The handwoven knots used to create friendship bracelets can generally be traced back to Native Americans. Some of the earliest forms of decorative knots date are as far back as 481-221 B.C.
Macrame, the process of tying decorative knots into beautiful patterns, was around as far back as the 13th century Arabs. The craft then spread to France and Italy, and was later picked up by sailors who used many macrame knots in their work at sea. Macrame became very popular in 19th century England and was revived in America in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Native American tradition is that the creator of the bracelet makes it with love for the other person in mind. The recipient is entitled to one wish. If they do not take off the bracelet ever and just let it fall off naturally, their wish will be granted.