Exchanging gifts and tokens of affection is something women love to do between friends. From the time of early girlhood long into adulthood women celebrate the emotional bonds of camaraderie in a variety of ways. Perhaps one of the more enduing symbols for friends is the friendship bracelet, traditionally a handmade knotted band made of embroidery floss or thread.
The Original Friendship Bracelet
A form of macrame, the friendship bracelet not surprisingly has been a fixture of summer camp crafts for decades. How many countless young girls crafted and exchanged a friendship bracelet with her camper buddies? These simple half-hitch knot bracelets have served as powerful tokens of affections between these new-formed friendships forged through summer adventures together.
In other cultures where material goods are scarce, such as South America where the friendship bracelet is believed to have originated, the presentation of such a gift to someone truly represents the giver's affections and appreciation of a special bond. The bracelet's knots and tight weaving denote the durability of the friendship, making it an effective way to express the power and beauty of such a relationship.
According to tradition, the bracelet is worn until the threads wear out and the friendship bracelet falls off naturally. Upholding the tradition allows the recipient to honor the friend who has created the bracelet with hard work and love. To remove the bracelet before it has fallen off naturally would indicate a break in the friendship. A variation of this tradition holds that a wish will be granted to the recipient of the friendship bracelet after it has fallen off naturally.
The simpler styles of friendship bracelets require the use of three to six strands of the brightly colored thread, which are then knotted and securely tied around the wrist of a friend. The popular candy stripe style will use as few as three or as many as 40 threads, depending on the pattern and thickness desired. Other popular patterns include the bordered chevron, broken ladder and Chinese staircase. While the quintessential friendship bracelet is made from colorful embroidery floss, bracelets can also be fashioned from hemp, beads, leather, and wire.
The Friendship Bracelet Grows Up
While the classic friendship bracelet is still popular with pre-teen girls, women can relive their youth but with much more class. Friendship bracelets are now being designed from leather, linen, and a combination of metals with gold, beads and charms. Another trend in bracelets comes from a young Los Angeles entrepreneur who combines lucky karma beads and gemstones in her bracelets, which are worn by Hollywood A-listers.
Italian-inspired charm friendship bracelets can be created with more than 500 personalized links in 18K gold, gemstone or cubic zirconia. The creations allow friends to personalize bracelets with symbols, letters or words by adding additional links.
The Danish-inspired charm bracelet has served as an inspiring way to celebrate friendships across the world. These sterling silver or gold bracelets have taken the jewelry world by storm since they were introduced to the American market just a few years ago.
With hundreds of charms and beads available from which to choose, friends can create a totally unique design befitting the wearer's personality. Charms and beads are designed to mark a special occasion, evoking a sentimental record of one's life. Therefore, no two bracelets are alike. Fashioned from 14K gold, sterling silver and Murano glass, these beautiful beads and charms are attached on threaded sections which allow them the swivel and move for a dazzling effect.
Each year on the first Sunday of August, Friendship Day is celebrated across the world. The day, dedicated in the honor of friends, includes the exchange of special gifts, including friendship bracelets. From simple embroidery floss-inspired creations to charm bracelets bedecked with gorgeous beads and charms, the friendship bracelet still fulfills girlish whims and honors a woman's closest bonds.
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora charms, Pandora bracelets and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.