The Long and Colorful History of Bracelets

by | Jan 25, 2016 | Jewelry

As you shop for the perfect diamond bracelet at your local jeweler or on the World Wide Web, you are taking part in something which has been with mankind for many generations. Here is a look at the history of bracelets and some of the stories they have to tell.

In the Beginning

The actual origins of bracelets are unknown. In fact, some online sources claim the history dates back to the ancient Egyptians of about 7,000 years ago, but a bracelet made from obsidian was discovered in Turkey a few years back (1995) and it was dated at about 9.5 thousand years. However, in 2008 jewelry was found in Siberia which included a bracelet, and carbon dating showed it could be as old as 40,000 years.

The word bracelet comes from brachile (Greek) and brachium (Latin), with both terms meaning arm. Unlike the modern diamond bracelet of today, bracelets of the past could be made from just about anything. In fact, some of the early bracelets were made from white and red string.

Ancient Bulgarians used to tie both red and white string to their wrists in a practice known as “Martenitsa”. This was believed to help bring an end to the cold weather of winter and usher in the beginning of spring by pleasing a mythical figure named Baba Marta. The Greeks had a similar practice they called “Martis” in which they wore bracelets created by weaving white and red string together on March 1st. This protected them from harmful sun rays.


Some of the earliest bracelet materials included vines, grasses, shells, bronze and copper. Eventually silver and gold were used, and in Latin America special gold bracelets were worn as protection from the “evil eye”. Some bracelets of the past served a very useful purpose as Greek and Roman soldiers often wore metal bracelets as part of their armor.

The ancient Chinese were fond of jade and many jade bracelets were created to protect them from a number of bad things which could happen. For many years bracelets were expensive until the 20th Century and mass production brought about an explosion in bracelet materials including copper and plastic. However, one of the most preferred types is the diamond bracelet, because it delivers the message of an eternal relationship between giver and receiver. In fact, finding the perfect bracelet is not very hard once you locate the right online jewelry source.

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