I wonder ‘how old is the bracelet’? Or better ‘do YOU know how old the bracelet is? We know that people in the Old Times adorn themselves with leaves and shells, and they make mostly necklaces out of natural material. But what about the bracelet??? Well, I start digging and find some very interesting information about this piece of jewelry I like to share with you.
The bracelet in the Old Times
In the Altai Mountains in Siberia, Russian archaeologists find in 2008 a grave in a cave with the part of a finger. And some artifacts, including a bracelet, that is 42.000 years old. They find in 1995 an obsidian bracelet in Turkey, that is 9500 years old. Archaeologists find out that the Egyptians wear bracelets already in 5000 BC. Unbelievable that a piece of jewelry that is so trendy in our days already exists 42.000 ago. And that in those days people find the time not only to hunt or gather food but also take the effort to decorate themselves.
Ancient ivory and bronze bracelets
Maybe wearing bracelets are not so trendy and common about 40.000 years ago. But there is enough evidence that 7000 years ago in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and in China, people wear them on a more daily basis. They are made of shells, feathers, and grasses. We assume that they serve religious or spiritual goals. Like in Egypt priests and highly placed people wear bracelets decorated with a scarab, which represents rebirth and regeneration in those days.
Later they make them of bronze and copper. Around 4000 years ago artisans are able to make bracelets of gold and silver. And they have a decoration of stones and shells. The archaeologists think that only rich people wear them as a symbol of status and wealth. About 3000 years ago the Egyptian artisans make them of gold or silver with inlaid designs of gemstones that are found in Africa. From this time (the New Kingdom in Egypt) they know that rich people do not wear bracelets because of religious reasons but as a decoration.
The bracelet in the East
The bracelet gets highjacked by men
The bracelet gets really popular in the old Greek and Roman world. Greeks even invent the word ‘bracelet’ which comes from the Greek word ‘brachile’. This means ‘of the arm’. The old Greek wear them on the upper and lower arm, for decoration. Soldiers wear leather or metal bracelets or cuffs on their arms to protect them. This part of the uniform is later stolen by the Romans.
The rich Romans love to wear golden bangles in the shape of a snake. It is mostly the men who wear them and the men bring the bracelet, with their armies, through Europe. And like every trend that is popular one time and vanishes the other period, in the Middle Ages in Europe (500-1500 AC) the bracelets lose their popularity.
And in the Far East
On the other end of the world, in China, they make a real art-making the bracelet of jade, as from 2000 BC. Later they are made of gold and the craftsmen etch patterns of natural objects in the golden bracelets. In India, the glass multicolored bangles become very popular and that trend lasts until today!
Traditional Chinese jade bracelet and Indian bangles of glass
The bracelet for women
Back in Europe, in the 17th century, the women get their hands on the bracelets. They are thin, mostly bangles, and decorated with ivory and coral. And the charm bracelet gets trendy, the little charms on the bangles are hot in the Victorian Age. Of course, you are not supposed to wear only one, but the more the merrier. The bracelet gets bigger and bigger. Decorated with a cameo or medaillon.
In the prude, 18th and 19th-century women wear dresses with long sleeves and the bracelets dangle nice and happily under the sleeves on the hand of the woman. They are big and decorated so that everyone sees them. But at the beginning of the 20th century, women start wearing dressing without sleeves. From that time on the upper bracelets, decorated with diamonds and gemstones get popular. You wear them on the upper arm of women and mostly for the rich and famous girls in town.
Cameo bracelet and upper arm bracelet
In the 21st century, the craftsmen make the bracelet from every material imaginable and they get favorites also with the less fortunate women. Bracelets of glass, leather, bone, beaded, charm, etc. Until today this jewel stays popular and even now a new trend is coming up: small bracelets of gemstones with 3 or 4 together in a set.
There is so much to say about bracelets. And it is great to see that not only the women of today love the bracelet, but that even 42.000 years ago the bracelet is there. I have a small booklet about what bracelets are available today and who wears what bracelet best. Yours make you sparkle, so you have to choose the right ones! The booklet is free and just send me the address I send it to.