A bracelet is an article of jewelry which is worn around the wrist. Bracelets can be manufactured from metal, leather, cloth, plastic or other materials and sometimes contain jewels, rocks, wood, and/or shells. Bracelets are also used for medical and identification purposes, such as allergy bracelets and hospital patient-identification tags.
Although the term armlet may be technically similar, it is taken to mean an item that sits on the upper shoulder: an arm ring. The origin of the term 'bracelet' is from the Greek 'brachile' meaning 'of the arm', via the Old French 'barcel'.
The history of Egyptian bracelets is as old as 5000 BCE. Starting with materials like bones, stones and woods to serve religious and spiritual interests. From the National Geographic Society, the Scarab Bracelet is one of the most recognized symbols of ancient Egypt. The scarab represented rebirth and regeneration. Carved scarabs were worn as jewelry and wrapped into the linen bandages of mummies. Myth told of the scarab god, Khepri, pushing the sun across the sky.
In Bulgaria there is a tradition called Martenitsa, which sometimes involves tying a red and white string around the wrist to please Baba Marta in order for spring to come sooner.
In Greece a similar tradition, weaving a bracelet from red and white string on the first day of March and wearing it till the end of summer, is called "Martis" and is considered to help protect the wearer's skin from the strong Greek sun.
In some parts of India, the number and type of bangles worn by a woman denotes her marital status.
Taken in the plural, bracelets is often used as slang for handcuffs.
The use of colored silicone rubber as a material for producing sports bracelets was popularized by Nike and Lance Armstrong through the Yellow Livestrong wristband starting in May 2003. Their success has led to the silicone bracelet becoming a high cost tool for various awareness, information, and charity campaigns. This can be likened to the use of awareness ribbons for similar purposes. These bracelets are also known as "baller id bands", "wristbands" or "balling bands".
The in-line thin diamond bracelet that features a symmetrical pattern of diamonds is called a tennis bracelet. According to Diamond Bug, in 1987 Chris Evert, the former World No. 1 woman tennis player and the winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, was playing in the U.S. Open. She was wearing an elegant, light in-line diamond bracelet, made by jeweler-to-the-stars George Bedewi, which accidentally broke and the match was interrupted to allow Chris to recover her precious diamonds. The "tennis bracelet" incident sparked a new name for the item and sparked a huge jewelry trend. Tennis bracelets continued to be worn by various tennis stars like Serena Williams and Gabriela Sabatini.
A charm bracelet is an item of jewelry worn around the wrist. It carries personal charms: decorative pendants or trinkets which are signifiers of important things in the wearer's life. In recent history, Italian charm bracelets have become trendy. While traditional charms dangle, Italian charms feature individual pieces soldered flat onto the surface of the link.
Bracelets that are in solid form, usually some metal, are referred to as bangles or bangle bracelets. They can be smooth, textured or set with stones. In India, glass bangles are common. Made from ordinary glass that is about 1/4 - 1/8 inch in width, they are worn in groups so that arm movement causes them to make a pleasant sound rather like the clinking of wind chimes. In India, it is also common that young children will wear thin gold bangles on their hands and ankles.
Functional bangle This is a new use for a very old thing. A spring closing type of bangle is used as both an adornment and a handy clip to hang things from. Marketed as a handbag hanger.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, "slap bracelets" -- flat, felt-covered metal strips that curved around one's wrist when gently hit against it—were a popular fad. Often adorned with neon colors and vivid graphics, these bracelets could be found at inexpensive retailers. A rumor emerged that "slap bracelets" caused bleeding and puncture wounds and thus fell out of style.