Bracelets are common pieces of jewelry that have remained trending from the days of civilization. During those days there were not so many styles and materials to make different types of bracelets.
Today, several kinds of bracelets are found in jewelry stores. In this guide, you will get information about:
- Different kinds of bracelets
- The preferred material for making bracelets
- What is a tennis bracelets
- Which bracelets are the best to wear every day?
History of Bracelets
Initially, there was a perception that Egyptians introduced bracelets during the time of Cleopatra. However, that thought changed in 2008.
A variety of jewelry kinds were discovered in Siberia, and one of them was a green chlorite stone bracelet.
It has since been confirmed that the bracelet is more than 40,000 years old.It is the oldest stone jewelry to ever be found.
In this Guide
Different Types of Bracelets
We have shifted from stone bracelets in the ancient daysto a variety of bracelet types and styles used today. Some of the types of bracelets you will come across include the following.
1. Bangle Bracelets
A bangle is a type of bracelet that is made using hard materials, normally metal or stone. Ancient bangles were made using glass, rock, stone, shell, terracotta, or other materials.
They come with different price tags depending on the material used and the width. They don’t have a clasp or closure. When you wear a bangle bracelet, it slips on your hand without struggle and does not get off easily.
Some bangles are wide or thin and oversized, they keep sliding up and down on the wrist. Thin bangle bracelets are made of gold, steel, or sterling silver. Most bracelet lovers like to stack thing bangles together and wear one big bangle that makes a statement.
Bangle bracelets are common in countries found in the Asian region like Sri Lanka and India. They are popularly worn by people who practice the Buddhist and Hindu religions. They are also an important staple. You can also find pure gold bangle bracelets in Asian countries.
One great disadvantage with bangle bracelets is that they are stiff. Bangles keep banging on everything including counters and desks. Some people complain about how the bangle is heavy and how it slips up and down the wrist. Bangles can be an obstacle to your daily activities and make some irritating noise.
Bracelets made using precious metals are very expensive especially if they are wide. The bangle is put at more risk of getting scratches and dents especially if you wear it every day. This will dent your wallet more if you are thinking about wearing a 14K gold bangle bracelet. Look at the Blue Nile’s sterling silver bangle bracelet below.
- Easy to slip on the wrist
- Elegant statement piece
- High prices in gold varieties
- Some sort of obstruction
2. Cuff Bracelets
Cuff bracelets resemble bangle bracelets, only that they do not cover the whole wrist. They rest on the wrist bone allowing a slight opening on the wrist.
In the past, only wide cuff bracelets were made. They carry a higher price tag if they are made of gold or sterling. For this reason, thinner cuff bracelets started to be made.
Most designers choose to make cuff bracelets using platinum, gold, stainless steel, and sterling silver. Originally, these bracelets were plain polished metals but as time went by they began to have vintage details and engravings. Thereafter, diamonds and gemstones were included in the designs. Check out this criss-cross cuff bracelet from James Allen.
When wearing a cuff bracelet, you need to stretch out your arm and spread out the fingers. Hold the bracelet on the other hand and slide it over the thumb side.
Do not attempt to pull the bracelet over the wrist directly, otherwise, you will spoil the bracelet material. Cuff bracelets that can be adjusted have become popular but they still need to be worn with care.
Some people stretch the bracelet and end up squeezing the metal to enclose it. In the process, the metal becomes weak and makes the gemstones or tiny diamonds loosen.
- To clasp to struggle with
- Statement piece
- Can be engraved
- Wide cuffs made of precious metals are expensive
3. Slider Bracelets
Slider bracelets have an enclosure that slides in the place of a lobster clasp or O-ring. It has a mechanism that allows you to slide along the chain and adjust it to a size that fits. Slider bracelets come in several kinds but the commonest is a bolo bracelet.
The bolo bracelet has a circular slider but can also come in a variety of shapes like a heart. The two sides of the chain can be stretched apart. The slider is used to tighten or loosen.
Both ends hang out of the slide like tiny tails. Some designs have tails that have diamonds or gemstones. The majority of slider bracelets are constructed using sterling silver or gold. You can find slider bracelets made of alternative metal, although it is not common.
Some good things come with buying slider bracelets, but there is also the negative part. For instance, if you want to buy a high-quality platinum or gold slider bracelet, you should be prepared to spend a lot, especially if it is solid metal.
The sliding technique alone demands more of the precious metal, contributing to the high price. A tennis bracelet is cheaper because the small enclosure uses less metal. Check out this alluring emerald and diamond bolo bracelet from Blue Nile.
- An excellent gift
- Charms can be removed
- Keep adding on
- A bit noisy
- Snags on fabric easily
4. Beaded Bracelets
Beaded bracelets are among the bracelets that were the earliest to be designed. Beading was part of an active activity for many cultures and ancient civilizations.
