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Do Ankle Bracelets Mean Anything?

Anklet bracelets, also called anklets, are popular around the globe. As one of the oldest accessories around, this type of jewelry has gained various meanings, that differ depending on the region or culture they’re viewed in. Here’s a look at anklets, what they symbolized in the past and what they mean today.

History of Ankle Bracelets

History of anklets

Ankle bracelets, just like any other piece of jewelry, have been worn since time immemorial. Their origins can be traced from as far back as 6,000 BC. Artifacts belonging to women from Babylon indicated that they might have worn ankle bracelets. Such artifacts were discovered in exhumed Sumerian tombs from ancient Mesopotamia.

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Early anklets were made from materials like wood, bone, stones, and naturally occurring precious metals. Anklets were worn for beauty purposes and to indicate social status and rank.

Ancient Egyptians called the anklets Khalakheel. The Sumerian brides and rich women wore those made from precious metals and stones. Slaves, on the other hand, wore anklets made from wood or leather.

A further look into the origin of anklets indicates that women from India and South Asia wore anklets for over 8,000 years. Indian wives wore anklets with dangling charms. The main purpose of these charms was to announce the women’s presence through jingling.

New brides were also gifted with ankle bracelets known as Payal that symbolized a fruitful marriage. Additionally, young Indian girls who were yet to be married wore anklets to show their courage and pride.

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Women from Eastern Asia wore ankle bracelets known as Pattilu. A pattilu is a type of anklet that consists of a toe ring connected by a thin dangling chain to an ankle bracelet. Nowadays this type of ankle chain is known as a barefoot ankle bracelet.

In the mid-twentieth century, ankle bracelets eventually made their way into western societies. They quickly gained popularity and, in the 1970s, they became an ideal ankle accessory to match the popular bohemian style of that time.

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What Do Ankle Bracelets Mean? 

Which foot to wear anklet

The meaning of ankle bracelets varies from culture to culture, with differences in meaning based on color and design. Each of these anklet types has a significance, which also differs depending on which foot you wear it on.

Wearing an Anklet on Your Left Ankle

Most cultures believe that an ankle bracelet worn on the left foot is a charm or talisman. Such anklets were used as amulets to protect the wearer from diseases and bad omens. They were used as a form of protection. Today, an anklet on your left foot may also indicate that you are married or engaged to a lover. However, it can also mean that you’re interested in a casual relationship, an open relationship, or a relationship with other window.

Wearing an Anklet on Your Right Ankle

An anklet on the right ankle could mean that you are single and searching. If, however, a married person wears an anklet on their right foot, the message being conveyed is that they are open to having extramarital affairs.

Meaning Of Ankle Bracelets by Color

Apart from which foot you wear them on, the color of anklets also can hold meaning. Here is a list of what each color implies:

  • Yellow ankle bracelets

Yellow is a bright and cheerful color associated with sunny days, warmth, and happiness. A yellow anklet can signify good fortune and friendliness.

  • White ankle bracelets

White is the color of purity, peace, and innocence, hence a white anklet can denote that the wearer is pure, possibly a virgin.

  • Green ankle bracelets

Green is the color of nature and can give a sense of calm when you’re stressed. It can signify also good luck.

  • Pink ankle bracelets

Pink anklets have romantic indications and were worn by mostly married women or those in love.

  • Red ankle bracelets

As fiery as the red color looks, red anklets were thought to mean and bring good luck to the wearer.

  • Black ankle bracelets

Dark colors were associated with secrets and so a black anklet can signify mystery and untold memories.

Men and Ankle Bracelets

Even though ankle bracelets are primarily an accessory for women, men wear them also. For instance, in ancient Africa and the Middle East, men wore anklets to indicate their social ranks.

Among the Kshatriya in India, only members of a royal caste were allowed to put on ankle bracelets. They mainly wore those made of gold and other precious metals to indicate their social status.

Ankle Bracelets in the Contemporary World

Nowadays, anklets are worn mainly for beauty purposes. It is difficult to find someone wearing an anklet with the intent of passing across a specific message. Society has evolved and most jewelry is seen as an accessory with no deep meaning attached to it. However, this isn’t always the case. Some still wear anklets to convey different messages.

Men too, are embracing the anklet culture. There are several styles and designs of anklets suitable for men. From leather to beads and chains, men have a wide variety of anklet designs to choose from.  

Health Benefits of Wearing Anklets

There are some medical benefits attached to wearing ankle bracelets. For example, a silver anklet is known to accelerate the healing of wounds. It is thought to protect the wearer from issues such as infertility, hormonal imbalance, and gynecological problems. Silver is said to activate lymph nodes found in the feet and it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Types of Anklets

In the past, materials used to make anklets included gold, leather, silver, beads, and cowrie shells. Nowadays, anklets come in various styles, colors, and designs. Below is a list of anklets options to choose from:

  • Sterling silver anklet: This is made from pure silver metal.
  • Barefoot ankle bracelets: This type of anklet has a unique design. It consists of a toe ring linked to an anklet with small dainty chains.
  • Beaded ankle bracelets: If you are allergic to metal, a beaded anklet is your best option. They come in a variety of vibrant colors.
  • Golden anklets: Gold is an elegant and pricey metal. Similar to the olden days where gold anklets were the prerogative of the rich, gold anklets are also worn on special occasions. Very few people can afford pure gold anklets.

Wearing an Anklet

Anklets for brides

When dressing up, it’s a nice idea to decorate your ankles just as much as you decorate the rest of your body, since your feet deserve some recognition too.

Anklets look great with almost any kind of outfit. They go especially well for beach-related events and attire. Many brides opt to wear barefoot sandals, otherwise known as anklets with toe rings, as a practical yet stylish option for beach weddings.

All you need to do is find the right size of anklet for your ankles. An anklet that is too tight will irritate your skin and cause unsightly marks whereas, a loose anklet will most likely fall off, so choosing the right size is important.

Wrapping Up

One of the oldest accessories around, anklets have an ancient history. Due to this, these accessories have gained various meanings and symbolism, depending on the culture and region they’re worn in. Today, while some still read into the meanings of anklets, they’re mostly seen as a stylish accessory that prettifies your feet.

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.