ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Elephant Hair Bracelets

Updated on May 24, 2014

Elephant Hair Bracelets - A Tribal Charm for Health, Wealth, Good Luck, and Love

According to traditional African mythology, elephants are a bridge between here and the hereafter, between earth and heaven, body and spirit. Elephant hair bracelets are a traditional token for good luck, protection and prosperity.

It's still possible to get bracelets made of real elephant hair (from their tails - I know, we don't think of elephants as having hair!) and no elephants are harmed in the process. But you'll also see here a few simply elegant versions in stainless steel, copper, and sterling silver. If you're interested in making your own elephant-hair bracelet, we've got instructions and a how-to video to help you learn the technique.

These bracelets are adjustable - you slip it on over your hand and then adjust the size using the sliding knots that are a built-in part of the jewelry's design. But the knots are more than practical - they are powerfully symbolic, too. Traditionally, elephant hair bracelets have either two or four knots, symbolic of achieving a balance between things of the body and earth (fertility and posterity, for example) and things of the supernatural world, spirits and the mysterious forces of nature.

Photo: Elephant Hair Bracelet as worn by Dean Winchester / Jensen Ackles in Supernatural, screencap by raloria

Bracelets of Real Elephant Hair - Traditional 2-Knot Elephant Hair Bracelets

Elephants are a protected species these days, so it's not common to find this traditional style of bracelet still being made with real elephant hair - more commonly, you'll see them made with plant fibres or cords or wire of precious metals. However, there are some artisans, like Francis Cary, a third-generation crafter of elephant hair jewelry in St. Lucia, South Africa, who have received official permission from the game preserves of The Elephant Coast to collect the tail hair that's shed naturally by the local elephants, and so are legally able to offer the bracelets for sale and export.

These bracelets are getting harder to find every month, it seems - there are some good imitations out there and it can be hard for someone to know if you're wearing a faux version made of plant fibre or the real thing.

2 Knot Genuine Elephant Hair Bracelet
2 Knot Genuine Elephant Hair Bracelet

Out of Africa, this two-knot adjustable tribal bracelet is made of actual elephant hair in the traditional way.

 
4 Knot Genuine Elephant Hair Bracelet
4 Knot Genuine Elephant Hair Bracelet

Similar to the two-knot version that is most common, this one is made with four knots, each of which can slide along to adjust the size of the bracelet for a custom fit.

 

How to Adjust an Elephant Hair Bracelet - Sliding Knots are the secret to changing the size

One of the reasons why this style of bracelet makes a super gift is that it is so easy to get the right size for someone else - the size of the bracelet can be customized by sliding the knots.

Metal Elephant Hair Bracelets - For Men and Women

Elephant Hair Bracelet with Solid Sterling Silver
Elephant Hair Bracelet with Solid Sterling Silver

Beautiful .925 sterling silver version of the African elephant hair bracelet.

 
Elephant Hair Bracelet with Copper
Elephant Hair Bracelet with Copper

Inexpensive but eye-catching, copper wire 2-knot bracelet.

 

How to Make a Sliding Knot Bracelet - DIY Jewelry Craft Project "How To" - Learn to make a traditional 2-knot elephant hair bracelet

Perhaps you'd like to learn how to make a good-luck Elephant Hair Bracelet of your own? Here's an excellent video demo that shows how. All it takes is a bit of practice, to get the knack of the knot.

Once you learn the sliding knot technique, you can practice with multiple strands, cords of different colors, added beads and charms, and other variations. The creative possibilities are endless for making your own "good luck" bracelet in elephant hair style!

Make Your Own Bracelet - Learn to make the sliding knots, and you can make your own traditional African elephant hair bracelet

For those of us who don't have access to elephants, it might be interesting to try using horsehair to make a sliding knot bracelet in African style. The tail of a horse is plenty long enough to produce a few spare strands of hair of the right length for jewelry making, and I'm told it makes for some interesting knotted beadwork. For most of us, however, a more practicable option would be a thin waxed cotton or leather cord, or a fine gauge wire.

What's your style? - Traditional Elephant Hair or Modern Metals or DIY Jewelry?

Which type of Elephant Hair Bracelet do you prefer?

See results

Learn more about African Elephants and Elephant Hair Bracelets

Photo: Addo Elephant Park by Brian Snelson (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0] , via Wikimedia Commons

Would you wear an Elephant Hair Bracelet?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      I didn't know elephant hair was used for bracelets. They look awesome by the way.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

      There is so much illegal killing of elephants again. I would be leery of purchasing on the Internet, so I would go with the metal version.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      I still have my elephant hair bracelet given to me when I was a child, it's at least 60 years old. When I was in Paris I noticed the popularity of the elephant hair style bracelets...I bought some for gifts...now I see them here in the US.

    • flycatcherrr profile image
      Author

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      @rob-hemphill: What a treasure, you're a lucky man!

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      I remember these well when we lived in Kenya as children - I think the locals had made the bracelets and given them to us, and I still have one to this day!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I would wear such a bracelet ... don't usually see those where I shop locally, but thanks to the wonder of the internet, I can find some. Very creative.

    • flycatcherrr profile image
      Author

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      @AcornOakForest: I know, weird, eh? Elephant hair is almost like wire. Makes sense for a big animal like an elephant, when you think about it, but I remember being so surprised the first time I touched one and there were all those coatse hairs. In the kids' story books, elephants don't look like they have any hair at all. :-)

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 5 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      These are cool! I've seen the sliding knots before, but never with elephant hair. I was surprised by how thick and coarse it was. Very interesting lens!

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love the idea of wearing a real elephant hair bracelet, but only if it was made by Francis Cary so I would know that no elephants had been hurt in the process. The silver bracelets are lovely too, so pretty. What an unusual and interesting lens!

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 5 years ago

      So unusual

    • sunlightseer profile image

      sunlightseer 5 years ago

      I love elephants but didn't know these bracelets I've seen were elephant hair.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Very cue pieces.

    • eternisemoi profile image

      eternisemoi 5 years ago

      Yes, I like your selection of elephant hair bracelets. This is actually my first time hearing about them too.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I love the silver-gold knot elephant hair bracelet! I would wear one of the metal bracelets...for some reason wearing one made with actual hair kinda creeps me out.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Not really, but i know couple of people who would love elephant bracelets in hair and metal versions!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)