Fashion truly inspires my life and by learning the history I am getting more and more motivated! For example, did you ever think about the role of the accessories and jewelry? The answer is that the majority of the modern accessories once had a different meaning and purpose of wearing them. Moreover, one of my favorite fashion details – bracelet has a very long, interesting and complex history. Rising to the peak of fashion, it was suddenly found for many decades almost completely ignorant. When did a person first put on his wrist this ornament is very difficult to say? The first mention go back to the days of Paleolit (1st historical period of Stone Age), which is about 10,000 years B.C and they were worn by Sumerians. However, 10 years ago in Denisova Cave, Altai Mountains, Siberia Russian archeologists found carbon bracelet that was made around 40,000 ago.
Moreover, people at all times across the world loved to decorate themselves and one of the most popular jewelry was the bracelet. They were and are worn by various cultures and diverse ethics groups. Mainly bracelets were made from wood, stone, gold, copper, and leather. Even in ancient times, they were worn not only by women but also by men.
According to the various sources the word bracelet originally came from the Greek word “brachile” meaning “part of the arm” and in French bracelet means the same. However, the first bracelets, despite the name that relates specifically to the wrist, were worn on the feet, and not at all for beauty. Crafted from bones, tusks, canines of animals, sea shells and other available materials, the bracelets at the dawn of humanity served their owners as security amulets to protect themselves from evil spirits. Each of them was attributed a special magical power, embodying a special philosophy of the struggle for survival. According to the material from which the bracelets were made, one could know the social status of a person.
The Egyptians really appreciated this decoration – it was in ancient Egypt 4 thousand years ago that the bracelets won special love and popularity. They made bracelets from simple material like stones, wood, and bones. They served as a spiritual reason for them and were believed to be a sign of protection too. During the excavations, archaeologists discovered that the pharaohs liked to generously decorate their hands with bracelets of pure gold. Jewelry was represented by the carved scarabs and bracelets were even wrapped into the linen bandages of mummies.
In Rome, both women and men wore them solely for beauty. It is the ancient Romans who invented spiral bracelets with the head of a snake, a tiger, and other animals, which, incidentally, are popular until now. They decorated them with stones and often made engraving. During the conquests, it was the soldiers of the Roman Empire who brought bracelets to other countries.
As the humanity has been progressively developing and as metal has been found, the bracelet became to serve its purely aesthetic purpose. It mainly started with copper and bronze ware and as the product was embodied in silver and gold it became a real revolution in the world of jewelry.
Step by step, interest in wearing gold bracelets also came to Europe, but the prudish fashion for long sleeves during the Middle Ages almost completely replaced them from the list of jewels of court ladies. The bracelets were no longer worn on the open hand, sewn only as “wrists” on the lower edge of the sleeves or on top of the sleeve (“zarukavya”).
However, in the Renaissance, they remembered these ornaments again. Mainly only during the Renaissance, when the hands were allowed to show up again, the gold bracelets regained their old popularity. The shape and style of the bracelets of that time also have a pronounced antique character. The wearing of bracelets by that time had once again acquired a note of mysterious meaning. For example, the wearing of a set of bracelets from different minerals, combined in the initial letters of their names, from which the magic word was composed, entered into fashion.
At the beginning of the XIX century, bracelets began to decorate with fashionable corals, diamonds, and gold satin ribbons. A special glamour in the high world was considered a bracelet, woven from ribbons. The ladies forgot about the once popular silver and wore only gold bracelets.
Later the fashion changed again, and the girls began wearing pairwise tight bracelets. They had a clasp, thanks to which the decoration sat tightly on the wrist and looked very exquisite. The Victorian era is a very romantic time and the bracelets of that time were very gentle. They were decorated with smaller stones and even medallions with photographs of lovers and trinkets with a strand of their hair. The bracelets were engraved and considered almost mystical objects.
As the time has passed, new rulers came to power, state borders changed, but bracelets did not go out of fashion. In the Gregorian times – from the beginning of the XVIII to the beginning of the XIX centuries – a bracelet with the light hand of French jewelers becomes a real luxury item. In Paris, they started making gold and decorating the edges with pearls. By the way, as I have mentioned earlier the word “bracelet” is also from France and it means “wrist”. In the 19th century, a fad included engraving portraits on bracelets. Thus, a certain stratum of the nobility sought to perpetuate, in gold images of the wife, daughter, beloved. The bracelets were made in the form of medallions and were called “sentiments”.
With the revival of fashion for bracelets, popularity has come for their adornment with precious and semiprecious stones. Most often used pearls, jasper, turquoise, and amethyst. Definitely, the incrustation with stones was a privilege of royalty and the lower classes wore smooth gold bracelets, freely sliding on the arm. The common people from the lowest cast were bracelets made from copper.
At the beginning of the last century, women forgot about ruches and medallions and began to wear bracelets in the form of snakes, chameleons and Egyptian beetles, scarabs, and also donned jewelry in antique style. Since then, the bracelets have not gone out of fashion and always lay in the caskets of society ladies.
Moreover, today, the tradition of wearing bracelets is still very popular in some indigenous African tribes. It is really an incredible art, the way they make jewelry for feet and hands from the huge variety of the surrounding world – pebbles, the bark of trees, plant seeds, colorful minerals, feathers of birds and other richness of nature.
In some nations, as, for example, in India, the bracelet has acquired the status of marriage attributes. As a symbol of marriage, bracelets were absent only on the hands of widows. A special bracelet is worn by a woman during pregnancy, taking off only at the time of the onset of labor, as a symbol of liberation. If the girl is married, her hands are simply covered with ringing bracelets. Apparently, in addition to the fact that the vicious circle symbolizes the integrity and inviolability of marriage, the melodic ring of bracelets has some magical effect on the strong half of humanity. That is worth taking note, isn’t it?
In Europe, wearing the bracelet of a special color and for a certain period of time is tradition and ritual and in the majority of the cases, it is believed to protect from the bad luck.
Today, bracelets are worn by everyone. They are popular as classical, from gold and silver, decorated with stones, and from inexpensive alloys with different patterns and ethnic motives. Bracelet is appropriate to wear in any style of clothing. It always looks original and emphasizes the individuality of its owner.
I believe that the best decoration for any woman – is hands with a stylish manicure, well-maintained skin, and a beautiful bracelet!
Thanks for reading me