So many bracelets and only two wrists on which to wear them! Deciding between elegant tennis bracelets, sentimental charm bracelets and funky fashion bracelets can be a challenge. Fortunately, bracelets come in such a wide range of price points and are suited to so many different occasions you don’t have to settle on just one. You can splurge on a pearl bracelet to set off your formal wear and still stock up on plastic bangles to pair with a t-shirt on the weekend. A smaller chain bracelet can complement a smaller wrist that might be overwhelmed in an oversized cuff. Likewise, a larger wrist can balance the look of a chunky statement bracelet, while smaller pieces can look out of proportion.
Types of Bracelets
Wear your heart on your sleeve, or just beneath it, with a personalized charm bracelet that reflects your individual style. A charm bracelet consists of a basic chain link bracelet of silver, gold or other metals to which you add keepsake charms. Charms can symbolize important events in your life, like a graduation, new baby, anniversary etc. You can also purchase charm bracelets with some or all of the charms already fixed to the base, or an Italian charm bracelet featuring bead-like charms rather than dangling ones. A charm bracelet is the piece of jewellery gift that keeps on giving, as you can continue to add charms on future occasions like birthdays and holidays.
Rigid in form but flexible in style, bangles are a sleek and simple accessory that work for day or night. Designed to slip over the wrist without a clasp, these bracelets can be worn singly or stacked in multiples. From thin and delicate gold bangles to thick and chunky plastic bangles, and still others adorned with eye-catching diamond and gemstone accents, there are many colour and material options to suit your style. Some bangles are referred to as “incomplete” meaning they have a small gap that lets you slip your wrist through sideways and tighten the bangle for a more secure fit.
Originally called eternity or inline bracelets, this classic sparkler got its nickname when tennis pro Chris Evert stopped a 1987 US Open match to locate her fallen diamond bracelet. The tennis bracelet is typically a flexible, slim circle of continuous diamonds or other gemstones attached with a clasp. Elegant and simple, it is just as comfortable accenting formal wear as it is dressing up casual wear — or tennis whites. Though traditionally made with diamonds, gemstone, birthstone and cubic zirconia tennis bracelets are affordable and attractive options.
A chain bracelet is a classic accompaniment to any outfit, formal or casual. Some factors to consider when deciding on a chain bracelet include the type of metal and the size and shape of chain links. From strong-but-pricey platinum to gold to the more affordable sterling silver, or combinations of these and other metals, there is a range of materials to meet your tastes and budget. Common link styles include the intertwined strands of rope chains, the smooth solid square shapes of box chains, and the uniform round or oval links of cable chains. Worn alone or with charms attached, chain bracelets are a timeless accessory.
Gemstone and birthstone bracelets can bring some colour and sparkle to your wrist. Natural gemstones are minerals that have been cut and polished, including the rare, or “precious”, rubies, emeralds and sapphires and the more abundant “semi-precious” amethyst, garnet, topaz and quartz. Incorporating gemstones that are also birthstones can add a personal touch to a bracelet as a thoughtful gift. Choose a sapphire tennis bracelet for a September birthday or a garnet-accented bangle for a January baby. Combining multiple birthstones on one bracelet to commemorate all family members’ birth months is bound to impress on Mother’s Day.
Dress it up or dress it down, silver goes with everything. Whether you’re pairing a hammered silver cuff with a black turtleneck for a sleek professional look or combining a dangly silver charm bracelet with a t-shirt and jeans for lunch with friends, there are so many ways to show off this precious metal. Pure and sterling are the two highest grades of silver; for sterling, look for the indicator “925” to verify the silver purity of 92.5%. A soft metal by nature, silver is often combined with other metals to increase strength and prevent tarnishing.
Classic gold jewellery is always a safe fashion investment, and gold bracelets are no exception. As with all gold, the fewer karats it contains, the more affordable it tends to be. Karats measure the quantity of gold in your gold bracelet and can range anywhere from nine to 24 (24 being pure gold). You can also find bracelets that combine silver with gold accents to create an attractive contrast in colours, as well as a lower price. Gold plating, which combines a small amount of real gold with other metals, is another inexpensive way to achieve that glimmering gold effect.
