The earliest bracelets date back to around 2500 BC and were worn by the Sumerians in southern Mesopatamia. Bracelets, necklaces, anklets, finger rings and ear rings made the women of Sumer into show windows of their husband’s prosperity. Bracelets were found in the tombs of Ur where it was customary to bury royalty with their jewelry. By about 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt, bracelets emerged as major pieces of jewelry. Bracelets were found in the ruins from the Vesuvias eruption in Pompeii in 79 AD.
It was during the age of the Egyptian Pharaohs that charm bracelets were first seen although the charms themselves date back as far as the Neolithic era when men would gather unusual bits of wood or pieces of stone which would be carried on their person in order to ward off their enemies. So these charms were considered "lucky charms" and powerful protectors against evil.
It wasn’t until the time of the Pharaohs though that charms were incorporated into elaborate pieces of jewelry such as wrist bracelets and necklaces which were not only deemed to offer protection but were also a sign of how prosperous the person had been in life and after death would be an indicator to the gods of this person’s proper status in the after life.
In Grecian times, bracelets were popular with men and soldiers wore defensive bands of leather, often decorated with gold, silver and/or gemstones, on their forearms. They were known as "bracels" from the Latin word "brachium" meaning arm. When women started wearing smaller versions, they were called "little bracels" . . .or "bracel-ets".
The history of bracelets stretches forward through the Middles Ages of medieval Europe through the Baroque period of the eighteenth century and right on to the present. Throughout time, bracelets have been made from many different materials such as leather, iron, copper, pewter, beads, bone and teeth as well as precious metals and gemstones.
Today bracelets are worn by women and men in a variety of materials such as the traditional precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum with or without diamonds or other colored gemstones. Bracelets with engraved disks are used for identification (I.D. bracelets) and medical information (medic alert bracelets). Modern plastics, acrylics, and wood are now used to make trendy fashion bangle bracelets for women as well as metals like titanium and stainless steel for men because they are hard wearing, very light and hypoallergenic - not to mention less expensive. Whatever your taste or budget, there is an enormous choice of bracelets to suit everyone.
Tues-Fri 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thanksgiving through Christmas
Mon 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
5121 Center Street, Suite 103
Williamsburg, VA 23188
American Gem Society
For generations of jewelers, those three simple words have embodied three complex ideas to which the society has always been dedicated: