Bones have been used to make ornaments and jewelry pieces since the dawn of civilization, and perhaps even before that. Archeological ruins from the very first settlements of man show the use of ornaments, many of which were made from naturally occurring materials like animal bones. Over the years, the techniques and designs used in bone jewelry were refined, leading to a huge variety of different types of pieces for women as well as men to wear. One particular sub-type that is still, to this day, popular around the world, is bone bracelets.
These wrist jewelry pieces are crafted from animal bones which are shaped using sharp tools into appropriate pieces. Typically, a bone bracelet will utilize multiple pieces of cut bone which may be of different shapes. They are strung, stuck or threaded together and may be interspersed with other materials. The most popular type of design is the globular bead design. Here, bones are chiseled down into globular pieces i.e. beads, which are then grouped together to form a bracelet. The beads may be of varying sizes, from less than a millimeter to a centimeter long. A single bone bead bracelet may comprise of several beads of the exact same size and color, or mismatched beads of varying sizes and different designs. The former type of jewelry has a nice, symmetrical look, while the latter is often preferred by those with slightly edgier tastes in fashion. Besides beads, bones can also be shaped into tiny squares, rectangles or oblong pieces and then attached to form a bracelet.
There are many different ways in which bones can be used to make jewelry pieces. When most people think of this type of jewelry, the first though that pops into their head would be the childish accessories made with cartoonish models of a whole bone. The whole bone is in fact hardly ever used, except by certain tribes where bone bracelets have a ritualistic significance. Here, using the whole bone of specific animals is considered lucky or auspicious. People in urban areas often wear similar looking pieces but these are, more often than not, imitations accessories made with plastic.
Bone is actually used like any other raw material; it is simply a substance which can be shaped, molded, painted, carved, colored and polished to create a wide variety of ornamental or jewelry items. Many a times, it is simply used as a base material onto which metal is gilded to create pretty metallic beads. Bone is the perfect material for this as it can withstand the high temperatures required to melt metals and mold them according to the pre-conceived designs. A gold bead bracelet is a great example of this technique being used. Many a times, the bone bead is only half covered with molten metal before being cooled down, in order to achieve the distinctive aesthetic contrast between bone and metal for the final accessory. A silver bead bracelet is considered quite auspicious is certain tribes and villages. It also has a very visually appealing aesthetic. Bracelets that come with plain bone beads alternating with metallic ones, as well as plain beads clasped with a metallic setting, are also quite trendy.
One of the most popular techniques used with bone is carving. The carved bone bracelet displays intricate and attractive motifs and designs. They can range from simple geometric shapes to artistic depictions of natural objects such as flowers and trees. Such bracelets often have a very three dimensional quality, which is further enhanced by the use of paint to create further details in the carved designs.
Another very popular variety is the bone bracelet bangle. The bone is shaped into a rigid circle which is typically decorated with intricate carvings, painted designs, or both. Nowadays, jewelry makers combine bone with plastic, metal or wood to create a more durable piece. The use of other materials also allows them the flexibility to produce a greater variety of designs and patterns.
Beauty of Bone Bracelets
Bone jewelry is currently considered extremely trendy. The bohemian chic look is back and bone jewelry is an excellent accessory for it. Bracelets with colorful beads and carved designs are amongst the most popular types. They can be used to complete both Indian and western ensembles.
There are many different ways in which one can accessorize with bone bracelets. They are typically used to complements summery, bohemian ensembles. The chunky, tribal type of bracelets would be the perfect varieties for printed tunics, palazzo pants, cotton salwar kameez and ethnic printed tops. On the other hand, the elegant metal gilded varieties have a classier look which would pair well with evening-wear ethnic ensembles comprising of garments with a unique, funky edge. This includes warli printed sarees,Madhubani salwar kameez, dhoti sarees, ikkat tunics, tie and dye kurtis and much more.