Elephant hair bracelet is an African ethnic bracelet, and ethnic jewelry is often an expression of a person’s creativity that is filtered through culture and tradition.
Ethnic jewelry is often symbolic associating to either religion, culture or even family relationships. The legend and history of these elephant hair bracelets can be traced back to more than 1200 years ago.
The technique used to make these jewelry are usually transferred from generation to generation through culture and modernity.
Unlike the olden days, we’ve seen various forms and different creativities that have been used to make the elephant hair bracelets, e.g. the use of copper, gold, and silver
The pieces of this jewelry are mostly made of the local materials and worn for a certain traditional significance like for strength purposes. Those who wore the elephant hair bracelets were believed to be guarded against misfortunes, harm, and illness.
Elephants have numerous meaning and impact in the African culture.They have been involved in almost every aspect of art such as film, pictures, sculptures, architecture and even music.
Elephants are symbolic in the African community, they represent strength, power, and beauty, and as such, their hair bracelets are symbolic as well. Africans believed that the bracelets were worn for protection and wealth providence
Elephants are praised for mental faculties, loyalty, longevity, size, stamina, and cooperative spirit. People from the southern part of Africa use the tusks to decorate their rooms, coat of arms represents strength, wisdom moderation and eternity.
This typically shows how powerful the products made from an elephant are, from the look of how elephants are valued in the community.
In addition, there is a belief in the African culture that the elephants are the connecting mechanism between heaven and earth, in return providing the hair bracelets with even more worth.
The meaning of the bracelet
Since African mythology had a strong notion that elephants in some way forms a heaven and earth connection, whoever had it on was tremendously blessed with prosperity, love, progress, and health.
The elephant hair bracelets are widespread bracelets that possess unique looks and charm.
Those who specialized in the making of these beautiful bracelets used elephant hair tails.
The bracelet can either have four or two or six knots.
Knots; symbolizes the strands being held together by the gods
Strands; represents the wearer's life like health, love, harmony, and wealth.
Two knots; Represent and signify the Earth and Nature, - the earth comprises of the ancestors and fertility while Nature, - Comprise forces and spirits.
Thus, a balance and blend are believed to be created by nature and earth, allowing the person having it on to sync well with the universe forces.
A lot of luck comes with the two knot
Four Knots; Signifies fire, water, the sun and the wind, i.e. elements of nature, everything about Mother Nature.
Strands of Hair; these are where the knots pass through, and they represent the seasons of the year, hence their significance to Africans since seasons of a year offers special relation with them.
Six knots; Signifies everything mentioned above. The type of bracelet isn’t very famous in Africa though since it’s complicated to create and doesn’t appear too pretty.
The knots movements; the knots usually move along the wire and this movement symbolizes the forces of nature, and also constant revolution
All these are believed therefore to bring fortune, good luck and strength to the wearer.
Bracelet Adjustment; when making an adjustment of the bracelet on the hand, the forces of Mother Nature elements, fire, water, sun and wind were believed to be combined with a life force. The process, therefore, brought good luck and strength.
Gifted bracelet; this type of bracelet would be put on the left side of the hand.
Right-hand bracelet; the bracelet is worn by an individual on the right-hand side to show that he has killed the elephant and made the bracelet from the elephant’s hair by himself.
The above different places the elephant hair bracelets were worn provided clear distinction and informed other people one or two things about the wearer’s special bracelets.
Power of the Elephant Hair Bracelet
The elephant hair bracelets have been worn by very famous people like George Clooney, Prince Andrew, Prince William of England and Amelia Earhart among many other.
Amelia Earhart considered her bracelet as the lucky charm. One time in 1937 she tried to move around the world but forgot about it, it’s understood that she mysteriously disappeared in a place over South Pacific and since then she’s never been found.
And that’s how powerful the bracelet protected its wearers.
How to make an Elephant Hair Bracelet
Since the real elephant hair has sort of complicated features, making hair bracelet from them is so tough. The hairs are tremendously thick, older elephants have white and thicker hair than the younger ones. Thick and white hair are rare thus costly.
The single strand measures up to more than 22 inches. Therefore they have to be cut into equal sizes since each hair strand has its own thickness. After which the strands are boiled then later softened so that they are able to convert into various shapes easily.
When still very hot, the strands are designed into the shape of the bracelet then given knots, which they retain on cooling.
Creative and Traditional Designs of the Bracelets
The bracelet designs are traditionally appropriate for both women and men. The unisex design definitely enables the elephant hair bracelet to be embraced even more. In recent times, the creative designs with a little more gender specification have hit the market.
At least there are more combinations of colorful beads making the bracelets more specific for a particular gender and more attractive and special.
Elephant hair bracelets are very simple and yet meaningful items brought home as souvenirs or as gifts from touring to Africa, therefore, their value remains similar. Their designs are attempting to be more interesting and varied.
With technology availability recently, the elephant hair bracelets have garnered more attention due to online shops.
Varieties of Elephant hair bracelets
Silver; is often considered neutral and elephant hair bracelets made of the mineral might have a few strands or single strand made of wire coated with silver or just plain silver.
Gold; the contrasting relationship between the elephant hair’s dark color and the bright gold makes a charming combination. The classy look provides elegance for the tribal jewelry.
Leather; leather is understood to be luxurious material for a lot of things such as furniture and clothing. A combination of the legendary bracelets and leather bring out the exact great tribal design.
Distinguishing between elephant hair bracelets can be challenging at times. Since nowadays there are counterfeits, the authenticity of a bracelet can be determined by simply cutting off a small piece from the bracelet and burning it.
Genuine bracelet products have the unmistakable burning hair odor.