Survival-Style Jewelry

Parachute Cord Bracelets
by Bryan Nealy, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Survival-Style Jewelry Picture this: you're out hiking on a beautiful mountain trail, and things couldn't be going better. But suddenly you trip and injure your arm. You immediately move to give yourself first aid, but you aren't carrying first aid gear. Just as panic begins to take hold, you focus enough to remember you're wearing a survival-style necklace. Any other piece of jewelry would be worthless in this situation, but not this necklace. You quickly disassemble it and use the parachute cord to tie a couple of sticks around your arm for a makeshift splint. While this situation is unlikely, survival-style jewelry is a fashionable way to prepare for the unexpected.

The survival-style trend utilizes parachute cord in a manner quite contrary to its original purpose. Parachute cord, also called 550 cord, was originally used in World War II by American paratroopers as suspension lines for their parachutes. However, once they had landed in the combat zone, the airborne troops discovered the 550 cord could be reused as anything from sewing thread or fishing line, to a boot lace or a tourniquet. Eventually, the entire military made the cord a standard issue gear item and it's still in service today.

Military-issued 550 cord derives its versatility from its construction. 550 cord is composed of 7 nylon strands of 3 nylon braids, covered in a sturdy nylon sheath. The name 550 comes from the rated breaking strength of 550 pounds for the cord. Even the individual strands inside the sheath possess enough strength to have practical use.

Commercial versions of the cord are available in a variety of colors and still maintain the 550-pound breaking strength of the
Parachute Cord

Parachute Cord

GI version. Design idea E115 displays the versatility of the cord when paired with sparkling crystals. No matter what you decide to create with this useful material, you'll cherish the strength and appeal of 550 cord.

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