The origin of the word ‘bracelet‘ is from the Greek ‘brachile’ meaning ‘of the arm’, originating from the the Old French word ‘bracel’. A ‘bracel’ refers to a small brace or bracer, armbands worn by archers and usually made of leather often decorated with gold, silver and gemstones. Women began to wear smaller versions known as brace-lets.
Around 2700 B.C. ancient Egyptians wore bracelets of gold and silver decorated with semi precious gemstones. They were skilled metalworkers and some of the most elaborate gemstone bracelets come from this period.
Headlines in a recent UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, reads “Incredible 40,000-year-old bracelet believed to be the oldest ever found suggests ancient human race used drills which were just like modern tools”. This bracelet is the earliest example of jewellery ever found.
In Victorian wedding traditions, the jewellery worn by a bride at her wedding were a gift from her husband-to-be. Matching wedding bracelets were a must, not just as a piece of wedding jewellery but to keep their flowing sleeves tidy.
Many people wear bracelets without realising the symbolism behind the colour and style of the bracelet being worn.
Beaded semi precious gemstone bracelets are believed to impart their special properties on the wearer. The meaning behind gemstone bracelets depends on the colour of the gemstones in the bracelet. Purple gemstones are believed to enhance creativity and steady concentration while blue is a calming colour and soothes stress.
Charm bracelets have been a favourite among jewellery lovers for thousands of years. Animal charm bracelets are popular with each animal having a special meaning. Anchor charms symbolise that the wearer is faithful, loyal and steadfast.
Starfish charms are worn to demonstrate a belief in rebirth and equality. Acorn charms symbolise ‘great strength from small beginnings’.
Aquamarine is the March birthstone and aquamarine birthstone bracelets invoke the tranquility of the sea. Aquamarine gemstone colour can range from the palest blue to a deep blue green. Given to celebrate a 19th wedding anniversary, Aquamarine protects the aura from negative influences and calms the mind. A popular jewellery choice for pregnant women as it is believed to protect unborn children.
Nowadays it is traditional to give bracelets as First Communion gifts. These First Communion bracelets are usually crystal or pearl bracelets and are worn to symbolise purity and innocence. First Communion bracelets are often decorated with religious symbols or meaningful charms.