People have been wearing bracelets as early as 5000 BCE, and an endless list of ancient cultures show that it is a regular mainstay in the jewelry of common folks and royalty.
The earliest bracelets were crafted manually from a variety of natural materials such as wood, bone, and metals. Metaphysical and spiritual meanings have been ascribed to jewelry like bracelets and necklaces for thousands of years, and the practice continues until today.
The most remarkable representation of this would be the scarab bracelets and other jewelry associated with the sacred insect in ancient Egypt. Scarab jewelry was regularly added to the tombs of the departed in ancient Egypt as scarab beetles were associated with rebirth.
The Egyptian god Khepri, in mythology, was attributed to the movement of the sun across the sky. Interestingly enough, scientists have recovered fragments of artifacts like bracelets from what is believed to be former sites of Denisova hominin, one of our human ancestors. This would mean that even our ancestors were crafting bracelets as far back as 40,000 years ago.
Table of Contents
Symbols and Uses of Bracelets
The bangle bracelet, including the bangle bracelet for men, charm bracelets and other kinds of bracelets have different associations and symbolism. Let’s talk about each of these types of bracelets so you will know exactly what you’re giving when you gift someone with a bracelet.
A bracelet is considered a bangle when it is constructed out of a single, hard loop. This is usually made possible by metal construction, but there are cultures that create bangles from the bones of animals and other materials.
Bangles can represent a lot of things, from the simple enhancement of physical beauty to signifying the coming of age of the wearer. Bangles can be worn by both men and women – it is only in Western cultures that they are ascribed as being feminine. In other cultures, there is nothing wrong with men wearing bangles as there are no clear gender associations between wearing bangles and being a man or woman.
Charm bracelets are beautiful, ornate bracelets that serve as supports for various bead constructions and other ornamentations. The actual use or meaning of a charm bracelet will depend on how it was designed. For example, a charm bracelet with the wearer’s birthstone may come to signify good luck or fortune, or it may signify a wish for better health.
Historically, charm bracelets were worn by girls and young women as a way for them to signify their virtue and beauty. Again in some instances, it may come to signify the coming of age of the wearer, where a girl transitions from youth to marrying age.
Still, others may wear charm bracelets as simple jewelry or ornamentation. Many charm bracelets come with precious or semi-precious stones, while others are made with simpler materials like leather cords and cotton twine. The cost of the charm bracelet will, of course, be influenced by the materials used to create it.
Woven friendship bracelets
Who would forget the first time that they created or received a woven friendship bracelet? Friendship bracelets are given mainly to celebrate the bond between two friends.
It basically says that the receiver of the bracelet is valued highly by the giver, and the never-ending loop of the friendship bracelet also symbolizes the never-ending care and friendship shared by the two people. Friendship bracelets come in all shapes and sizes.
Commercially-available ones tend to be constructed from metal and have impeccable beadwork. However, the best-known ones are actually made from much simpler materials: threads woven into each other, sometimes with beads, and with special designs like letters of the alphabet to signify the receiver or giver.
Wishing bracelets are extremely simple bracelets usually made up of only one or two threads. Wishing bracelets have minimal ornamentation – usually just one bead or any other engraved object. It has a clasp to close the bracelet and it is worn for a long time after the person has made a wish.
The purpose of wish bracelets is to secure an intention or wish, and the person making the wish will wear the bracelet until the wish comes true. You can make your own wish bracelet at home and there are actually no hard and fast rules about how you should design such bracelets.
They are commonly simple in construction because kids and teenagers make them all the time. Simpler constructions may not withstand the test of time, so it would be a good idea to craft your own wish bracelet from tougher materials. A wishing bracelet can be used again and again.
As the name implies, gemstone bracelets are set with precious or semiprecious stones and are frequently made from metals like gold and silver. The signification of gemstone bracelets will vary depending on the gemstones set onto them.
For example, an emerald bracelet might mean a wish of wealth and vitality if given by a friend, but it might mean faithfulness if given by a spouse. Jade bracelets signify wealth and authority, while the fiery red ruby symbolizes love in many cultures.
Bracelets can also have more practical applications in today’s milieu. For example, high-value bracelets can become a worthy investment for the owner, as these can be traded again in the future.
Wealth security can be easier if the said wealth is represented by precious stones and other high-value commodities. In many cultures, the display of jewelry like bracelets also boosts the status symbol of the wearer, which may be necessary for some circumstances.
And still, in some situations, bracelets can be used to signify the religious beliefs or upbringing of the owner. A crescent bracelet may refer to the Islamic faith, while a cross bracelet may refer directly to Christianity. There are so many ways to express oneself through jewelry. The possibilities are endless.