The earliest bracelets date back to around 2500 BC and were those worn by the Sumerians in southern Mesopotamia. Bracelets, necklaces, anklets, finger rings and ear rings made the women of Sumer into show windows of their husband’s prosperity. Bracelets were found in the tombs of Ur where it was customary to bury royalty with their jewellery and unfortunately their poor servants.
By about 2000 BC, in Ancient Egypt, bracelets emerged as major pieces of jewellery. Bracelets were found in the ruins from the Vesuvias eruption in Pompeii in 79 AD.
It was during the age of the Egyptian Pharaohs that charm bracelets were first seen although charms themselves dated back as far as the Neolithic era when men would gather unusual bits of wood or pieces of stone which would be carried about their person in order to ward off their enemies. So these charms were considered ‘lucky charms’ and powerful protectors against evil.
It wasn’t until the time of the Pharaohs though that these charms were incorporated into elaborate pieces of jewellery such as wrist and neck bracelets which were not only deemed to offer protection but were also a sign of how prosperous the person had been in life and after death would be an indicator to the Gods of this persons proper status in the after life.
In Grecian times bracelets were popular with men and soldiers wore defensive bands of leather, often decorated with gold, silver and or gemstones, on their forearms. They were known as ‘Bracels,’ from the Latin Brachium, meaning, ‘arm.’ When women caught on that these Bracels would look great on them, they started wearing smaller versions, called little Bracels…or ‘Bracel-ets.’
The history of bracelets stretches forward through the Middle Ages of medieval Europe through the Baroque period of the 18th century, and on right through to the present.
Throughout time, bracelets have been made from many different materials such as leather, iron, copper, beads, bone and teeth as well as precious metals and gemstone.
Throughout the ages bracelets have always been popular and the styles seem to have varied according to dress styles. In cultures where people wore sleeveless or short sleeved attire such as the Romans and ancient Greeks, the wearing of bracelets both on the upper and lower arm became popular with both men and women. The wearing of upper arm bracelets is still popular today with modern fashionable skimpy clothing lending itself well to the wearing of more jewellery.
Today, bracelets are worn by both men and women in a variety of materials such as traditional precious metals like gold silver and platinum. Modern plastics and acrylics are now much used to make trendy, unusual bracelets as well as metals like titanium and zirconium which have become popular because they are hard wearing, very light and hypoallergenic. Whatever your tastes and whatever your budget, there is an enormous choice of bracelets and bangles to suit everyone.