When it comes to jewelry, you can’t go wrong with pretty bracelets. What makes bracelets so much fun is that they can be enjoyed in a completely different way than necklaces—after all, you can see them while you’re wearing them! Perfect for layering and stacking, bracelets have been worn by women and men throughout the ages.
The word bracelet derives from the Greek word “brachile,” which means “of the arm.” Early bracelets were made of grasses, slender tree limbs, and shells, as well as copper and bronze.There is evidence that people in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China wore bracelets. Bracelets became more intricate and decorative after the Bronze Age, when jewelry was a symbol of status and wealth. Bracelets were made of gold and silver, and adorned with stones and shells.
During the Victorian Era, charm bracelets with engraved charms and dangling lockets were incredibly popular. In the 19th century, bracelet chains became stylish, and they linked cameos and medallions decorated with ivory and coral. Fashion jewelry became mass-produced and more affordable in the 20th century.
Today, bracelets are created from a wide variety of materials (such as metal, cloth, plastic, and leather) and are typically embellished with gemstones, crystals, metal, and pearls. They are designed to fit all lifestyles and genders. With so many beautiful bracelets to choose from, how do you find the right bracelet style for your personality and lifestyle?
There are many things to consider when you’re shopping for the right bracelet style, including the activities you’ll be engaged in, where you’re going, and what you’ll be wearing. It’s a good idea to have a wide variety of bracelet styles in your jewelry wardrobe so you’ll be ready for any occasion.
In this article, we’ll help you find the perfect bracelets and provide some tips on how to wear them for years to come.
Bracelet Style Guide
A bangle bracelet style is circular in shape and inflexible. Typically made in gold or another type of metal, bangles usually have a simple or engraved design. Bangle bracelets with gemstone or diamond embellishments can make an elegant statement. They look great worn alone, or stacked with different bangles.
Bangle bracelets can be hinged or slip-on style. A slip-on bangle is larger and usually round, and not as fitted as hinged bangles. Hinged bangles tend to be more oval-shaped and fit the wrist more closely. Slip-on bangles are commonly more casual in style and are made from less-expensive materials. Hinged bangles often have a safety clasp in addition to the main clasp.
Beaded bracelets are expandable and stretchable, and are arranged in a single or multi-row design. They can also feature gemstones in a range of colors, and look great when layered on both arms.
Chain and link
Chain-and-link bracelets are made by connecting links into a band. These are typically made out of a metal such as gold or silver. They are flexible and can range from very dainty chains to chunky styles. Chain-and-link bracelets are available in all types of precious metals, and are perfect for layering.
Handmade bracelets can range from hand-forged silver or gold, to beautifully-designed beads strung in pretty combinations. Bracelets that are handmade are generally unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that express originality. A jeweler specializing in custom jewelry can work with you to create a perfect piece, one driven by a sentimental remembrance (such as creating a bracelet using a gem from a loved one’s engagement ring, in a unique, rose-gold setting), or a bold fashion statement that looks exactly the way you want it to.
Charm bracelets are link bracelets that have little trinkets or charms dangling from a chain or link. You can have just one charm, or dozens! Each charm may represent different people, places, or sentimental objects.
Cuff bracelets are a type of bangle bracelet and are an inflexible circular or oval shape. These tend to fit looser and are wide and chunky, with no clasp or closure. Men’s options in a cuff bracelet style can also be commonly found. Cuff bracelets are open on the back or front; there’s no clasp. Try a few styles and sizes to get the correct fit for you.
Tennis bracelets are known for their straight, delicate chain design with individually set gemstones. Also called line bracelets, tennis bracelets are typically made with diamonds, though their links may also be designed with other gemstones. As with all bracelets, length and fit is important for comfort as well as safety. A bracelet that is too large can get lost, or catch on something and get damaged.
Arm bracelets, also known as armlets, are a band or bracelet worn around the upper part of a person’s arm. They are usually made from cloth or metal and feature precious gems. Worn since ancient times, arm bracelets are incredibly stylish and trendy.
Vintage bracelets have a charm about them that people love. Details from safety chains to statement clasps are very intricate and difficult to reproduce, making a vintage bracelet a special and one-of-a-kind accessory. Today, many women prefer to have a safety clasp rather than a dangling chain. However, the chain can add vintage character.
Men wear attractive bracelets, too. Men’s bracelets can be link, bangle styles, or cuffs. Masculine materials to make handsome bracelets include steel or titanium, leather, neoprene, or wood.
Tips for Wearing Your Favorite Bracelets
- Make sure you fasten the clasp properly. If the clasp seems weak or opens by itself, bring the bracelet to your jeweler for a quick adjustment or repair.
- If you have difficulty fastening clasps (as many of us do!), have your jeweler replace the clasp with a magnetic one. It will be stronger and easy to use, and this will enable you to continue to wear your favorite piece for years to come.
- If you’re keeping up with style, you might want to have multiple bracelets for layering this year. When layering bracelets, keep the scale similar to avoid tangling or overwhelming a delicate bracelet with a chunky, heavy one. if the bracelet is delicate or very precious, don’t layer it—let it stand on its own.
- Don’t be afraid to mix silver and gold, or other metals. Feel free to layer a gold bracelet with a silver one, or a bronze bracelet with a steel one.
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wearing bracelets. And the more, the better!