This month is bracelet month at FlorenceJewelshop. I love bracelets, all kinds of bracelets. I think they can make you so beautiful. But I have problems with one type of bracelet. Not because of its shape or material, but because of its name. A bracelet should not be a slave bracelet. We have to invent some other name for that type of bracelets. There should not be slaves in our society, and they should not be held with a ‘slave’ bracelet. And nobody should have to wear a ‘slave’ bracelet again. Period! But what to do with those types of bracelets?
What is a ‘slave bracelet’?
In the 50s of the last century, the ‘slave bracelet’ became very popular in The Netherlands (and probably also in the UK and the USA). I owe a golden bracelet, with no decoration, just a smooth band with a hinge clasp. You have them in silver too. In ads for these slave bracelets, they use black women, and at that time it is not really a problem. That is: you do not hear any complaint from organizations or persons, that this is discrimination.
The bracelets have the shape of the chains that the slaves wear when they are transported or have to work outside, especially in Northern America and the Caribean.
1. The real slave bracelets made of copper 2. the modern golden slave bracelet
But what is the meaning of these slave bracelets? Is it that we just like them in those times and we do not think bad about the name or the symbol? We just like that silver of golden simple accent on our wrists. And women’s liberation movements are not fanatic at the time?
When you dive into history, these kinds of bands or bracelets are only worn by the slaves from Western Africa. They are also used in India by the belly dancers. Although the dancers wear that bracelet with chains over the top of a hand ending in a ring. The slave bracelets are also a part of the harem jewelry. An element of slavery occurs in every old culture that knew these bracelets. Nowadays they are popular in the SM scene and among the young people, who probably have no idea where the shape, the name, and the idea of their favorite bracelets come from.
From the 16th century on these bracelets are made of iron or bronze without any clasp. It is a permanent band put around the wrist of a slave to prevent him or her from escaping. In India, these kinds of bracelets are made of silver or gold. And they are called ‘handflower’ or ‘Hathphool’. The hathphool is originally a piece of bridal jewelry with five rings connected with chains to a bangle bracelet. The rings represent female gods that protect the bride in difficult times. But later there are only three rings attached to the bangle to represent the bond of matrimony (or sometimes slavery).
1. the origin of the ‘handflower’or Hathphool 2. the Indian version
Also in a harem, the women are adorned with smooth silver or golden bands or bracelets, which they get from their masters. Maybe not the symbol of the slavery we know, but those women do not live according to their free will in the harem and they can not get out. So in my view a symbol of slavery.
And at this time you see them made from rubber, rope, leather. And all kinds of materials that are smooth and easy to wear. We call them friendship bracelets nowadays or we use them as a ‘good cause’ bracelet. Just like the rubber band, Lance Armstrong introduces to collect money for curing cancer( ‘live strong’).
Isn’t time to change the name for this type of bracelets to ‘liberation bracelet’ to honor all the slaves. People have no choice but to wear this bracelet to keep them from running away. To honor all the slaves who have to leave their homeland and family to cultivate crops. People that work in households, without getting paid, or getting their freedom.
The right bracelet for you
On the other hand, don’t blame the bracelet. It is still a beautiful piece of jewelry when you are free to choose what bracelet to wear today. And be beautiful with it. But choose the right bracelet, because like the ‘slave’ bracelet not all the types of bracelets are looking good on you. When –for instance- I wear a wide cuff, a statement bracelet, I attract all the eyes to my wrists and when I stand also to my hips that are too large (according to me). So I should wear smaller bracelets, that make my arms look longer.
I write a booklet about what types of bracelets you choose from and there are also 14 tips to choose the right bracelet, that makes you sparkle’. You can download this free booklet by letting me know where to send it to