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Pewter bracelet- An accessory with the roots in the Sámi pewter embroidery

A Pewter bracelet is a leather bracelet decorated with pewter wire embroidery in the form of braids or patterns. Sometimes silver or glass pearls are used as decoration and the bracelets can be anything from a couple of millimeters wide to several centimeters.

Many people combine several different pewter bracelets with each other. The leather used is often naturally tanned reindeer leather and a well-made pewter bracelet is very well stitched on the back and has an even, well-shaped pattern in the pewter embroidery. The most classic model is the single braid on a brown or black bracelet that is about 1 centimeter wide. 

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The history of the Pewter bracelet

Forming pewter into a thread used for embellishments is a technique originating from historic Sámi craft traditions. Pewter bracelets are a relatively modern product, but pewter embroidery has been found on old costumes, utensils, bags, and other similar items in Sámi areas, with the oldest archaeological finds being from the 11th century.


Find the handicraft

Julevu creates Pewter bracelets from the softest reindeer leather, tanned with natural metods. With inspiration from all over the world and the roots in northern Sweden, artwork is crafted for the wrist, that suits all occasions. 


The Pewter Bracelet - a rediscovered art form

At the beginning of the 19th century, the art of pewter embroidery had almost been lost. Just in the nick of time, a man named Andreas Wilks happened to find his mother’s old pewter thread-making tools and taught himself how to manufacture pewter thread himself. Wilks started giving classes on the matter, thus giving new life to an almost forgotten trade. Today, pewter embroidery is a skill that’s alive and well among Sámi designers and artisans. 

How pewter thread was manufactured historically

  • A small branch of alder or birch wood was split along the middle, the marrow was removed, and the two halves were tied back together.

  • A mixture of lead and molten pewter was poured into the hollow of the branch, molding the pewter into thin rods.

  • The pewter rods were then pulled through small holes in a plate made from reindeer antlers, until reaching the right thickness.

  • The thread was then spun around reindeer tendons (nowadays thick sewing thread) with a special tool, creating the pewter thread.


Pewter bracelet boom in the 1970s

In the 1970s, classes in how to make pewter bracelets popped up all around Sweden, and both Sámi and non-Sámi people were creating bracelets with all kinds of different designs. Nowadays you can find pewter bracelets of different qualities, and even mass-produced ones made in factories in faraway countries. High-quality pewter bracelets, however, are made from naturally tanned reindeer leather, and they have delicate, smooth embroidery on the front, and a nice and even stitch on the back.

Pewter bracelets with naturally tanned reindeer leather

All the pewter bracelets we stock are made from naturally tanned reindeer leather. This means the leather’s been tanned with natural agents only, without using any heavy metals or toxic substances. The leather comes from free-roaming reindeer in Sápmi and is prepared at small-scale local leather tanneries in the north.

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