Keyrings in Fashion

Keep your keys under control or give your handbag a new lease of life with one of our designer keyrings or bag charms from Radley. Our elegant collection of handbag keyrings features colourful designs, playful tassels and cute mini handbag charms to add some extra character to your favourite bags. For a truly iconic accessory, choose one of our leather keyrings featuring our signature Scottie dog. With the option to have up to four initials embossed in the colour of your choice on your Keyring, this is a unique way to personalise your everyday essentials.

What is a Keyring ?

There are many definitions of what a Keyring is. The original definition of a keyring is a predominantly metal or plastic loop that’s primary function was to keep your keys together.

A common use of the keyring was to attach one clasp to your belt loop and then the chain with your keys would be at the end of the chain. This allowed you to always keep your keys on your person and reduce the chances of misplacing them. The chain element allows you to still use the keys without having to remove them from your belt loop.

In modern times the Keyring still exists to serve a similar purpose but often in a much more decorative way. Many keyrings now will feature a charm of some sort, not only does this look good but also with people carrying more and putting their keys in their bags, the bright stylish charm also makes it easy to spot your keys. As keyrings have become more stylish their purpose has also shifted, whilst they are also still used to keep hold of your keys, people also often just attach them to the outside of their bags to offer an updated-on trend look.

The Difference between a Keyring, Keychain and Handbag Charm


A keyring is a metal or plastic ring that is used for holding your keys together. It is very common now for a keyring to have a metal, leather or plastic design attached to it. This can help distinguish one of your keys to the next. Faux fur keyrings have been a trend in recent years too.


A keychain is a chain or ring in which a key may be attached to. Similarly, to a keyring, it is also very common for a keychain to have a metal, leather or plastic design attached to it. They are there to look attractive and also distinguish your keys from others.

Handbag Charms

A handbag charm is a piece of jewellery that decorates a handbag. This may resemble a key chain, bracelet or necklace. Although all of these terms have their own meaning, they are all interchangeable, as they aren’t too different from each other.

The History and Origin of the Keyring

It is not known exactly when the first Keyring was created but the earliest known keyring was created around 1700 BC. The keyring that paved the future was of ancient Egyptian design and featured a decorative hedgehog on a piece of string. It is now on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Some say that the keyring derived from people’s belief that carrying a rabbit’s foot would bring you could luck. Back in 600 BC people believed that the rabbit was incredibly important for many reasons: they believed it was able to communicate with the spirits of the underworld, also some believed that the rabbits foot keyring would help improve fertility. Although there is no proof that having a rabbit’s foot keyring brings good luck, suspicions and keyrings have continued. Even in World War II soldiers would carry a lucky keyring which featured a lucky marble shamrock.

Keyrings and Keychains are one of the most popular souvenirs. Tourists collect them from any holiday destination and brands, businesses and more gift them as micro marketing schemes. Philadelphia state even utilised the keyring to celebrate the Centennial of the Liberty Bell in the 1920s, a copper coloured keychain featuring the national landmark was released and instantly was popular amongst tourists and locals alike. An early example of the marketing opportunities that the keychain holds was in 1946 when the White House opened their first gift shop, one of the most popular items was the souvenir metal keychain which is still to this day sold at the White House gift shop.

The marketing opportunities the keyring holds was truly seen in the 20th century when companies such as Hallmark created gifting keychains. Keyrings with message or logo keychains even photo keyrings or personalised keyrings were created, these meant the keyring became a great gift idea to give. Valentines Day Keyrings or Mother’s Day Keyrings were seen everywhere as more and more companies bought into the opportunities the keyring holds.

Moving into the 21st century the keyring developed even more and now it became more than just a marketing opportunity or a place to hold your keys but became completely multi-functional. The Keyring would feature a torch, some even would have other tools such as bottle opener keyrings or tape measures even a secure place to keep a safety £20 note.

As technology improved, the keyring was innovated. In 2009 we saw LCD screen keyrings and in 2018 Bluetooth keyrings were created. The Bluetooth keychain allowed consumers to pair their phone with their keyring, this meant people would know where their keys were always. Losing them became a thing of the past.

Global Trends of Keyrings

The number of searches for keyrings has increase over the years, however, it is clear to see that the number of searches peak around December every year. This could be because many people like to give keyrings as gifts over Christmas time.

