• The History behind Wrist Fashion


    Different civilizations have taught us various things about wrist fashion. It all started with the tying of a vine around a person’s wrist. It looked pretty and everyone thought that it seemed pretty. It was a welcome change to wearing bracelets for centuries. The best of the artisan in various cultures around the world had applied their individual skills to the designing of bracelets. These decorative pieces are still in vogue today and many people are found wearing them. The word `bracelet’ has its etymology source in the Latin word of `brachium’; it means `an arm’.

    Wearing of bracelets as jewelry items and adorning of wrists was a ritual that started almost seven thousand years ago. Archeologists have found that there is evidence of people wearing bracelets in China, Mesopotamia and Egypt in the ancient days. The bracelets in those times were usually made of tree limbs that were slender, shells, grass, bronze and copper.

    During the Bronze Age that spanned from 2000 to 1400 B.C., bracelets were made by skillful artisans out of silver and gold. Those bracelets then evolved and started becoming more decorative as artisan tried to adorn them with stones and shells. Jewelry went on to become a status symbol that reflected wealth.

    During the First Dynasty rule of the Pharaohs around 2680 B.C. in ancient Egypt, people used to wear bracelets that were made of silver and gold. They decorated those bracelets with stones that were semi-precious. As time passed by, the skilled goldsmiths during the New Kingdom Age, between 1558 B.C. and 1085 B.C., planned inlaid designs with African gemstones. Despite being buried as part of the possessions of the deceased when they were entombed, it became clear that bracelets were mostly worn as accessories for decoration instead of being used as ritual jewelry or as amulets.

    The Mediterranean influence on wrist fashion came in the form of ancient Greeks. They wore cuffs on their lower and upper arm for the purpose of decoration. Their soldiers used metal cuffs and wide leather and it became part of their uniform. It was mainly meant for protection. This practice was adopted later by the soldiers of Rome. Fashionable Romans liked to coil golden bangles around their arms and these bangles resembled snakes. The jewelry styles of the Mediterranean later spread across entire Europe but bracelets began to fall out of favor slowly among men during the Middle Ages between 476 A.D. and 1450 A.D.

    The Orientals and the Asians wore delicate cuffs. These bangles were carved out of jade in China around 2000 B.C. Chinese valued their gold bracelets. They began to etch intricate patterns depicting scenes of nature, mythical creatures and animals into this metal. In India, bangles made out of gold were commonly worn as bracelets.

    In Europe, there was a revival of a sort when women started wearing bracelets in the seventeenth century as common accessories in their fashion arsenal. They also wore thin bangles and ribbons. It was considered stylish in the nineteenth century to wear bracelet chains. The designs sourced medallions and cameos which were decorated with coral and ivory. Charm bracelets became popular. They had engraved charms and dangling lockets to adorn wrists. This became a fashion during the Victorian Age.

    With the arrival of the twentieth century, people demanded bracelets with all imaginable kinds of designs. Bracelets were available at affordable prices as they were produced in mass volumes. Fashion jewelry became common. The ornate designs of the previous century paved the way for clean lines that symbolized the Art Deco style. Bakelite and plastics were added to the jewelry by its designers in the nineteen thirties. Plastic bangles became staple fashion accessories for teenage girls. Charm bracelets that were made of sterling silver or gold plated brass became extremely popular. Wide cuffs were being worn along with slender bangles. Thin chains and beaded strands were also part of the fashion scene, then. It was observed that men also started wearing bracelets again and they preferred wearing link chains of sterling silver or gold.

    The current century has brought in innovations in the design of the bracelets. Silver has become the preferred material for bangles, cuffs and link bracelets. Silver jewelry is being mass produced today. It is cheaper than gold and gives out a sparkle that metal buyers love. As far as men are concerned, industrial metals have become their preferred choice for their bracelets. A trend is developing currently where most people are asking for natural material for their fashion accessories. This is becoming more so with the rapid development of the `living green’ movement. It has also been observed that young people are wearing simple bracelets that either showcase a particular group’s identity or sustain social causes. They are using banners such as dangling charms or colorful rubber bands.

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