You don’t always need a bracelet, but there are times when only a bracelet can provide the perfect finishing touch. It’s easy for bracelets to get overlooked among other accessories. Our faces are our focal point and our hands are constantly reaching and moving, so they often receive the most embellishment with necklaces, earrings, and rings. Once we’ve chosen those three pieces of jewelry, accessorizing the wrist no longer seems as important. But bracelets are worth appreciating. They can turn an outfit from boring to glamorous. They can work alongside your rings to highlight your hands. They add another accent point between your fingers and eyes. The more you know about different styles of bracelets, the more creative you can be with your accessories. We’ve listed seven popular bracelet types and tips on how to wear them so you can feel confident choosing just the right type of bracelet for just the right moment.
1. Tennis bracelet
The oh-so-elegant and timeless tennis bracelet is a simple strand of small, individually set gemstones. The name for this bracelet became a household term the year tennis player Chris Evert dropped her diamond bracelet on the court and referred to it as her “tennis bracelet.” Diamonds are the most popular choice for a tennis bracelet, but multi-colored stones are another beautiful option. The bracelet either stretches over the hand or fastens with a clasp. The tennis bracelet adds the perfect touch of sparkle to any attire.
2. Bangle bracelet
A bangle is a large bracelet made of plastic or metal that slips over the hand and onto the wrist without being fastened. Bangles have a bohemian or retro look that’s made for fun mixing and matching. Usually, 2-3 bangles per wrist look great, depending on how wide the bangles are. Some bangles are wide and chunky while others are narrow and light. When worn together, bangles should look homogenous. Mixing colors and varying sizes is the way to go as long as the bracelets coordinate with each other. Matching color tones helps find the right combination.
3. Cuff bracelet
A cuff is a wide or thin bracelet that slips onto the wrist through an opening at the back of the bracelet. It’s tighter and does not slide up and down the arm like a bangle. Cuffs can be dainty or bold and work well as accents or statement pieces. Our Silver Edge Bracelet with Blue Topaz handcrafted in sterling silver makes a one-of-a-kind statement with white sapphire accent. This cuff bracelet looks great when paired with dainty earrings.
4. Chain bracelet
A chain bracelet is made up of interlocking links. It’s a simple but far-from-boring bracelet that can be worn as an accent or statement piece depending on the size of the chain links and the embellishments. Some have charms or pendants, some have chunky links, and some are dainty gold or silver chains. These bracelets look great layered.
5. Charm bracelet
A charm bracelet is a type of chain bracelet with small baubles or charms that hang from it. Some charm bracelets come pre-designed and are intended to be worn as is, but others come with a single charm so you can add your own charms that have special meaning to you.
The sculptural bracelet is our own refined charm bracelet, personalized by Q. We refer to each small charm as a sculpture because the designs are inspired by ancient artifacts and architecture and crafted by hand. Our Treasure Sculptural Bracelet comes in rhodium, gold, oxidized silver, or black and gold and has small elements from different ancient cultures used to symbolize strength and wisdom and to inspire perseverance.
A multi-strand bracelet has several strands of beads, gemstones, or chains clasped together. You don’t have to worry about which color or style bracelet to pair with another–with a multi-strand bracelet, the mixing and matching is done for you. These bracelets are usually statement pieces and look great on their own without other bracelets to crowd them. Our Spinel, Ruby, and Gold Multi-Strand Bracelet is made with tiny, sparkling spinel, ruby and pyrite gemstones with pops of handmade gold beads.
7. Bicep bracelet
A bicep bracelet, also called an armlet, is a cuff that slides up the arm and sits on the bicep. It’s the type of bracelet you picture decorating the arms of Cleopatra or even a Roman soldier, but this style has made a comeback and is no longer reserved for costume parties. Simple gold or silver armlets can look elegant and formal with evening wear or free-spirited and fun with summer attire. Make sure your biceps bracelet doesn’t compete with your necklace or another bracelet since it sits near both.
Types of bracelet materials
Each of the seven types of bracelets above can be made out of many different materials. Sometimes bracelets are classified by their materials.
This bracelet is made up of beads strung side-by-side all the way around it. The beads might be made of plastic or gemstones, wood or glass, or silver or gold. The beads could be large and round or small with individuality and unique shapes.
