The Bracelet: A History of One of Our Favorite Bobbles!

Worn around the arm, the bracelet is quite possibly one of the oldest pieces of jewelry invented by mankind. Archaeologists have been able to determine this as long as 7,000 years ago. Humans wore bracelets made of twigs, bones and shells. What else will a history of the bracelet reveal?
2000 BC and later:Egyptian and Sumerian women were known to regard bracelets as status symbols. The more bracelets a woman owned, the wealthier her husband was thought to be. If the wear of numerous bracelets was combined with the wear of other jewelry items, she would be considered a member of the ruling class or at least aspiring to this status. Common materials included leather, silver and gold. In China, nobles wore cuffs as well as bangles carved from jade. A favorite motif was the mythical dragon and other animals.
1300 BC and later:While bracelets continued to be status symbols, the ready availability of African gemstones now altered the size and shape of the jewelry. Skilled artisans began experimenting with inlays and durable settings. Men, too, became enamored with the wear of this jewelry item. Bracelets now became popular items that would be passed on to the next generation of wearers in a family.
476 AD and later:Greeks were famous for the cuff bracelets that men and women would wear. These items were worn on the upper as well as the lower arms. While soldiers used these cuffs as protection against sword cuts to the wrists, women relied on them to accessorize their wardrobes. During this time, the gold bangle also came into fashion. Due to the Greeks’ fascination with snakes, plenty of bangles were fashioned to resemble snakes coiled around a wearer’s arm. Chinese artisans engraved nature scenes on their bangles.
1601 and later:European royals favored satin ribbon bracelets that would hold precious stones. Before long, charm bracelets came into style. This style continued on and found heavy influences from the Victorian Era, when mourning jewelry, royal jewelry and bracelet styles intertwined.
1920 and later:Bracelets were now in the domain of the common woman. It no longer mattered if she was rich, had a wealthy husband, belonged to the upper classes or had to perform menial labor. The ability to mass produce these jewelry pieces opened up this fashion accessory to virtually anyone. Since that time, bracelets were influenced by changing styles and fashion fads. There were the clean lines of the Art Deco era and the plastic bangles for tweens. There were the wide plastic pieces of the 1980s and the slap-on bracelets that were little more than a metal strip covered with fabric. Nowadays, connoisseurs enjoy the more refined slimmer items made of titanium, platinum and tungsten.
Of course, if you give it enough time, the styles and looks will change once more. That said, the bracelet itself is here to stay and will never go out of style.
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