What Different Types of Bangles Are There?
The word bangle originates from the word ‘Bungri’, which in Hindi means ‘glass’. Bangles are traditionally worn by South Asian women in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh where they are treasured heirlooms and part of different wedding rituals. They also play an important role in Indian dance forms.
In the West, too, bangles have become staples in women and men’s jewellery collections but with more emphasis on their ornamental and aesthetic values than their symbolic value. They can be worn singularly, in pairs, or in threes, and some women even layer them heavily on both wrists and combine them with bracelets.
Unlike bracelets, bangles are rigid and of a circular shape. Their designs range from anything between bare and simple to intricately shaped and embellished pieces of jewellery. Before they incorporated precious metals and gemstones, they were made from glass and terracotta and embellished with stones, shell, copper, glass and other similar materials.
Bangle designs can be thought of in terms of their structure, the materials they are made of and their style. And while the structure and material of the bangle are important things to keep in mind, it is really their styles that make them unique and treasured by their wearers.
Solid cylinder bangles
The solid cylinder type bangle is probably the most recognised type, where the bangle is a continuous cylinder that slides over a person’s wrist.
Split/cylindrical spring bangles
Split bangles, also known as cylindrical spring bangles, allow for a snugger fit, thanks to their opening and closing feature.
Cuffs are a more modern take on the traditional cylindrical bangle and tend to be sturdier in structure and design.
Metals used in making bangles
In the UK, bangles are made primarily of metals, both precious and non-precious. The metals that are typically used are white, yellow and rose gold, platinum, and silver.
White, yellow and rose gold
Because bangles made out of pure gold would be too soft to maintain a rigid structure, the gold is alloyed with copper and other metals to alter the colour and strengthen the final piece, as in other jewellery.
Silver is a more affordable precious metal option and is often worn by younger people. Silver bangles will mostly be worn plain and heavily layered, and they were made iconic by 1980s teenagers who even wore them over long sleeves.
Like silver, platinum has cool undertones. However, it is a brighter precious metal, it is a and this is reflected in the higher price.
While the structures and metals used to design bangles are limited, the styles in which they can be designed in are infinite. These designs are what give each bangle its unique qualities and character. Here are just a few of the styles of bangles out there.
Embellished with precious gems
The bangles that were being created in the European Art Deco period were embellished, rich, and opulent designs. If you’re looking for a unique piece of antique jewellery, an antique Art Deco bangle is a great choice.
Similar to the design of the Cartier trinity ring, interlocked bangles are usually interlaced in sets of three and tend to be left plain, but the combination of metals and styles may vary, creating an interesting and eclectic look.
Plain bangles are a great understated piece of jewellery to complement an outfit and can serve a similar purpose to cufflinks – to give the overall look of an outfit an uplift and add sophistication.
Shop our full collection of antique bangles and bracelets here.