The History of Wire Wrapped Bracelets: From Ancient To Modern
Although they may look very modern and trendy, wire wrapped bracelets are nothing new. In fact they’ve been around for a very long time. For thousands of years in fact. Ever since we discovered metals we’ve been using them for decorative purposes and especially jewelry. Even very early civilisations have used wire to decorate everything from their tools and clothing to weapons and armour. And of course, who doesn’t love a bracelet? Men and women both have enjoyed wearing wire wrapped bracelets from the dawn of time.
What is a wire wrapped bracelet?
A wire wrapped bracelet is a handmade piece of jewelry made of gold or silver wire or even with coloured wire. Sometimes the bracelet may be nothing more than a single twisted wire or it could be very detailed with sweeping loops and curls surrounding a precious gem.
Today Metal wire jewelry is very popular. It’s so versatile and can be used in so many ways.
The history of wire wrapped jewelry
Here’s a look at the history of wire jewelry, how it all began and where it is today. It’s a fascinating journey.
Antiquity to The World Trade Center
It all started with something as simple as a pair of earrings. Nothing more than a small bead and a small loop of wire to hang it on. Romans were some of the first ones to have a keen interest in luxurious jewelry and started experimenting with wire and beads as early as the first century B.C. They made both very simple and very complex necklaces.
Why Wire Wrapped Bracelets?
Perhaps it is their timeless nature but I love wearing wire wrapped bracelets. I love the way they look and how they feel when they are on my wrist. Not only that but I love the feeling of connection I get when I wear one. I love the idea of making myself part of a piece of jewelry. I love the look and design of wire wrapped jewelry as it is playful and stylish without being over-the-top. As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of creating some kind of jewelry out of wire. I’ve dabbled with the idea many times but only really put any serious effort into it in the last couple of years.
About Wire Wrapped Jewelry
Wire wrapping started out very similarly to the way it works today. It was done with cut wire and a few simple hand tools. Not much was different from the standard way we make bracelets today until the 19th century when the first style of wire that was specifically designed for wire wrapping was developed. The first wire wraps started out as rings, you’ll soon realise that the importance of wire was known from a very early age.
But now that the 19th century has come and gone, things are a bit different. Sparkling French Yarn The first brand of wire known and sold commercially was produced in 1878 by George de Mestral in the USA. A patent had been granted to him for a novel type of worm gear that he designed.
How to Make Your Own
If you’re curious to give it a try yourself, there are plenty of tutorials on the net to inspire you. But for an in depth and professional guide, why not check out the very many excellent video tutorials on you tube. They cover every aspect of wire wrapped bracelets from very simple designs to the more advanced. Amazon is a good place to find books on the subject too though they vary greatly in quality. One of my favourite authors on the topic is Dale Cougar Armstrong, a field leader and innovator for many years. I love her designs and learnt an awful lot from her books and tutorials.
Our planet has been inhabited for a very long time, and I think it’s safe to say that mankind has found some innovative ways of finding the best way to move around it. Thanks to the countless years of exploration and discovery, we’ve found many interesting ways to utilise metals, and probably the wire wrapped jewelry is the most commonly used of them. It’s not the only ancient way of crafting jewelry either, prehistoric cultures have found ways to fashion things using stones, shell and even water to make jewelry as well. So, don’t underestimate the wire and its ability to create stunning wire wrapped bracelets! It’s more than just a pretty decoration after all!
Mark Hargreaves - Aug ‘21
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