Elephant Hair Bracelets - IntroductionThe hairs represent certain aspects (strands) of the wearers life such as love, health, wealth, and harmony. The knots in the bracelet represent gods hands holding together the strands. Today, there are many Africans and westerners alike who wear traditional handmade bracelets, necklaces, rings, and other jewelry made with real elephant hair. There are many African gift shops that have this type of jewelry for sale. Many men and women are drawn to elephant hair jewelry including many who are famous. These famous people include Prince Andrew and Prince William of England, the American actor George Clooney, the American politician John McCain, Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist, and the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart regarded her elephant hair bracelet as a lucky charm. In 1937 when she attempted to fly around the world she mistakenly left it behind. She disappeared somewhere over the South Pacific never to be seen again.
The Controversy With Elephant Hair BraceletsUnfortunately the African elephant is an endangered species. This is mostly due to their being killed for their tusk (ivory) and the reduction in the land they roam by the expansion in human settlements. It is estimated that in the 1970's and 80's approximately 600,000 elephants were illegally killed. In the 1980's their were approximately one million elephants left in Africa and there is now less than 480,000. If the poaching continues at the current rate there will be no more large number of roaming elephants left in Africa. There may be a time in the near future where there will only be a few hundred African elephants left on the planet that are found in zoos and in well protected areas. In 1989 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora banned most ivory trade in an effort to save elephants from extinction. However despite this law and several others elephants are still killed in large numbers by poachers. Even though illegal many of the elephant hair bracelets that are for sale come from poached elephants. If you want to buy elephant hair jewelry you should buy from a company that collects the hairs legally. These companies collect hair that elephants have shed, which is often where they rub up against trees. Many companies may claim to collect the hairs legally but it is almost impossible to verify that they do.
Elephant Hair Bracelets - Conclusion
If the hairs are collected legally, without harming any elephants, an elephant hair bracelet can be a great piece of jewelry for men and for women. They are both beautiful and due to the ancient meanings associated with them can make great good luck charms. There are companies out there that sell fake elephant hair jewelry. If you buy one and question its authenticity simply cut off a small piece and burn it. If it is genuine you will smell the unmistakable odor of burning hair.