Beaded bracelets have materials that are made of rope, elastic, cording, leather, or any other material that can be threaded easily. These bracelets are usually handmade.
Most beaded bracelets in the market have a single thread while others have complex and intricate designs. They may be wide with beads to create a picture.
In the ancient days, beaded bracelets were made of shells and other types of natural materials. They were worn as ornaments and talismans.
These kinds of bracelets are not so common in fine jewelry shops, because most beads are cheap. The expensive ones are the complex and intricate pieces found on Etsy.
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Presently, beaded bracelets are sold as either gemstone bracelets or friendship bracelets. Gemstone bracelets are ideal for people who are practicing crystal healing or love to wear diffuser beads for essential oils.
The major drawback of beaded bracelets is that their strings are not durable. The rope can unravel, the string does not get wet and the elastic type loses elasticity. This is not the type of bracelet for convenience. Beaded bracelets also are destroyed easily depending on the kind of beads used.
- Common for crystal healing
- Cheaper than precious metals
- Tends to be uncomfortable
- String materials are not durable.
5. Pearl Bracelets
You will hear more of the pearl language in necklaces, but there are high-quality bracelets though at high prices.
Buying a pearl strand bracelet is a good way of cutting costs without sacrificing the beauty and quality of pearls.
Pearls are thought of as gemstones but they are minerals. A pearl comes about because of irritants getting inside the shell of certain mollusks. When trying to get the irritants out of the shell, the mollusk covers the irritant with layers of nacre or otherwise known as the mother of pearl. This is what gives the pearl its beautiful iridescent luster and sheen. These bracelets come in a variety of colors depending on the type of pearl.
The most expensive are round pearl bracelets. Much cheaper ones are baroque, cultured, and misshapen pearls. Color contributes to the price of pearls.
Pearl bracelets make a great accessory for religious occasions, holidays, or any other time that you need additional sophistication.
It is not easy to take off a pearl bracelet. If you do more manual, labor or do not have enough time for upkeep, do not buy pearl bracelets. The more you hit your hand on surfaces, the more the pearl is damaged.
When wearing pearls bracelets, you need to be cautious of the activities you engage in.
This pearl bracelet from Blue Nile has featured double strands with varying hues and a white gold clasp of floral filigree.
- Cultured and natural options available
- Several colors
- Great for classy functions
- Varying pearl grades
- Natural pearls are costly
6. Link bracelets
Link bracelets feature similar chains intertwined and hooked inside each other in a repetitive design. Most link bracelets are also chain bracelets, but we shall talk more about chain bracelets later. If you have seen what the links on a wristwatch look like, then you are familiar with link bracelets, they are similar. Men’s bracelets are made of stainless steel and feature wide rectangular links hooked together.
Although link chains technically form a chain, they are not categorized as chain bracelets. They are normally wide, heavy, and bulky. Link bracelets always come in different colors and may have diamonds in the channel or carbon fiber inlays.
If you buy a diamond stainless steel link bracelet, I will have you know that most jewelers do not replace the diamonds on steel because it is difficult and costly.
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On the negative side, link bracelets are heavy and bulky. If you are not used to wearing bracelets, you may not care about the weight. It is also easy for stainless steel to be scratched and restoring the shine will not be as easy as with sterling silver or gold.
If you want a timeless design, try this white gold link bracelet.
- Commonest bracelet style for men
- Variety of styles
- Can be adjusted
- Needs more cleaning
- Can pinch skin where the links interlock
7. Charm Bracelets
Charm bracelets have been in the market for a long period, they are among the first-ever bracelets to be made. It is popular among the young generation and is most times the first kind of jewelry a child owns. They are a big thing when it comes to sentimental value.
The initial charm bracelets featured a base chain style. The base chain varied depending on the type of charm you wear.
The common base chain bracelet style is a link base. The charms are sold separately unless you want a starter bracelet. You then buy charms on the side to attach to the links on the bracelet.
Charm bracelets carry an affordable price tag because most of them are made of sterling silver or stainless steel. If you are lucky to find an affordable gold charm bracelet, most probably it is a gold plate over another metal.
Charm bracelets usually have a cute charm that carries sentimental meaning. They come in a variety of sizes and themes. The charm can feature a dog paw for someone who loves dogs, a stethoscope for a medic, or anything else. The charm is considered personal to the wearer and may be bought for special occasions or holidays for the wearer.
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You may have to pay more attention to the kind of charm bracelet you want to buy since there are various types. Keep in mind that not every charm in the market are good for a bracelet.
The shopping spree can get a little confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for and how to attach the charm. Alex and Ani have charm bracelets that come in form of stackable bangles with each bangle having 1 or 2 charms. In this case, a hookable charm will not work. This means that you have to confirm the brand and style of the bracelet before buying a charm.
Bracelets that have several charms of varying designs are prone to damage. They attach to fabrics that result in pulling and weakening the metal. Charms that dangle also make a lot of noise when hitting against each other or hitting your arms on something. So, wear such a bracelet if you don’t mind that kind of disturbance.
