From times known, bracelets have been considered as a mark of beauty for the wrists. Women and sometimes even men in all eras have worn them as an adornment.
Derived from the Greek word ‘brachile’, meaning ‘of the arm’ – bracelets have been a popular form of ornamentation since prehistoric times. Although, the history of its existence is largely debated and the actual use of bracelets in early times is speculative, there are many archaeological evidences of ancient Egyptians wearing bracelets since 5,000 B.C. It can be assumed that ancient civilizations that are even older than the Egyptians (think Atlantis and Lemuria) also wore bracelets, since it is a natural tendency of human beings to adorn themselves. Thus, bracelet wearing goes back a long way, indeed.
Bracelets are generally favored over traditional bangles as they can easily be suited to any outfit; in addition, they are often associated with religious symbols or charms.
Innumerable varied materials are used to manufacture bracelets, including metal, plastic, leather, cloth, and many more. They appear good with the garnishing of jewels, wood, crystals, pearls, shells, rocks, and beads. Bracelets can be designed in a spectrum of styles, design, and materials, and are priced in accordance. Whatever your taste may be, there is sure to be a bracelet for you.
Depending on how and where they are worn, bracelets are named – ‘armlets’, if above the elbow and ‘anklets’ when worn around the ankles. Based on the size of the bracelet, they are classified as ‘linked’ style when they are designed to fit the wrist comfortable, ‘Slip-on’ styles are rigid shapes and ‘Hinged’ styled bracelet require a hinge and a locking catch that can be opened whenever needed.
Around the world
Culturally, bracelets are embraced by various ethnic groups globally. Ancient Egyptians carved bracelets using bones, stones or wood with encryptions to serve spiritual or religious benefit. The Egyptian ‘Scarab’ bracelet is one of the more early allegories that we know about with regards to ancient Egypt. Carved scarabs were wrapped under the linen bandages of mummies as they are considered as a symbol rebirth and regeneration.
In Greece, from where we get the word “bracelet”, people wore them for so many reasons, and soldiers even wore them as additional body armor, a practice that was followed by the Romans. Till today, wearing a red and white woven bracelet on the first day of March until the end of summer is considered as a shield to protect the wearer’s skin from the sun. However in Bulgaria, they follow a tradition called Martenitsa, wherein a red and white string is worn around the wrist to please Baba Marta – a mythical figure, marking the end of cold winter and welcoming the spring season.
In Asia, bracelets have always been very important in all the cultures. Buddhists traditionally wear an orange string around their wrists to grant protection and invoke blessings from Buddha. Inhabitants of Timor a remote island of Indonesia, regard bracelets as household treasures that symbolize wedding alliance, social strata, serve as a guardian or an vital artefact used during rituals and other ceremonies. In Chinese culture, bracelets carved from jade are considered to communicate with spirits and also give them the power to protect the living and the dead. Bracelets and bangles mark the symbol of marital status of women in most parts of India.
In Latin America, Azabache bracelets – a gold bracelet with black or red coral are worn to protect them against the “evil eye”. Mothers may tie a bracelet around their babies to shield them from envious looks by others. Similar blue eye bracelets are popular in Turkey to protect them against evil.
In the last few decades, high quality bracelets have become more common and affordable to just about everyone. It is no more gender restricted and hence, is largely embraced by most people today. Nowadays, silver is more commonly used for bracelets and bangles along with gemstones, to add a touch of class. Crystal bracelets are also very popular, for example, agate, hematite, lapis lazuli, or tiger eye bracelets. For Gen X, many like “high-tech” sporty bracelets like Fitbit and such.
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