goodbye with the sweetest Nomination Classic charm links. www.weirandsons.ie.
4. I’M WARDING away rainy days in Tohum’s Evil Eye necklace from www.matchesfashion.com.
5. I’M PRESSING my luck in Three Charm Moving Drop Earrings by Edinburgh-based Northern Irish jeweller www.grainnemorton.co.uk.
6. I’M PROMISING someone the sun, the moon and the stars. www.newbridgesilverware.com.
7. I’M RABBITING on about the Last Hoop of the Day pendant by Irish jeweller www.alanardiff.com.
8. I’M SWOTTING up on secret teachings in Manly P Hall’s esoteric 1928 compendium. www.taschen.com.
9. I’M SITTIN’ on the dock of the bay in Thomas Sabo’s beachy sterling silver charms from www.weirandsons.ie.
10. I’M FANNING the flames of a crush in Gucci eyewear from www.gucci.com
11. I’M SPINNING the Wheel of Fortune in a www.thomassabo.com make-a-wish amulet.
12. I’M SPRINGING ahead in a playfully subversive necklace, a Miu Miu x artists Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg collab.
13. I’M STALKING Etsy for vintage charm bracelets, like this circa 1948 silver charmer from www.lillicoco.com.
14. I’M EYEING up a diamond Crown Eye ring by Maria Tash at Brown Thomas.