B.C. – A.D. ID Bracelets forever!
Bracelets have been worn by men and women for hundreds of years but none has such an interesting history as that of the identification or ID bracelet. The first ID bracelets were worn by American servicemen during World War II as part of their uniform. They started out as bent metal bands or heavy chains with a metal plate. Either version was engraved with name, rank and serial number and was meant to identify the soldier in the event he was killed in action or otherwise incapacitated and unable to speak for himself. Some men continued wearing them when they returned home, as a show of respect for their time in the service. The bracelets were worn as jewelry throughout the ‘40s.
The popularity of ID bracelets spread to the civilian world in the 1970s as Americans began wearing them engraved with the name of soldiers reported either as missing in action or as being a prisoner of war during the Korean War or Vietnam War. Once the soldier returned home, those wearing his name would mail the bracelet to him. If it was learned that the soldier had died, the bracelets were sent to the family.
Men often gave their bracelets to the women in their lives, much like they would give a class ring to their steady girlfriends. It was a sign of affection and a display that indicated the couple was in a committed relationship.
While these traditions have fallen out of practice, the identification bracelet is still a very popular piece of personalized jewelry. Today, they often are used to display medical information regarding life-threatening conditions the wearer might have.