Unlike some other kinds of jewellery, bracelets are incredibly diverse. You can make a bracelet from almost any material you can think of, whether it’s metal, fabric, leather, glass, wire or plastic, or natural materials like shells and stones.
Bracelets are both cheap to buy and easy to make, so it’s easy to personalise them to your taste and give them as gifts to your friends. Many people cherish bracelets that they have been given, especially little girls, who will collect friendship bracelets to represent each one of their friends.
If you want to make a bracelet yourself, the easiest way to do it is probably to get some beads and a piece of string. Threads woven together can also work well, as can shells if you make tiny holes in them to thread a string through. The best thing to do is to keep the bracelet as a flat string, and then tie it around the hand of the person you’re giving it to so that it fits well.
Another interesting use of bracelets, only invented quite recently, is the charity bracelet. These are usually made from silicone, and bear a slogan such as ‘make poverty history’ or ‘help the aged’.
The idea is that if you see someone wearing one, you are likely to mention it, and then they will tell you a little about the cause and why it matters to them – a good way of getting people to talk about charities they care about.
In some parts of the world, bracelets have special meanings. In India, for example, they are often made from glass, and make a musical-sounding noise when the arm is moved.
In Latin America, it is believed that bracelets made from gold and coral can scare away evil spirits, protecting the wearer from the jealousy of others.