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Bracelets are a common form of jewellery that is highly popular today and has been popular for thousands of years. Archaeologists have found bracelets from various civilisations and made them by using numerous materials, showing humans have worn this type of decoration for a long time. Below is a brief history of the different kinds of bracelets, so you understand the origins of the jewellery you wear.
The Earliest Bracelets
Archaeologists have found evidence of bracelets that can date back up to 7,000 years, and these early bracelets were different to what is worn today. The earliest bracelets were made using tree limbs, shells, and grasses, and it was quite a while before metal was used to create them. The oldest ones have been found in China, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and it was not till after the Bronze Age (2000 to 1400 B.C.) that you find precious metals being used, such as gold and silver.
Reserved For The Privileged Few
We find that the earliest bracelet designs from metal were often only available for people with a certain status, such as royalty. The skill and work required to create intricate bracelet designs meant that most people could not afford them. As a result, the poorest people continued to use natural materials such as wood and grasses to make their bracelets. In contrast, the fewer, more privileged people had beautifully intricate designs of antique bracelets created from precious and semi-precious metals.
A 17th Century Revival
When the 17th century came along, metalworking techniques had improved immensely, and it was now much more affordable to have intricate jewellery created. However, it was still out of reach of many of the population, so although they did have metal bracelets, the designs were often plain and simple. It would be a couple of hundred years before bracelets can be produced efficiently and at less cost, opening the doors for the masses.
All these antique bracelets can still be valuable today. The beauty of these pieces of jewellery is that when they’ve been well taken care of that most of their original parts are still intact, they can be sold at a higher price today. If you think you have one, you may wish to have a professional check it out for you and see its value.
The 20th Century
With the 20th century came a significant increase in technology, which also affected the available jewellery. In addition, the mining for the precious metals and gems used in the bracelets had increased, which meant more materials were available. The skill of the artisans creating jewellery also improved, and with an abundance of materials, lower costs, and increased demand, many more people started to wear beautifully designed bracelets.
As you move towards the latter half of the century, jewellery started to become mass-produced, flooding the market with affordable jewellery. However, the quality of the jewellery went down considerably, and many people still prefer handmade jewellery, especially those crafted prior to the 20th century, as these pieces have more character.
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In the modern age in which we live, we now have many choices when looking to purchase beautiful bracelets. There are many types of mass-produced jewellery available to buy, but there is also an increase in skilled artisans creating beautiful handmade designs.
Many people still love antique designs over modern ones, which means there will always be a market for them. For more information on the history of bracelets through the ages, a search on Google should lead you to more articles that talk about this topic.