The right bracelet can add class and sophistication to any ensemble, taking a smart look one step better. Although often worn as a fashionable accessory, bracelets can also express solidarity with a culture, group, or cause. Whether subtle or extravagant, formal or casual, this versatile piece of jewelry can reflect your personal style with flair.
One of the most popular jewelry gifts, bracelets are often given as tokens of friendship, affection, and support. A stylish bracelet makes a perfect present for a birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day, or another significant event. Some modern couples exchange bracelets as engagement or wedding gifts to one another.
Nothing sparkles like diamonds, and when they’re encircling your wrist they make a simple but unforgettable statement. Diamond bracelets can vary widely in carat weight and quality. Although it can be tempting to purchase the largest diamonds at the lowest price, we recommend focusing primarily on the quality of the stones. For optimum brilliance and beauty, choose a bracelet with diamonds that are graded no less than I in color and SI2 in clarity.
The most popular style is the diamond line bracelet, commonly known as a "tennis bracelet." The in-line diamond bracelet is so named for the 1987 incident in which women's tennis star Chris Evert stopped a game to collect the diamonds from her broken bracelet. This discreetly elegant accessory has been worn by tennis players – and their fans – ever since.
The tennis bracelet is a classic, simple setting, designed to emphasize the innate beauty of the diamonds. Other popular diamond bracelet styles include bezel settings and diamond bangles, both of which achieve a chic, contemporary look.
If you’re looking for a fresh alternative to traditional diamonds, other gemstones make a colorful and somewhat more casual impression. Ranging from simple to elaborate, gemstone bracelets can be entirely made up of one stone type, or may intersperse colors or cuts of different precious stones. Gems like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds make a stylish gift for a girl or young woman. Presenting a bracelet set with the precious stone representing her birth month is a thoughtful gesture. To learn more about the gemstones that represent each month, visit our Gemstones page.
A popular variation of the classic gemstone bracelet alternates diamonds with colored gemstones, creating a dramatic contrast between the brilliant fire of diamonds and the vivid colors of the gemstones.
Pearl bracelets are timeless accessories and are available in a variety of sizes and colors, ranging from pure white to golden, brown, bronze, pink, or lustrous black. Classic pearl bracelets can be made from wild pearls or from farm-cultured pearls, or even from synthetic sources, although these lack the brilliance of natural pearls.
All-metal bracelets can be the simplest of styles, or they can make a bold statement. An antique charm bracelet or an ornate metal band on the wrist can add interest to an everyday ensemble or add flair to a formal gown.
A simple chain bracelet will enhance almost any outfit with its elegant simplicity. There are a variety of different chain styles, varying in the size and shape of the links that compose them.
Some of the most common chain styles are:
Made from square links attached end-to-end for a smooth appearance.
Individual strands of metal are intertwined to form a braided effect
Oval and twisted links are entwined to create a textured look
Symmetrical links are joined together for a cohesive effect
Small balls of metal are joined by pieces of wire that insert into the next ball
Distinguished by a rope-like texture and sequential chain design
Links are connected in a durable, flexible chain that resists wear and tear
Links are held tightly together and form a thick, round, serpent-like chain
Bangle bracelets are meant to be slipped over the hand and onto the wrist. They are usually totally circular, though some styles are made in an incomplete circle that opens at the inner part of the wrist and can be slipped on sideways. A wide bangle bracelet can be worn alone to make a bold, dramatic statement, or you might opt to wear thin bangles of varying styles and colors to create an eclectic look. Multiple bangles add a fun, fluid accessory and create a soft chiming sound when worn together.
Bangle bracelets are traditional accessories in many parts of the world, including India and South America. With no flexible pieces and no clasp, they are the simplest bracelet style to make. Most bangle bracelets are made of precious metals or glass.
A metal chain decorated with small tokens or pendants, a charm bracelet makes a wonderful gift or keepsake, providing a traditional way to memorialize meaningful things and events.
The custom of charm bracelets may have begun in Ancient Egypt, but over the Middle Ages they became common across Europe as a symbol of faith and good fortune. Some bracelets and their charms are passed from generation to generation in a family, and are continually added to as their new wearers experience new milestones and accomplishments.
The charms can be made from gold, silver, bone, glass, diamonds, or other precious stones. Some charms can even be engraved with personal messages.
Metals Used for Bracelets
Most high-end bracelets are made from precious metals. Whether based on a simple silver chain or multi-hued strands of gold and platinum, the metal you choose can infuse an ensemble with warmth and elegance, adding a trendy touch or dressing up a casual outfit. If you’re shopping for a bracelet to give as a gift, pay attention to the color of the jewelry the recipient usually wears and look for something that will complement those pieces.
The warmth of yellow gold makes it a classic choice for any kind of jewelry. This metal is the most traditional setting for formal jewelry and is perennially fashionable. Many handmade Italian bracelets are crafted from 14K or 18K yellow gold.
For those who prefer jewelry with a cooler, modern coloring, white gold bracelets are an ideal choice. Although the metal exudes a more contemporary look, it can be used to create classic, timeless pieces such as diamond line bracelets. White gold bracelets offer a considerable cost savings over platinum and are more lightweight on the wrist.
Rose-colored gold is often created by design to satisfy those seeking a bracelet that combines the classic refinement of gold with a unique, trendy look.
A precious metal with the same reflective luster and coloring as white gold, platinum is a beautiful complement to a cool color palate and a higher-end alternative to silver. Extremely durable and impervious to tarnishing, platinum is a good choice for those with active lifestyles who plan to wear their pieces often.
Silver is commonly used for everyday jewelry pieces. It is ideal for large, bold pendants and wide bracelets. In its most fashionable incarnation, silver is used to create dramatic pieces where a touch of characteristic tarnish adds an antique look. High-quality silver bracelets are made from sterling silver, which contains 92.5% silver.