|Home » How to buy jewelry » How to buy a Bracelets|
|How to buy a Bracelets|
|By Ettagale Blauer|
What could be prettier than a
circle of diamonds shimmering on your wrist, catching the light as you move your
arm, or a slender curve of gold enhanced with rubies and sapphires, coiling
around your wrist, drawing attention to your hands and complementing your rings?
The bracelet is one of the most romantic and elegant pieces of jewelry. It sets
off your wardrobe and draws attention to details in your dress. It adds a flash
of color and brilliance that catches the eye in a never-ending display of metal
and stones. Sometimes half hidden by the cuff of a sleeve, the bracelet enchants
with its ever-changing glint of gems and metal.
There are different
types of bracelets as well as styles and materials. The term bracelet usually
refers to a flexible piece of jewelry, one that drapes softly around the wrist.
A well fitting bracelet should be loose enough to be comfortable and not put
pressure on your wrist yet snug enough so it does not slide too far down onto
bangle is a slender, rigid circlet that seems to float along the wrist as
the wearer moves her arm. Bangles are usually narrow and are often worn in pairs
or trios. Some women like to collect bangles and mass them together to form a
glimmering entity that creates its own music as they clink together. A bangle
may be an endless circle or it may be hinged to make it easier to put
A cuff is a wide, rigid bracelet that
may take the form of a circlet with a hinged opening, or it may embrace only
three quarters of the wrist, leaving an opening to allow it to be put on. If
you've chosen a wide cuff bracelet, there's a trick to getting it on your wrist.
Don't try to put it on from the top of your wrist. Instead, turn your arm 90
degrees so the thumb is facing up. Now place the open end of the bracelet on the
narrow part of your wrist and gently ease it on and around your wrist. To remove
the cuff, reverse the process.
Mesh bracelets and chain link bracelets as
well as free-form floral bracelets are among the many other types of
bracelet designs. They range in diameter from narrow to wide and may lie flat
against the wrist or have a circular design. They may be fashioned from a
flexible, circular mesh that terminates in decorated ends.
Sometimes a 'terminal' is a place
to catch a train but when we speak of a bracelet's terminals, we have in mind
the details that finish off the open ends of the piece. A bracelet with a
flexible shank may be open at the ends, allowing it to be slipped on and off
easily, yet still be secure on your wrist. The terminals are a principal design
element of the bracelet. In addition to the artistic working of the metal, they
may be set with colored gems, usually cabochons. These tips are so pretty, you
may want to wear the bracelet with the open end on the upper part of your wrist,
to show them off. The other choice is to turn the open ends to the inner part of
the wrist, and just let them flash a bit of color as you move your arm this way
and that. These terminals may overlap a bit, crossing over each other. Crossover
design bracelets sometimes continue all the way around your wrist to form
another coil, creating a double or triple bracelet look. The flexibility of the
mesh used to create the circlet makes it possible to slip the bracelet on and
Bracelet designers have devised a variety of ways
to open the bracelet to put it on and then close it securely around your wrist.
There may be a clasp or a spring ring; the bracelet may be hinged or have a
hidden device that allows you to put the bracelet on and take it off. Whatever
method the designer has chosen, the device should be unobtrusive and in harmony
with the bracelet. Most bangle bracelets have internal clasps, often a tongue
and groove device that is beautifully hidden from view. Flexible bracelets may
close with an over-lapping clasp that is integrated into the overall design of
the piece. A secure closure is important since bracelets are subject to more
wear and tear than any other piece of jewelry.
Choose To Suit Your Style
There's no need to restrict yourself to just one type of bracelet.
Different types are suitable for the many different occasions in your life where
you're wearing very different kinds of clothes. They cover a wonderful multitude
of styles and designs. Take a look at your wardrobe: what kinds of jacket or
dress sleeves do you usually wear? If the answer is slim and fitted, your
bracelet should be chosen with that proportion in mind.
Do you like
blouses with frilly cuffs? Consider a lacy bracelet, or perhaps an antique
bracelet from the Victorian era. Are your clothes more tailored? Then choose an
elegant bracelet in gold, or flush-set with diamonds. Color, of course, plays a
major role in choosing a bracelet. You can match up colored gemstones set in
collets and linked together with white or yellow gold.