The number of searches for the term ‘keychain’ was very steady between 2004 and 2013. In July 2013, there was a huge spike in the number of searches, and it has stayed just as high ever since. Again, the number of searches peaks around December every year, which could be because they are popular gifts to give people for Christmas.

Radley Keyrings

Radley and Friends- Bag Charm

We’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary with Radley & Friends! A fun appliqué design, our Radley French Bulldog bag charm will add a playful touch to your keys or handbag. Perfect for dog lovers everywhere, this design makes a great gift for someone special.

Southwark Park- Card Holder Bag Charm

The keyring that doubles as a handbag charm and also a wallet. What more could you want? The Southwark Park Keyring holds space for several necessity card slots so you can store your valuables together.

Radley Letters- Enamel Keyring

The beautiful colourful keyring features an easy to use clip so you no more breaking any nails trying to get your keys on your chain.

Pageant- Enamel Keyring

In need of the perfect accessory? This leather keyring is just that! Simply attach it to your keys or any of your Radley bags for an update for the new season or gift to someone special.

Different Types of Keyrings

Embossed Keyrings

These keyrings are usually made out of a material such as leather, as that is one of the easiest materials to emboss. Embossing involves carving, moulding, or stamping a design onto the material so that it stands out in relief. It is popular for people to get names or initials embossed onto keyrings, as they make great gifts. Here at Radley, you can purchase your own embossed keyring for yourself or as a gift for a friend.

Printed Keyrings

These are very popular souvenirs, especially if you are bringing one back from your holiday as they are cheap to make and cheap to buy. Essentially, a printed keyring is made from plastic, and has an image printed on paper inside of it. This means that any design can be printed and made into a keyring. Although they are made of plastic, they are still likely to have a metal hoop and chain to attach it to your keys.

Leather Keyrings

Leather keyrings, are likely to have a metal hoop and chain to attach it to your keys, however, the design attached to it is made out of leather. Leather keyrings are good because they are strong and durable, meaning that they are likely to last a long time which is good when keyrings and keys always get thrown around everywhere.

Metal and Enamel Keyrings

Similarly, to above, a metal and enamel keyring will have a metal hoop and chain to attach to your keys, and the design attached will also be metal, however the colours on it will be made of enamel so that they whole keyring remains hard. Metal keyrings are good because they are strong and durable, meaning that they are likely to last a long time which is good when keyrings and keys always get thrown around everywhere. The enamel is also good as it can make a plain keyring fun and colourful with different designs.

Bottle Opener Keyrings

This is one of the most popular keyrings that have a dual-purpose. These are very popular with bars, pubs, clubs and party suppliers. They are much smaller than a traditional bottle opener, but also much less easy to lose as they are clipped on to your keys, so you can serve drinks with confidence all night.

Trolley Coin Keyring

This is a very popular keyring for people who often have to go to a supermarket. At many supermarkets you need to put a pound coin in the trolley in order to release. It’s not always likely that you are going to have a pound coin on you, so the purpose of the trolley coin keyring, is to have a piece of metal which is the same size and weight as a pound coin, and attach it to your keys, so that you never have to worry about having a pound coin with you whilst you go shopping.

Fun Facts about Keyrings

The first ‘keyring’ was created in 1700 BC and is currently on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

It is common for people to have a rabbit foot attached to a Keyring, as it is a symbol of good luck and improved fertility.

The most popular souvenir to take away with you after being on holiday or visiting somewhere is a keyring.

Keyrings are a common advertising item and are commonly used to promote businesses. A standard advertising keychain will carry the businesses name and contact information and often a logo.

The first personalised keychain was created in the 1950s/1960s when there was an improvement in plastic manufacturing techniques.

Items that are often attached to Keyrings

  • Bottle Opener Keyrings
  • Flashlight Keychains
  • Magnet Keyrings
  • Photo Keyrings
  • Security Token Keychains
  • USB Keyrings
  • Animal Keychains
  • Compass Keychains
  • Key Finger Keychains / Bluetooth Keyrings
  • Membership Card Keyring
  • Penknive Keychains
  • Tape Measure Keychains
  • Vehicle Remoter Keyrings
  • Store Card Keychains
  • Lanyard Keyrings
  • Ornamental Keyrings
  • Supersticious Rabbits Foot Keychains
  • Game Keyrings
  • Pepper Spray Keychains
  • Whistle Keychains