Ring bracelets have been around for centuries, and have recently made a comeback on Pinterest boards and DIY jewelry sites. The actual term for these is “slave bracelet.” I have a few problems with this.
I looked all over, and it’s difficult to trace the historical roots of this term. Some of the articles I found do not attribute the name “slave bracelet” to actual slavery, but rather to the fact that the bracelet and ring are chained together, making them “slaves” to each other.
However, this literal interpretation does not change the connotations behind the word choice. The first time I saw it used on a website, I could not believe it was the contemporary term. I immediately started googling “slave bracelet” to confirm this was the proper reference, but still feel uncomfortable using it. I don’t think the word “slave” should be tossed around so casually, and using it to describe jewelry takes away its punch.
Some people may think this is view is too “sensitive” or “PC,” but I don’t agree. People defending the use of this term say black people are not offended by it so it shouldn’t matter. First, the feelings of an entire group of people should not be generalized by individual experiences. Second, this issue is not one purely of race, but also of gender and class. Calling a fashion accessory by the same name as a practice that oppressed (and still oppresses) a large number of people is wrong. Slavery is a powerful word and should not be whitewashed for the sake of fashion.
There’s a simple solution. Can’t we just say “ring bracelets?”
The best part about making things is giving them away. I don’t actually sell anything, mainly because I don’t want to spoil something I enjoy by making it work.
Have you seen the show Hoarders? It spotlights people who hoard random items, and whose houses are full of precarious stacks that could topple any moment. This is what my apartment would look like if I didn’t give jewelry away. No joke.
One of my dear friends visited recently, and I excitedly showed her all of the things I thrifted over the last few months–the bird charms, colored stones and white beads. Then I realized that she must think I’m crazy, and I wouldn’t blame her if she did. If you don’t make jewelry it would be hard to understand the enthusiasm toward old, rather junky-looking thrift store finds. But if any of my friends think I’m nuts, they don’t tell me… Maybe it’s because I give them things.
I used to be self conscious about giving jewelry to other people because it wasn’t “store quality” or I didn’t spend much money on it. But if a friend gave me something they made with their own two hands, I would appreciate it even if it wasn’t perfect. Keep that in mind the next time you give a DIY gift. It’s not about what you give, it’s about the intention behind it–the fact that you made it with that person in mind.
In my Thrifty Tuesday post yesterday, I included a photo of some stones I found at a vintage store in Dallas. I couldn’t wait to do something with them, so I came up with a way to make them into pendants. You could do this with any stone you find.
- Glue (preferably clear glue–I used a hot glue gun and it turned out messy)
- 1 head pin
- 3 jump rings
- Lobster or other clasp
Making the pendant
- Wrap a scrap of chain around the top of your stone.
- Slip head pin through chain on the back and twist ends into a wrapped (or simple) loop at the top.
- Secure chain and loop with glue.
Attach pendant to chain and complete with the lobster clasp and jump rings. I also fastened a circular charm with my initial that I found in a vintage store. I only had hot glue, so the back of mine looks a little rough.
A clear glue like Gorilla Glue or Super Glue would probably work better. I used about 18″ of chain, so mine hangs about mid-chest. This pendant would also work on a 20-30″ chain.