Bracelets, those cylindrical-shaped accessories worn around the wrist, have been around since prehistoric times. The English term for it came from the Greek word brachile, which means “of the arm.” These ornaments come in different types and have been worn either in singles or multiples by both men and women. Throughout history, this universal form of jewelry has been playing important and varying roles in people’s lives. Bracelets have been used to gain protection from evil spirits, indicate one’s social status, and simply decorate oneself.
History of Bracelets
Archaeologists have found evidence showing that people in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China wore bracelets. The earliest pieces were made from materials found in nature, such as shells, grass, and slender tree limbs. By the time of the First Dynasty (2680 B.C.), Egyptians were wearing adornments made of gold and silver embellished with semi-precious stones.
Mediterranean jewelry styles became rampant when ancient Greeks began sporting cuffs on their upper and lower arms. Greek soldiers wore thick leather and metal cuffs for protection, a practice later adopted by Roman soldiers. As early as 2000 B.C. in China, people wore intricate cuffs and bangles made of jade. The Chinese also loved wearing gold bracelets etched with images of nature, animals, and mythical creatures.
Fast forward to the 17th century, European women revived the use of bracelets as standard fashion accessories by wearing ribbons and thin bangles. During the Victorian era, charm bracelets embellished with dangling lockets and charms became trendy. By the 20th century, bracelets were available in almost every design imaginable and came at lower prices as mass production increased. As the 21st century came around, silver became the most common material used in the manufacture of bracelets.
Different Bracelets Styles
Bracelets are designed to fit all lifestyles and personalities. Today, with so many design options available, choosing the right bracelet can be a daunting task. When shopping for one, you must consider where you’re going, what you’ll be wearing, and the activities you’ll be participating in. Below, we round up the must-have bracelet styles in your jewelry box, so you’ll be ready to accessorize for any occasion.
A classic bangle is an inflexible type of bracelet that usually comes with no clasp. An open bangle, on the other hand, has a gap on the wrist part. It comes in all shapes and sizes and fits around the wrist loosely. Most people tend to layer bangles with other similar bracelets or with several differently-styled ones. However, you can also opt to wear a single, large bangle as a statement piece.
Beaded bracelets can be made of precious or semi-precious gemstones or other materials, such as plastic, glass, wood, etc. The chain that joins the beads together is usually invisible. Wearing a beaded bracelet is a sure-fire way to add color to your look. While it can be worn in singles, it’s also perfect for stacking with beaded bracelets and other bracelet types.
Cuffs are an inflexible type of bracelet that are similar to bangles, except that they have a more snug fit against the skin and don’t slide up and down your arm. Thin cuffs would work well with regular outfits, while wide cuffs are more fashion-forward, giving its wearer a bold and confident appearance. You can wear them around the wrist or around the upper arm if you’re going for an exotic look.
This bracelet typically features metal loops linked together to form a chain and a clasp that connects both of its ends. It has a fluid and straightforward design, making it one of the most versatile pieces of jewelry. They can come in dainty and chunky styles, which also makes them perfect for layering.
Famous Bracelet Makers
With a myriad of bracelet designers out there, how do you determine the ones you can trust? No matter how many makers come into existence, we still find the ones that have stood the test of time. These brands create classic, elegant, and timeless pieces that have fared well through the decades and marked their place in the jewelry realm, like the designers listed below.
Founded in 1847, Cartier is one of the most prominent jewelers in the world. It has stores all across the globe and is headquartered in Paris. This brand is famous for its classic designs featuring precious metals and expensive gemstones. Cartier’s LOVE collection is among its most iconic pieces, with 46 models of bracelets under this collection, ranging from $1,210 to $56,000.
Founded in 1980, David Yurman is famous for the sculptural and architectural designs of its jewelry. This jeweler’s pieces are perfect both for everyday and formal evening wear. Its most prominent design is the Cable motif, which features wrapped wires of silver, gold, or platinum. Either end of the bracelet can be plain or embellished with gemstones. The prices of David Yurman’s Cable bracelets for women range from $395 to $10,700.
This French luxury fashion house was founded in 1909 by designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Chanel’s jewelry merges feminine and masculine styles, brilliantly designed to complement their luxury and ready-to-wear women’s apparel. Its fine jewelry bracelets are priced at $3,950 to $77,000 apiece.
Tiffany & Co.
Founded in 1837 in New York, this designer expanded to locations in Paris and London during the early 1850s. This jeweler truly shone during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods of the early 20th century. One of the most iconic motifs of Tiffany & Co. is the lock and key, which it incorporated in its bracelets, earrings, pendants, and pins. The bracelets from its Tiffany Keys collection range in price from $1,600 to $5,600.
Bracelets, though subtle, are powerful and can make a significant impact on your appearance. They’re one of the most versatile accessories, and even those who don’t like to wear jewelry can sport them because they’re comfortable and require little maintenance. Here’s a look at what’s new this season for this humble piece of jewelry.
Bangle bracelets are timeless
Although many new trends have emerged, nothing can replace the aesthetic and simplicity of classic bangle bracelets. This rigid piece of accessory is the perfect addition to a modern working woman’s outfit. These days, what’s in are platinum and rose gold bangles.
Decorative charms are making a comeback
Charm bracelets feature decorative pieces hanging from their chains, such as lockets, hearts, keys, etc. They were a big hit in the ‘90s, and they are back with a bang as more women are embracing designs that allow them to express their individuality. Charm bracelets are simple enough for everyday wear, yet they make their wearer stand out because of their intricacies.
Chain bracelets are an essential fashion piece
Chain-and-link bracelets have been trendy for quite some time now, but for 2020, they’re a total must-have. There are two ways to sport this trend: you can layer multiple bracelets for that chic, messy look, or you can opt to wear a singular heavy-duty chain as a statement piece.
Buying In-Store vs. Buying Online
If you plan on shopping for a bracelet, you might be wondering: is it better to buy online or in-store?
Actually, each option has its own benefits. If you buy online, you’ll find a slew of collections, and you’ll get to compare offerings from different merchants. Plus, you don’t have to worry about dealing with pushy salespeople. Online vendors also sell bracelets at lower prices since they save on overhead costs.
On the other hand, If you’re buying in-store, you get exactly what you want as you can see and try on the piece you’re purchasing. Plus, you’ll have the answers to all your questions. Also, despite the convenience of buying online and having consultants who are just a chat away, nothing beats having personal interaction.