So, you are heading for the beach this year for your vacation, and you want to have something nice to wear when you are out to dinner or shopping, or even playing in the surf that will not fall off or be easily lost – what could be more appropriate or more beautiful than a Cape Cod bracelet? Even for those times at home when you want to wear something beautifully simple and elegant on your wrist, wearing a Cape Cod bracelet will be just the thing you need. The original Cape Cod 14k Gold Ball Screw Bracelet is still my favorite.
What is a Cape Cod Bracelet?
The one true, authentic Cape Cop bracelet has been around for about 35 years or so and is made exclusively by either Eden Hand Arts in Dennis, Massachusetts or by Firesong Silverworks (formerly Eden Northwest), located in British Columbia, Canada. Both are owned by John Carey and his wife Eve, or close family members. The bracelet itself is very simple, consisting of a rigid sterling silver or gold wire with a gold or silver “screwball” clasp. Each Eden Hand Arts Cape Cod bracelet is still handmade to the exact size needed by the wearer of the bracelet. They are made in an oval shape so that the bracelet is not able to turn around on the wrist, and the screwball stays on the top of it. Most wearers of an Eden Cape Cod bracelet put it on and don’t take it off – ever.
Where Can You Get an Original Cape Cod Bracelet?
The original Cape Cod bracelet was designed by John Carey, a retired art teacher from Southborough, Massachusetts. He and his wife opened their shop, Eden Hand Arts, so they could sell their handmade art and jewelry in 1968. The bracelet was a hit with the local people, and with tourists who wandered in the shop looking for some locally done art. It wasn’t until an actress from Dennis named Amy Jo Johnson wore her bracelet on the television show “Felicity” that “…all the troubles really began”, says Eve Carey. Viewers began contacting the show’s producers asking where they could get the beautiful, simple bracelet worn by Johnson’s character on each show. Once the word got out that her bracelet was a Cape Cod bracelet, (or the Dennis bracelet, as it is known by to the locals), people began flocking to the shop to buy one. It is not unheard of to stand outside the shop for hours just waiting to get in to place an order for one. They do no advertising and do not sell online, but still, jewelry lovers flock to the shop on Cape Cod to place their orders. Currently, orders can be done online from Firesong or Amazon. The bracelets start at $88 for the all silver Cape Cod Dennis bracelet. All gold bracelets are currently $208, and a double ball Dennis bracelet in silver with gold balls is $218. Of course, these prices may go up, especially with the precious metal market’s current upward trend. If you want an authentic Cape Cod bracelet, then you must get one from Eden Hand Arts or from Firesong Silverworks, which is run by one of John Carey’s granddaughters, Emily Carey, and her mother, Charlotte Carey. There are plenty of imitations and Cape Cod “inspired” bracelets available, of course. There are even Cape Cod necklaces and earrings available. But if you truly want an original Cape Cod bracelet, look to Eden Hand Arts or Firesong Silverworks.
What Is A Cape Cod Screwball Bracelet?
Somebody asked me recently if I knew what a Cape Cod Screwball bracelet was. Although I have written about heart bracelets and charm bracelets and I know what tennis bracelets and Italian charm bracelets are, this was something I had not heard of before. My answer was that I assumed it was a bracelet from Cape Cod in Massachusetts and probably had some sort of sea-related charm on it.
While my answer was partly right, in that this bracelet originates in Cape Cod, I was completely wrong in my assumption that it maybe has a nautical theme. To satisfy my curiosity I decided to do some research and find out exactly what a Cape Cod bracelet looks like.
The first results I came across were for online retailers and of course, these sites had a photograph of their bracelets. What I found is that the Cape Cod bracelet is basic, simple, understated and very appealing. It is a plain sterling silver or gold wire secured by a “screwball” fastening. Along with the image of the original bracelets, there were others showing similar style bracelets with different kinds of clasps which did seem to have a “sea” theme, such as seashells and lobster claws.
I decided to look further into the origins of the bracelet and to see if there were other fasteners to choose from. What I found out was that a genuine Cape Cod bracelet is only available from one source and that is from the store of the original designer and maker, John Carey, in Cape Cod. John Carey and his wife Eve opened a shop to sell their artwork that consisted of pottery, sculpture, stained glass and jewelry. About thirty years ago one of his customers was looking for a bracelet for her daughter that wouldn’t slip off her wrist and that is when John came up with his simple yet unique design. The bracelets are handmade and carefully measured to fit the wearer’s wrist so it is not just a case of one size fits all. They are guaranteed not to fall off or twist around the wrist and the Screwball fastening always remains on the top of the wrist.
Although the basic design has just one “screwball” you can get them with two or even three “screwballs”. There is also a choice of silver with a silver ball, silver with a gold ball, gold with a gold ball or gold with a silver ball. To complete the look you can also get matching earrings, ring and necklace.
Originally it was Cape Cod residents who were the main customers for these bracelets although visitors to Cape Cod also bought them. They really took off in popularity when Amy Jo Johnson, a graduate from Dennis High School where Carey’s shop is located, was seen wearing one in the TV series “Felicity”. When demand grew for the bracelet John Carey could no longer make all the bracelets himself and so enlisted the help of other family members.
Even though their products are more sought after than ever the family do not sell online or do mail order and it is strictly a store only business. However, a branch of the family moved to the Pacific Northwest and was given permission to open a branch there and they have an online side to the business. Although no other jewelry maker or outlet is authorized to manufacture or sell the genuine Carey Cape Cod screwball bracelets, there are other jewelry and craft stores in the Cape Cod area that offer replica pieces for sale.
The genuine bracelets now have a tag on them to prove their authenticity. For something similar and very stylish, click on the images at the side of this post to see products that make great gifts and are beautiful to wear. This simple yet elegant bracelet is suitable for, and loved by women of all ages from young girls to Grandmothers and makes the wearer feel special because it was made just for her.
So if you are looking for something unique and different from the usual diamond bracelets or charm bracelets maybe this is something to consider.