A gemstone bracelet can be any type of bracelet that contains semi-precious or precious stones. Any style bracelet can be a gemstone bracelet. The multi-strand bracelet or the blue topaz cuff pictured above are both examples. Our Blue Sapphire Cuff Bracelet is another. The large sapphire in the center represents wisdom and loyalty, making the bracelet a great gift to celebrate love or a September birthday.
Silver or gold bracelet
Simple silver and gold bracelets are great accents for any wardrobe. Bracelets are subject to more bumps and scrapes than earrings or necklaces, so they need to be durable, especially if you intend to wear yours regularly. Many silver and gold bracelets are made of alloys, so they're a combination of silver or gold mixed with other metals so they can last a lifetime. Sterling silver, for example, is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver and the rest is other metals like copper, zinc, or nickel. Our White Rhodium Treasure Bracelet and Gold Treasure Bracelet are great options.)
Rhodium is a shiny white and one of the best metals for sensitive skin. Rhodium bracelets are brighter than silver, so it may not be best to pair the two metals side-by-side. Rhodium is beautiful next to gemstone beads or tennis bracelets. If you’re new to rhodium, you can learn more about the benefits of rhodium-plated jewelry.
Types of bracelet fasteners
Slider:A bracelet with a slider allows you to adjust it to the perfect fit with a bead connecting the two ends of the bracelet that slides up and down to adjust the fit, similar to a bolo necklace.
Lobster claw: This is a common clasp (resembling a claw) that hooks onto a small loop at the other end of a bracelet chain to fasten it.
Hook:This type of fastener is curved like a hook and slides into a loop on the opposite end of a bracelet to hold it in place.
Toggle:A bracelet with a toggle fastener has a hoop on one end and a bar on the other. The bar slides into the hoop pointed vertically and turns horizontally to lock in place.
Spring:A spring clasp functions similarly to a lobster claw, but it’s small and round with a tiny lever that opens and closes the clasp.
No fastening: Bangles, cuffs, or some tennis bracelets don’t need a clasp and either slide or stretch over the hand and onto the wrist.
How should a bracelet fit?
A bracelet should be neither too tight nor too loose. If it slides around or pinches your skin, you’ll likely take it off and tuck it in your purse before you even return home for the day. Bracelets should rest comfortably on your wrist and allow one or two of your fingers to slip through easily. Bangles should flop but not fall off, and cuffs should move but not spin all the way around your wrist. Bracelets should be tight over the widest part of your hand when sliding them on so that when your hand is relaxed, they don’t fall to the ground.
To measure your wrist and find your bracelet size, all you need is a measuring tape and string. First, wrap the string around your wrist, right below the wrist bone, and mark the string where it meets the other end. Then, measure the string and add two centimeters to get your bracelet size. You can add another centimeter or two if you want a loose fit.
The average bracelet sizes are:
Small: 16-17 cm
Medium: 17-18 cm
Large: 18-19 cm
Bracelet styling tips
Styling bracelets is an art that anyone can excel at with a few quality bracelets and styling tips. Bracelets are fun to mix and match, but you’ll want to make sure the combination looks classy, not costumery. We have a few tips that might help, but, of course, they all come with exceptions.
Let your bracelet make a statement not a distraction. If you want your bracelet to stand out, keep the rest of your jewelry simple so it isn’t vying with your bracelet for attention. You want any piece of jewelry to catch the eye, but not so much that it distracts from you.
Mix and match bracelets of the same metals.Mixing metals is possible but tricky if you've never done it before, and it should look purposeful. Finding a bracelet made of multiple metals gives you more options to choose from and makes mixing metals a bit easier. We’ve had lots of practice mixing metals and have many metal jewelry options to choose from. Alternatively, mix your metal bracelets with beaded bracelets or fun bangles for a pop of color.
There is such a thing as too many bracelets. How many is too many depends on the width and bling of the bracelets. No more than 3 per wrist is a good rule of thumb. You may be able to get away with more if your bracelets are thin and simple.
Don’t let your sleeves interfere with your bracelets. If your sleeves are long and embellished or ruffly, just wear a simple bracelet to keep it from clashing. If your sleeves are too long to see a bracelet, then you don’t really need one. You can, however, wear bracelets over thin and fitted long sleeves.
Wearing solid colors is the perfect time to let your creativity run wild. Solid colors create a nice backdrop for big statements and interesting stacks of bracelets.
Simplify your bracelets with a sparkly outfit. If the theme of your outfit is sparkle, adding a little extra with a dainty bracelet will enhance your look, but a bold, big bracelet can create chaos.
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