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Bracelets and Stories

May 16, 2017

“Give me what you bear on your left arms!” Tarpeia said to the Sabines when she opened the gates of Rome to their armies.

While Tarpeia was woefully mistaken about what the Sabines were going to give her (a barrage of shields instead of their jewelry), the way her story subtly involves bracelets invokes a historical-mythological connection to the jewelry that can be found all over the world. Below, we’ll talk about a few interesting stories that involve bracelets, and where you can find modern replicas of the storied pieces:

1. Tarpeia

Tarpeia, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, commander of the Roman citadel, was tempted by the sumptuous gold jewelry the invading Sabines wore. Extracting a promise to receive “what the Sabines wore on their left arm”, Tarpeia went down to the citadel gates late at night and opened them for the Sabines. Unfortunately for her, the Sabines wore their shields on their left arms, and had little regard for a traitor. She was, indeed, rewarded with “what they wore on their left arms”, and was killed by the Sabines’ shields.

While Tarpeia didn’t get what she was looking for, Benari Jewelers offers a Tacori bracelet in the “Champagne Sunset” collection whose delicate filigrees in gold are more than perfect for a woman looking for something to decorate her left arm.

2. Draupnir

Given as a gift to the chief god Odin along with Gullinbursti (a magically-crafted boar) and Mjoelnir (Thor’s famous hammer), Draupnir was a magical bracelet created by the dwarves. Symbolic of Odin’s status as the most majestic of the Norse gods and great giver of wealth, Draupnir had the power to create eight duplicates of itself every nine days. While Odin sacrificed the majestic ring on the funeral pyre of his son, Baldr, later Norse stories talk about heroes reclaiming the treasure for themselves.

Masculine enough for any Viking looking to sail to Miklagard, the pieces of the John Hardy “Naga Collection“, offered by Moyer Fine Jewelers, have a kind of dominating strength about them, signified by the coiled metal and dragons that seem, at first glance, like work from an ancient British hoard.


3. Brihannala’s arms


According to the Hindu epic, The Mahabharata, the great hero Arjuna was cursed by the nymph Urvashi to live as a woman for a year. Arjuna chose to live in the household of King Virata as the lady Brihannala, teaching Virata’s daughter how to sing and dance. The story records that Arjuna, being a master archer, had scars from bowstrings lining his arms, and chose to wear ivory bangles from her wrists to cover the scars.

While it’s unlikely that any lady who wears this Meira T bracelet from Moyer Fine Jewelers is doing so to cover bowstring scars on her forearms, this piece is a lovely substitute for the cruelty of ivory. Whether a dancer or a warrior-woman, this bracelet is perfect for covering a lady’s wrists.

4. Matilda Fitzwalter and King John

While the story of Matilda Fitzwalter’s death is apocryphal, it’s certainly compelling: Matilda Fitzwalter, daughter of Baron Robert, was desired by the wicked King John. When Matilda rejected John, the story goes, she fled into the forest to be protected by the mythical Robin Hood. Still, King John wasn’t to be denied, and sent a poisoned bracelet as a deceitful “gift”.  Sadly, when Matilda put on the bracelet, it killed her, and Matilda was laid to rest at the Little Dunmow Priory.

With green Amazonite like a cluster of poison sumac berries, this Doves Jewelry Amazonite bracelet  is a deadly gorgeous addition to your collection. While this bracelet, offered by Costello Jewelry Company, isn’t going to do to you what Matilda’s bracelet did to her, this blog offers no promises about not striking people dead at the next party you attend.

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