Three Letter Code – Cultural Cool

Sometimes innovation is about the small things! In particular, our immediate environment… our culture, language, visual landscape… are constantly changing and being renewed, revisited, and reinterpreted. The following is just one really cool example that we love!



An old tradition in Germany was a version of the ‘Bettelarmband’ (charm bracelet) as a combination of jewellery and the narration (or commemoration) of a journey or trip. In this version of the charm bracelet, pieces were added for each place or city that was visited, in particular, a small version of the Wappen (coat of arms) of the city or state was attached. The outcome was a combination of charm bracelet which also told a personal story of a journey, or journeys, travelled. It was not only a beautiful piece of jewellery, it also embodied memories of people and places.

Today, this tradition has been rediscovered and innovated in Frankfurt. The small jewellery workshop based in Frankfurt and run by Judith Hartnack, dreilettercode, has taken the old tradition of the Bettelarmband and reinterpreted it for our modern context.

Today, we are all more mobile and our journeys no longer take us into neighbouring regions but across borders, across oceans, to new lands, places, countries, and cities. We meet each other, we meet new people, we encounter new cultures and experience new places. The points of reference on these modern journeys are ports and places: literally, airports, seaports, rail links, and cities.

The modern charm bracelet by dreilettercode, as the name suggests, embodies the experience of these journeys using the international three letter codes which designate the ports and places through which we travel. Not only is this a beautiful homage to an older tradition… it is also a contemporary design, reflecting the way we travel nowadays… as jetsetters and urban nomads.


Images are the copyright of dreilettercode and Katrin Binner. Images used with the permission of: dreilettercode & Katrin Binner.

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