Most charm bracelets are made of stainless steel and can be difficult and expensive to work on. Most jewelers do not like working on steel since it is very hard.
Look at the Italian yellow gold pearl charm bracelet below, it oozes class and sophistication.
- Keep adding charms
- Make great gifts
- Detachable charms
- Snags of fabric
8. Tennis Bracelets
If you want a classic and sophisticated bracelet, go for a tennis bracelet. In most cases, they are thought to be diamonds bracelets, but you can find them in any gemstone.
Tennis bracelets were born after the famous US Open championship match played by tennis player Chris Evert. Evert is known for her statement fashion styles. On the final day of the match, she wore an eternity diamond line bracelet. The clasp of the bracelet broke and flew off during the match. She stopped playing and declined to continue with the match until her bracelet was found.
Prior to that occurrence, tennis bracelets were known as eternity bracelets or diamond line bracelets.
Most tennis bracelets are costly because they have white gold or yellow gold setting. You can also find a few of them in sterling silver or rose gold settings.
Sterling silver tennis bracelets are commonly found at Zale’s or Kay’s. You will also find several gemstones including sapphire and treated fancy colored diamond bracelets.
One major drawback of a tennis bracelet is that it is very expensive. The high price is due to the small diamonds each held by a metal. Diamonds and metals are two expensive materials.
If you want a 1 ½-caratsterling silver diamond bracelet from Zale’s, you must have more than $1,200. All you will see on this bracelet is a small stone at the center of a collection of illusion plates. It does not seem worth the huge price. Right? Fortunately, there are simulated diamond and colored diamond bracelets for people with a limited budget.
Most tennis bracelets cannot be adjusted, meaning you must know the size of your wrist. Sometimes you may need to take the bracelet to a jeweler to reduce it to a smaller size. Some of the diamond or gemstone carat weight will be lost in the process of cutting the bracelet to a smaller size.
Look at this classy tennis bracelet from Blue Nile; it has diamonds set in four-prong gold rose.
- Great for classy occasions
- Shows gemstones or diamonds
- Variety of styles
- Cannot be adjusted
- Pricey for smaller diamonds
9. Chain Bracelets
Chain bracelets are the most popular kinds of link bracelets, but there are other subcategories. They are also the commonest bracelets bought by men.
The design of a chain bracelet is in such a way that the chain links are attached to each other in a loop pattern and designed into the clasp. There are links of different sizes. Most metal chains are yellow gold; you can see most of them in rapper music videos.
If you cannot afford a yellow gold chain bracelet, there are cheaper options in sterling silver and stainless steel. Gold chains carry price tags of $1000s depending on their style and weight.
The heaviest of them all is the curb chain, not the best option for people looking for a dainty bracelet. Cheaper bracelets are lightweight and have smaller links.
Gold plated chain bracelets are good but the gold layer will fade from different areas over time, making the jewelry look dingy.
Feminine chain bracelets have smaller links that look like cable chains. They are lightweight and dainty. Most of them are adjustable and the chain end has several large loops to adjust to a size that fits your wrist. Sometimes the chain may hang down one or two inches. You may find other bracelets that have charms or diamond stones on the tail.
On the other side, big and heavy chain bracelets are good harbors of dirt and oils. Dirt is trapped in the tiny spaces where the links are attached.
You may have to clean the bracelet every after use. If you opted for white gold, rhodium plating becomes necessary to maintain the silvery look.
Dainty chain bracelets are delicate. They hook on fabrics and break easily. If you want a gold bracelet, make sure you get a lifetime warranty that will take care of all the routine repairs needed.
- Adjustable links
- Staple jewelry item
- Most popular bracelet for men
- Women’s bracelets are fragile
- Pricey and heavy men’s bracelet
10. Wrap Bracelets
Initially, wrap bracelets were designer pieces made by Chan Luu, famous for bead and leather jewelry collection.
Wrap bracelets are embellished and go round the wrist several times. The number of wrap rounds and bracelet color depends on how the bracelet is designed. The commonest wrap bracelets are leather or rope styles.
Today, the most popular wrap bracelets are made using magnetic beads. Different beads magnetize themselves with no way to close.
If you love to pull a boho jewelry statement look, this is the bracelet for you. You cannot wear this piece with another bracelet since it already looks like multiple bracelets. Beaded bracelets contain many stones and can be a good option for people who practice crystal healing.
Wrap bracelets that have beads or gemstones are a good choice but the beads or stones can fall easily. In addition, you stand to lose the bracelet if you hit it on a surface. You may find yourself trying to put the pieces back together using glue.
In addition, you must avoid water as much as possible when wearing wrap bracelets.
This piece perfectly exudes boho vibe.
- Appears like several bracelets
- Statement jewelry
- Crystal healing option
- Not easy to clean
- Not waterproof