Wire Jewelry Idea May 2: Wire Wrapping Medical Jewelry

By on May 2, 2012
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Wire Jewelry Idea May 2:
Wire Wrapping Medical Jewelry

by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com

Something that I usually don’t talk about here on Wire-Sculpture is my medical history, but today I’d like to share a bit of it. I have life-threatening food allergies as well as asthma. Luckily I outgrew many of my food allergies, but I’m still very allergic to milk, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts. Let me tell you, I am saddened by the rise of allergies and things like gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease – but I’m delighted by the new range of gluten-free, milk-free, egg-free, and nut-free foods that just wasn’t available 10 or 20 years ago! (And my poor husband is, too!)

The Bracelet I Loved to Hate

I’ve had allergies and asthma all my life, and it was a lot to learn about as a child – I learned to read ingredient labels before I read Dick and Jane. But one of the big things I had to learn was to always wear my medic alert bracelet, which was a metal box with the medical insignia that I wore around my wrist; the box opened to reveal a page of waterproof paper with my allergies and doctor information on it. I wore my medical bracelet so that if I started to have an allergic reaction, an adult could call 911 and paramedics would know to use my Epi-Pen. And so began my love/hate relationship with jewelry.

You see, I was a very small child and the jewelry wasn’t designed well for children – the band dug into my wrist, was heavy, stuck on hot days, was very unattractive, and I got teased for it in school – but it protected my life.

I "upgraded" to a more standard medical alert bracelet as time went on and I could explain my medical issues to strangers. I got a simple engraved plate with my name, allergies, and "Call 911" written on it with the standard red medical symbol. But it came with an ugly curb chain that didn’t fit well and I hated looking at it.

I have to admit – many days, I would just stuff it in my pocket. Luckily I never needed to use it during that time – I’m sure paramedics are used to looking for medical jewelry on wrists and around the neck, but wouldn’t dig through my pockets!

Then I Saw a Solution to Unwearable Medical Jewelry

Then one day in school, I noticed another girl who wore a medical bracelet, and she had wire wrapped beautiful glass beads on links to attach her medical ID – no curb chain there! And it fit beautifully. I was amazed. Who knew that was possible?

Well, now I know. My ideal medical id bracelet will have wire wrapped beaded links that are interchangeable with the medical tag, so I can match my outfit. The links will be fairly heavy, to balance the medical ID plate in the middle of the bracelet, so it doesn’t slide around my wrist all day. And the bracelet will have a toggle clasp, rather than a lobster claw clasp. You have heard me mention I hate lobster claw clasps – there was a time when I didn’t know there was another kind, and I had to clasp and unclasp my darn bracelet myself every day!

You can find many generic medical id pendants and bracelets in drug stores, near the pharmacy, and there are also many medical id tag sellers online who will engrave your information and customize it for you.

I had to have some information changed, so I am waiting for my new medical id tag to come in the mail. I can’t wait to dress it up!

Do You Make Medical Jewelry More Wearable?

I’m sure there are many jewelry artists who’ve found creative solutions to wear their medical jewelry, or ways to dress up friends’ and clients’ medical jewelry. It’s a great service that you can mention when you see people wearing medical jewelry that are checking out your jewelry booth, too. While it’s careful to make sure paramedics will still recognize it as a medic alert bracelet, I’m sure there are a lot of people like me who would love a customized option. You can make wire wrapped links, as I did (use this pattern for inspiration!); incorporate the medical tag into a wire bangle; use chainmaille techniques or a charm-style bracelet; or even create your own perfect style of wire wrapping medical id tags.

How about you? Have you helped a friend or relative design their own medical jewelry, or medical jewelry for yourself? Leave a comment below about your wire solution to such an important piece of jewelry!

Happy Jewelry Making!


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  1. avatar

    Donna Geurin

    May 2, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Great article and good ideas. I am a recent kidney transplant patient and have to wear a bracelet at all times and have asthma. My wrists are small and the bracelet is too big. I need to start over. Also, I am going to put a heavy duty magnetic clasp on mine. So tired of trying to get it on.

  2. avatar

    Sarah S

    May 2, 2012 at 6:29 am

    For my niece who is 8 and a Type 1 Diabetic, I took a Vintaj rectangle blank connector (http://vintaj.com/products/proddsp.asp?which=P416) and etched the medic alert symbol on it. I then stamped Type 1 Diabetic on the back. I then attached it to a leather bracelet. She loves it!

  3. avatar

    pat gebes

    May 2, 2012 at 6:31 am

    My concern with dressing up a medical alert bracelet too much is whether medical personnel will identify it in a crisis moment or will it simply look like another bracelet. Might be worthwhile to talk to some medical people, especially first responders, about what they look for and whether they might miss identifying the bracelet.

    • avatar

      Nancy Keane

      May 2, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Beaded links attached to a standard medical alert center is a great idea! The center part is the real medical alert item, and it is readily identifiable. Having pretty beaded links would not detract from that.

  4. avatar

    wilma royce

    May 2, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Do you know where I can get the medi blanks to make braclets with. This is a small town and this would be nice for the patients here if I could make their day brighter.