From the office to the red carpet, diamond bracelets add glitz and glamour to any occasion. A sophisticated and versatile diamond tennis bracelet transitions well from day to night while a blingy bangle (or two, or three) catches the eye when paired with a sleeveless dress. When choosing a diamond bracelet, remember to consider the “4Cs”: cut, colour, clarity and carat. Balance these four factors within your budget to help narrow your selection.
Timeless and traditional, a pearl bracelet adds a dressy touch to any outfit, either on its own or paired with a matching pearl necklace and earrings. But don’t let their posh pedigree fool you; pearl bracelets look just as great with jeans as they do with a cocktail dress. Colourful pink, grey and black pearls complement the traditional hues of ivory and white, and various sizes and shapes are available. While quality pearls shine with their symmetrical size, high lustre and even colouring, faux and freshwater pearls create a fun look and an affordable entry point.
Fashion bracelets let you express your personal style, keep up with current accessory trends, and add a creative pop to your outfits. Usually made of less expensive materials than gold, pearl or diamond bracelets, fashion bracelets let you make a statement without the major investment. More affordable metals such as brass, nickel and copper as well as the less-traditional leather, plastic and beaded bracelets are all fair game when it comes to this type of jewellery. Bold colours, interesting shapes, and unique accents will help your fashion bracelet to stand out or merge with the latest clothing trends.
To achieve the dazzle of a diamond at a fraction of the cost, go for a cubic zirconia (cz) bracelet. These highly reflective man-made stones are formed from zirconium oxide and actually more brilliant than diamonds. They also come in a wider variety of colours and shapes. Set in a row, they make for an impressive yet affordable tennis bracelet while single or clustered cubic zirconias make alluring charms. Because of their brilliance, pairing cz stones with reflective metals like sterling silver, platinum or yellow gold will maximize their glitzy properties.
A stainless steel bracelet offers metallic sheen at a lower cost than precious metals, making it a good choice for casual wear. Stainless steel is more durable than softer metals and won’t tarnish with exposure to moisture. You won’t have to worry about this type of bracelet becoming easily damaged with everyday use. People with allergies or sensitivities to metals tend to do well with stainless steel because, unlike sterling silver or white gold, it does not contain potentially irritating metals such as nickel. Stainless steel bracelets can be composed entirely of stainless steel or feature stainless steel beads, links or clasps.
Fashion forward cuff bracelets resemble a thick bangle for an edgy modern look. These bracelets are commonly made of metal, leather or plastic and can feature a wide variety of stylish accents, from metal studs to rhinestones. Like an incomplete bangle, cuff bracelets usually have a gap on one side so you can slide it onto your wrist, though leather bracelets may feature snap closures. Smaller cuff bracelets can be worn alone or with other bangles, while thicker cuffs are a statement piece on their own.
• Accent a small wrist with a narrow bracelet; a larger wrist with a wide bracelet
• Choose a style of clasp that you can open and close easily
• Measure your wrist to be sure the bracelet you choose will fit
• Pearl and gemstone bracelets are good choices for special/formal occasions
• For active wear, select a smooth bangle that won’t catch
• Consider your wardrobe when choosing materials and colours to get the most use out of your bracelet
Bracelet Bands +
The band of your bracelet can be composed of anything from precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver, to semi-precious metals and even stainless steel. All of these options provide an eye-catching metallic gleam and make a good base for additional embellishments such as charms and gemstones. Non-metallic bands made of leather, plastic ribbon or wood can lower the cost of your bracelet and allow for stylistic variety. Some bands, like bangles, are rigid and stack nicely while others may drape or stretch around the wrist for a comfortable, flexible fit.
Bracelet Clasps +
The clasp on your bracelet keeps your jewellery securely on your wrist where it belongs. The type of clasp will affect how easily you can attach and remove your bracelet and also have an impact on the overall appearance. Some of the more popular options include the lobster clasp, which features a retractable hook that easily attaches to a small loop on the opposite side and the hidden clasp which is concealed so as not to disrupt the flow of the bracelet. Box clasps, safety clasps and toggle clasps are also widely used.
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