A few basic rules
also apply in matching up bracelet and wearer. A very slender wrist and arm will
look best with a narrower bracelet, or an open-work design that gives a light
and airy appearance. An average wrist and arm can support most any style. A
wider wrist or heavier arm looks best with a bolder bracelet, one that has
enough substance to command attention and balance the size of the wearer's arm
There are some signature style bracelets that go well with
nearly any type of outfit and just about any woman's personal style. One such
wearable wonder is the tennis bracelet, worn memorably by tennis champion Chris
Evert, hence the name. This simple yet very elegant bracelet may feature a row
of circular diamonds set in prongs or a series of channel set baguette and round
diamonds. The tennis bracelet is one of those pieces of jewelry that some women
just wear all the time, like a wedding band. It can vary in importance according
to the size of the diamonds. For a casual, easy to wear, everyday kind of tennis
bracelet, choose small diamonds set in yellow gold. For a major statement, and
especially for evening, choose a platinum or white gold bracelet set with large
stones. The tennis bracelet is definitely a contemporary classic.
bracelets have been in and out of style through the decades. They were popular
with movie stars of the l950s as well as high school girls of that era but they
re-emerge periodically to capture our attention. The charm bracelet starts with
a classic link, as narrow or wide as the wearer chooses. These links will
support the charms as they are added to the bracelet. The charms dangle from the
links, spaced out to create a harmonious design. As charms are added, the spaces
grow smaller. Over the years, the wearer creates a personal piece of jewelry
that reflects the important occasions of her life. Multitudes of designs in the
shape of objects or symbols, often engraved with significant dates, spell out
the landmark moments of the wearer's life. Charms may be added to any link
bracelet. If this is your ultimate goal, choose one with links that are large
enough to support the charms and solid enough to balance the added weight and
volume of the charms.
Whether you choose
the classic bangle, a bold gold cuff, or a bracelet set with stones, the surface
treatment of the metal is an important part of the overall look. The gold may be
bright and shiny, polished to gleam and reflect like a mirror or it may have a
softer look with a subtle pattern or texture to the surface. This is achieved in
a variety of ways. Working with a texturing machine or by hand, the surface is
etched, brushed or cross-hatched until it takes on a rich and more detailed
look. One of the techniques is diamond-cutting, the use of a very sharp blade
that makes minute cuts in the surface. A simple rasp or file may be used to
texture the gold, producing a softer look. These details are an important part
of the style of a bracelet and will influence the way it contrasts or
coordinates with your clothes.
Gemstones enhance the design as well as
the appeal of a bracelet. Small diamonds may be pavé set along the surface of a
delicate bangle; they may be set in collets or bezels and then spaced along an
open-work lattice design, or they may be prong set and strung together along the
length of the bracelet to form a tennis bracelet.
Choose your bracelet in
the metal that best sets off your wardrobe and your lifestyle. The cool and
sophisticated look of 'white on white', diamonds set in white gold or platinum
is very appealing to some while the warmer look of yellow gold creates a quite
different feeling. The choice of diamond shapes, too, can change the feeling of
a bracelet. Baguettes, square cuts and larger rectangular cuts are very elegant;
round or brilliant cuts are warmer and have a bolder in the larger sizes. Your
personality and personal taste, your sense of style, can be expressed in your
choice of bracelets.
Because bracelets are subject to more wear and tear,
take time occasionally to look at the settings of the stones in your bracelets
to see that they are secure. As with all fine jewelry, remove your bracelets
when you're planning to do dishes or to wash your hands. Soap and cleansers
aren't friendly to jewelry; they dull the stones and the metal. And scraping up
against dishes or pots and pans certainly won't do the surface of the metal any
good. Take that extra minute to take off your bracelets, and your rings, and
you'll be rewarded with pretty, sparkling jewels (as well as clean dishes)!
Ettagale Blauer writes about fine jewelry for consumer magazines. Her
books on jewelry include Contemporary American Jewelry Design (Chapman and Hall)
and Wristwatches: Five Decades of Style and Design (Schiffer). Her latest book
is African Elegance, on the arts and crafts of sub-Saharan Africa