Although the term armlet may be technically similar, it means an item that sits on the upper arm: an arm ring. The origin of the term ‘bracelet’ is from the Latin ‘brachile’ meaning ‘of the arm’, via the Old French ‘barcel’.
A bracelet is an article of jewelry which is worn around the wrist and can be made from a diversity of materials. Bracelets are also used for medical and identification purposes.
Starting with materials like bones, stones and woods to serve religious and spiritual interests, the history of bracelets is as old as 5000 BCE in Egypt. The Scarab Bracelet is one of the most recognized symbols of ancient Egypt. The scarab represented rebirth and regeneration and carved ones were worn as jewelry and wrapped into the linen bandages of mummies.
In Latin America, Azabache Bracelets are worn to protect against the evil eye. This is believed to be the result of excessive admiration or envious looks by others. Having newborn babies wear an azabache (a gold bracelet or necklace with a black or red coral charm in the form of a fist), is believed to protect them from the evil eye.
In Bulgaria there is a tradition called Martenitsa which sometimes involves tying a red and white string around the wrist to please Baba Marta to make spring come sooner.
In some parts of India, the number and type of bangles worn by a woman denotes her marital status.
Today, there are many different types of bracelets which can hold meanings (or not) for different people:
Charm Bracelet: worn around the wrist carrying personal charms, decorative pendants or trinkets, which are signifiers of important things in the wearer’s life. Recently, Italian charm bracelets have become a trend.
Bangle: Bracelets that are in solid form, usually some metal. They can be smooth, textured or set with stones.
Beaded Bracelet: Bracelets made from beads are fairly common in Southwestern American Indian jewelry lore. They are often multi-colored beads
Link Bracelets: Bracelets made from connecting or linking various or similar components or jewelry findings. Link bracelets can be made of a variety of materials included metals and gemstones.
Karma Bracelets: Bracelets made from wood beads and may contain various charms. Associated with bringing good luck and good karma to those who wear it.
I personally love charm bracelets and bangles… how about you?