When I was a little girl I received a pair of silver bracelets from my aunt. She was a happy-go-lucky sort of lady, the Auntie Mame of our family. She had married two well-off men and was always jetting off to places like Greece, the Caribbean and other deliciously exotic sounding places.
She had been in the Caribbean, and upon returning sent me two slim sterling silver bracelets, with little fists on the end. My mother let me wear them for my first communion when I was seven, and then they were put away in my little pink jewelry box with the ballerina that spun to “Chim-chim-cheree” when I wound it up. Every so often I would pull them out and look at them, then beg my mother to let me wear them. But I was too young, I was told. I would lose them. Anything other than tiny gold earrings was tacky for little girls. So after a while, I forgot about them.
When I was about twenty-two I was cleaning out my childhood desk and found the jewelry box tucked away in a corner. I opened it and smiled at the collection of plastic rings from dentists offices and gumball machines, macrame necklaces with gold and yellow beads and various pins from the girl scouts. I spotted a little gold cardboard box, and opened it, wondering what might be inside.
There were the forbidden silver bracelets, tarnished, but still beautiful. I put them on immediately, wondering how I could have completely forgotten something that I had once coveted so much. I ran downstairs to proudly display them to my mother, gloating “Nah, nah, I can wear these now!! Ha!” She thought that was pretty funny. I wore them for months afterwards, and to this day I often pull them out of my velvet lined, mahogany jewelry box. No one seeing me in my silver bracelets knows that they are really a cherished link to my childhood.
Beaded bracelets are a way to add color to a neutrally toned outfit, show a bit of personality or simply show off a pretty accessory. Since prehistoric times people have worn beads as ornaments, although in those days they were thought to have magical properties as well. Some choose big, bright, chunky beads while others go for delicate seed beads. It really depends on the fashion, the occasion and the personal preference of the wearer. Beads can be made from materials as inexpensive as plastic or costly as salt-water pearls or cabochon gems. Beads are made from wood, gold or colorful glass. Beaded bracelets are easy to find, and are sold everywhere from the drugstore jewelry rack to fine jewelry counters.
Beaded Charm Bracelets
Beaded charm bracelets are currently trendy and seen on wrists the world over. The beaded charm bracelet is a marriage of traditional beaded bracelets and traditional charm bracelets, where the owner’s choice of charms creates a bracelet that is a unique expression of her personality and style. Pandora bracelets and Italian charm bracelets are two leading styles in this trend. Owners string together beads decorated in different styles to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. They could be in fun shapes that represent a favorite hobby, gem studded, crystal or plain silver or gold spacers. There are myriad bead options and bracelet owners can create a fun and funky piece or one of dazzling beauty.
Make-Your-Own Beaded Bracelets
A few years ago I purchased a beaded bracelet at an arts and crafts fair. It featured beads in shades of green, brown and tan and quickly became a favorite item in my wardrobe. I loved it so much that I wanted another just like it, but in blue and green. I searched and searched, but couldn’t find the bracelet I envisioned, with beads in shades like jade, aqua and Mediterranean blue, all the same size. Then I realized there was a bead shop downtown that I’d probably walked past a hundred times but never went in. They had hundreds, maybe thousands of types of beads, including the kind that I wanted. I chose beads and a clasp, then a sales assistant showed me how to lay out my design, string it, and then crimped the clasp on for me. Voila! I had my ideal beaded bracelet, exactly the way I wanted it to look. If there’s no bead store near you, most craft stores carry the items necessary for making jewelry.