Humanity has been wearing silver bracelets for thousands of years. In ancient times, the noble white metal was valued on a par with gold, and jewelry made from it was endowed with mystical properties. Many varieties of silver bracelets have survived to our times with the improvements that modern jewelry production provides. Let’s talk about interesting pages in the history of jewelry, which has not lost its popularity today.
History of the first silver bracelets
Silver bracelets were found by archaeologists on the territory of Mesopotamia, where ancient jewelers learned how to mine silver using the method of cupelling. Craftsmen forged refractory metal into thin sheets, from which they made ornaments of a rather complex shape and covered them with chasing, niello, or granules.
Very few ancient treasures have survived to our times, but bas-reliefs give an idea of their diversity. The wrists and forearms of the Assyrian gods and kings are decorated with silver bracelets of various types:
- questionnaire bracelets.
Silver bracelets were worn by the nobility of Ancient Egypt, where these jewelry often acquired the value of amulets. In 1925, archaeologists discovered in the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I a jewelry box containing twenty bracelets decorated with lapis lazuli, turquoise and carnelian. The different diameters of the jewelry suggest that silver hoops covered the entire hand of the queen from wrist to forearm. Scientists have dated the find to 2550 BC.
In early antiquity, metal bracers served as an element of armor; warriors wore them on open forearms. Jewelry for wrists became popular with the light hand of the ancient Romans – they were worn by all the nobility, regardless of gender. In great fashion there was a spiral shape of snake-shaped bracelets, and silver was engraved and written with the name of the owner. The decoration of this type is now kept in the British Museum – the silver body of the reptile is twisted in six turns, decorated with a scaly pattern and two palmettes in the center.
The ancient Indian jewelry culture gave the world a lot of unusual jewelry, which is now called ethnic. The order of wearing them is established by a set of rules called the Solah Shringar. The most famous churi are thin bracelets that the bride wears before the wedding ceremony, and then wears constantly as a symbol of her status as wife and mother. The number of thin hoops is 8, 12 or 24, and they are supposed to be worn both on the right and on the left hand. It is customary to wear bracelets “soldered” on the ankles, which are most often made of silver.
Bracelets in Europe
European craftsmen continued to work with silver, despite its shortage during the early Middle Ages. In Eastern Europe, girls wore stiff and wide bracelets that covered the wrist. The decoration elements were fixed with a removable cotter pin. The design forms the basis for modern hinged bracelets.
Later, the decoration temporarily lost its popularity due to the strict requirements of the Catholic Church for ladies’ costume. It was considered indecent to bare hands, so women wore bracelets over their sleeves. In the Renaissance, the style of clothing became more open, and the first chain bracelets appeared, which were already distinguished by the complexity of weaving. In the 18th century, enamel miniatures decorated with precious stones became elements of bracelets.
In the 19th century, there was a mixture of styles from bygone eras in jewelry fashion. Jewelry was made not only from gold from silver, but also from cast iron, iron and even from the hair of lovers. In Great Britain, during the reign of Queen Victoria, silver charm bracelets with hanging figures, coins and trinkets came into use.
Silver bracelets remain an element of image and style today. Despite the fact that the decoration became more complicated and new forms appeared, many types of jewelry have come down to us practically unchanged.