Attached to strands of pearls most commonly, or sometimes wide ribbon, these bracelets show up in many paintings of the period, and were exclusively worn by women. To the left Boucher paints Mme Bergeret. Note her wide, flat hat known as a "Bergere" Coincidence? Play on her name?
In this portrait of Maria Carolina, sister of Marie Antoinette, it looks as if we may have double portrait bracelets, if only we could see the front of the one on her right hand. If indeed they are both portrait bracelets, then the unbroken strands of pearls must mean that the clasp is somewhere close to the portrait itself.
These are by no means the only paintings featuring portrait bracelets, there are many, many more. Most commonly they seem to be found on multiple pearl strands, from as few as two to as many as six, with three being common. They are worn in pairs or singularly, on either the left or the right wrist. So why is this part 1? In part two we'll look at how to make one.