Despite the moralizing tone epitomized by the French evolution and seen in Angelica Kauffman’s Cornelia Presenting Her Children as Her Treasures, from 1785, people still wanted to buy and wear jewelry.
Until goldsmiths learned more sophisticated manufacturing techniques, bracelets continued to take previously known forms, like the famous gilt silver cuff bracelet from Thrace (an area near Greece) dating between the 14th to 16th centuries. Bracelets from different past cultures have similar and recognizable shapes. We can name several examples of bracelets in history such as silver Crusader cross bracelets or Celtic spiral bracelets. Both examples have forms that can be recognized today.
A medieval bronze fertility bracelet is shaped like a cuff – a form we have already seen.
Eventually, fabrication became more accomplished, and we begin to see hinges, as in the 16th century Mourning Bracelets.
By the nineteenth century, we have seen the many different forms which bracelets can take, and the different materials jewelsmiths used, such as clay, bones, bronze, gold, silver, ivory among others.
Today, antique styles are very chi-chi and desirable. In this gold and diamond bracelet we see the unmistakable design of the Art Deco period, exemplified by the Chrysler Building in New York.
Modern manufacturing methods have allowed us to have “convertible” jewelry, which can transform from ring to bracelet, depending on the wearer’s wants and needs!
Whatever we imagine, we can design and have.
Today, we have choices never before seen in history, such as the fashion and desire for white gold. Bracelets, as well as other kinds of personal ornamentation since the beginning of time, have been used to suggest status, or personal enhancement.
They have been given and worn for ritual reasons, such as coming of age, becoming engaged or mourning. Unlike earrings or necklaces, bracelets on the arms can interfere with daily activities, such that they are worn by those who do not have to do too much!