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Silicone is a semi-inorganic polymer that is heat stable, flexible and water resistant. Because of these qualities, silicone is used for a wide range of products, including silicone bracelets.
Silicone bracelets are inexpensive jewelry items that are colorful, durable and comfortable to wear. They have become a fashion craze both because of their appearance and the messages they impart. The different colors represent different societal causes, from finding a cure for a particular disease to raising environmental consciousness.
Also sometimes referred to as rubber bracelets, they first came on the scene when the Lance Armstrong Foundation, founded in 1997 by world-renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong, designed and began selling them. The silicone bracelets, dubbed Livestrong® bracelets, were sold as part of a fund-raising effort by the foundation to assist cancer survivors, like Armstrong himself. The bright yellow bracelets, (so-colored to match the jersey color of the winner of the Tour-de-France), rose quickly to great heights of popularity. Much of the popularity arose because the jewelry and the cancer foundation's programs were publicized on the widely watched Oprah show. By February of 2005, more than 32 million people were wearing Livestrong® bracelets.
Other charities, both large and small, soon entered the silicone bracelet market to bring awareness to their own causes. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation designed pink bracelets emblazoned with their motto, "Sharing the Promise." Another group rallied support for U.S. troops with their yellow bracelets stamped with "Support Our Troops" in black lettering. The AIDS foundation and Tsunami survivors, along with countless others, have benefited from the sales generated by the items.
A number of silicone jewelry manufactures have expanded their inventory to include awareness silicone bracelets. They can be purchased in bulk online, making them an economical way for small groups, schools, churches, and organizations to generate sales while advertising their cause. Manufacturers offer a wide variety of colors, styles and pre-printed messages, but they can also produce custom ones with each group's own message stamped on the bracelets.
It may be too early to say whether silicone bracelets will continue to be popular fashion accessories, but it is fair to say that they have achieved a great deal in just a few years. Millions of dollars have been put to good use, simply because of the little fashion accessory.
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