About Hemp Bracelets
- Photo by Uncleweed flickr.com
Hemp has been recognized as a valuable resource since 800 B.C. and has been used by different cultures throughout Europe and Asia for thousands of years. Muslims used hemp to make paper beginning in A.D. 1150, and continued to enjoy the resource for over 700 years. Part of our own history, the Declaration of Independence, was drafted on hemp paper.
Hemp as a fiber has been used widely in the United States since World War II. An extremely long and strong fiber, hemp is well-known for its resistance to wear and rot. Used for rope, twine and sails, hemp was also used for military clothing, shoes and is believed to have been used to fully rig the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Because of its ease of growth, Colonial government mandated that farmers plant this valuable and renewable resource and even used it as barter material.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 forbade the growing of hemp, and this is when hemp began to get its bad rap. In 1998 Canada legalized the growing of industrial hemp and finally hemp is beginning to be recognized as the valuable commodity it has always been.
Hemp bracelets and other hemp articles of clothing became popular in the 1970s as part of a hemp movement that some considered a method of getting Americans to accept hemp's cousin, marijuana. "Green" enthusiasts love hemp products as hemp is such a useful and natural resource. Easy to make and inexpensive, hemp bracelets have been popular for both men and women as a casual accessory.
- photo by Bekathwia flickr.com
Hemp bracelets can be plain or ornate and come in a few basic styles; they can be constructed of plain hemp, dyed hemp or hemp knotted with beaded accents. You can also get a wrapped hemp bracelet that has a smoother look and feel, giving your accessory a more finished appeal. This style is a favorite among surfers and skaters because it tolerates water and sweat, and it isn't as bulky as the more homemade-looking beaded hemp bracelets. A braided hemp bracelet is nice as it allows for several colors of hemp to be used together for a more bold look. This style is bulkier--perfect for a man's wrist.
- photo by Bekathwia flickr.com
Most hemp bracelets will be made up of macramé knotting, and often incorporate wood beads, glass beads or even silver or gold accents. Common knots used include the Josephine knot, square knot, half knot and double half hitch knot. Most hemp bracelets have a simple knotted end instead of using normal jewelry closure devices, and many leave a long end for the buyer to customize the fit. Most knotted variety of bracelets are a bit scratchy on the skin, but smooth out with wear.
- Photo by knit.spin flickr.com
Many people misunderstand the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. The THC level in the variety of cannabis that produces hemp is very low, and people cannot get high by smoking it. Growers of industrial hemp harvest the plant before any "buds" might be harvested by confused "potheads." The THC levels would be a big disappointment to a connoisseur.
Another misconception about hemp growers is that their harvest may be hiding marijuana-producing plants; however, if a marijuana plant would get pollinated by the hemp-producing plants, the THC level of the marijuana plant would be too low.
- Photo by thingermejig flickr.com
Hemp bracelets have already advanced the overall awareness of hemp as a renewable and versatile resource to modern day consumers. Bracelets have led to necklaces, key chains and chokers and have made purchasing and wearing hemp an everyday and accepted practice.