    • avatar


      May 2, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Go to http://www.stickyj.com for an assortment of ID tags. They have excellent prices and selections. I have gotten my start making medical ID tag jewelry after seeing their examples!

      • avatar


        May 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

        I get my bracelete on line at Medic Alert. I take off the chain and used 18g SS to put on clear beads so it goes with everything. The engraving comes with the id and you update things on line so all your records are there. Saves on engraving everything regarding my health and it comes in colors other than the standard red.

  5. avatar


    May 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I would really love to see an example. Thanks kindly!

  6. avatar


    May 2, 2012 at 7:10 am

    The first jewelry items I made were for my daughter’s medic alert bracelet. It was fun for her to choose the colors and beads. Other people asked for the bracelets for their tags because I could custom fit the bracelet as well as custom make something to match an outfit. My favorite bands were made with peyote and herringbone stitches.

  7. avatar

    Jim Harkins

    May 2, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Great ideas! I keep my med info on a USB thumb drive, since the EMS services are all computer-equipped in my area. I can always change the lanyard to go with what I’m wearing.

  8. avatar

    Tracey Knaus

    May 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I have done a few medic alert bracelets in a variety of styles and love making valuable necessary information wearable and attractive. Many of my clients don’t like the bracelets available to them…so then I get an email or phone call for a request to make something they would live to wear proudly. I keep getting more requests….and I’ll take that call! LOVE making something them!

  9. avatar


    May 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I made Diabetes medical ID bracelets for my Mom and for a friends daughter. I used PMC3 and made an oval shape and while it was still wet I stamped the persons name on the front and put their birthstone on it; on the back I stamped ‘Diabetes Type II’ and a phone number for emergencies. My friends daughter was overjoyed with hers because for years she had been wearing the clunky JD bracelet that her father bought her (and of course, she would not wear!!), now she wears this bracelet all the time. My Mom also wears hers all the time.

  10. avatar


    May 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I seen a friend at a bead store buying clearance beads and she told me she buys clearance beads all the time and makes interchangeable elastic bracelets for her grandaughter. They couldn’t get her to wear her medical bracelet to school until grandma started making her all the fun bracelets.

  11. avatar

    Lin Parkin

    May 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hello, I’m one of the lucky ones who need to wear a medical alert bracelet, and like every one else was saying, couldn’t find one I would WANT to wear.

    So my website was born. Our jewelry is made of semi precious gemstones,using only the finest materials. We have sterling, stainless and gold filled pieces and love to do custom orders, and never make the same bracelet twice.

    All of ours bracelets are now interchangeable, allowing you to change your bracelet with your outfit or mood. We also have a small charm alert tag, that we’ve attached a lobster claw clasp to, allowing people to add it to their favorite bracelet, or watch, purse, etc..

    Whenever possible we seek our suppliers that provide findings and materials that were made here in the USA.

    Come check us out http://www.mermaidsseajewels.com If anyone has any questions, just send me an email.

    Lin AKA

    • avatar


      May 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Hi Lin, I just went to your website and chose a bracelet but am having trouble getting the order to go through. Hoping you can help :) Thanks!

    • avatar


      May 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Thank you for the amazing customer service! I look forward to wearing my new medical alert bracelet!

      • avatar

        Lin Parkin

        May 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

        Thanks Michele, I know you will love your new bracelet.!

  12. avatar


    May 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I started wearing a medical ID over 11 years ago and have been making interchangeable bands to match my outfits. I got the idea from a watch I purchased that had different colored watch bands. Now I mix and match my medical bracelet with my necklace and/or a charm bracelet or other coordinating bracelet. Now people are more interested in the pretty band and less interested in why I’m wearing a medical ID. It’s good to see others are creative also.

  13. avatar

    Rosemarie Greenwald

    May 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

    What a fantastic and IMPORTANT idea! Although I don’t wear such a medical bracelet, it’s a wonderful opportunity for gifting, etc. Thanks for sharing.

  14. avatar


    May 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

    As a trained emergency medical provider, I can tell you that all jewelry is looked at. There is so much variety including silicone bands, beaded bracelets, and necklaces. We are trained to look at both sides, even if it does not immediately appear to be a medical alert symbol.

    There is never 100% guarantee, however. I have heard of cases where even the old style medical alert jewelry was overlooked in the chaos of a major event. But, better to have it than not.

    I currently have to take coumadin and am on chemotherapy. I am struggling to find a pretty and practical bracelet to wear!

    • avatar

      Lin Parkin

      May 5, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Michele, that is good to know. I have been told that we should wear our alert bracelets on our left wrist, do you know if it matters? I’d love to pass on the information. Thanks
      Lin AKA Mer…

  15. avatar

    Karen Davis

    May 4, 2012 at 1:09 am

    My MedicAlert is on a bronze chainmaille bracelet that I made. It fits and it is sturdy. It seems to take the chlorine from the pool and hot tub with little corrosion. I also hate lobster claw clasps, so mine closes with a hook and eye.