What is the Difference Between Bangles and Bracelets?
One of the most common questions that we’re asked about our jewelry is – what is the difference between bangles and bracelets? Although both words are commonly used to describe jewelry worn on the wrist, many people don’t know how each is actually defined and how best to find the type and style that’s best for them or the lady in their life.
The word bangle originated form the Hindi word “bangri” which translates to “ring shaped anklet”. Bangles can be traced far back in history. An ancient figurine of a dancing girl wearing bangles was discovered during an archaeological excavation, that dates back all the way to 2600 BC. The oldest bangles were usually made of materials such as: bronze, copper, and sea shells while modern bangles range from platinum, gold & silver right through to plastics, rubber and glass.
Bangles are also used as traditional pieces for women in South East Asia, most commonly found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan where they are most commonly Gold. In some parts of the world, a new bride will wear glass bangles at her wedding and the honeymoon will continue until the last bangle is broken. In Hinduism, it is quite uncommon to ever see a married woman not wearing bangles, while the Kara is one of the 5 articles of faith in Sikhism.
The basic difference between a bangle and a bracelet is that bangles are formed from one or two rigid pieces (as opposed to a bracelet which is a flexible set of links). Bangles come in 2 distinct designs:
1) Those that are a full circle which the hand is passed through and which hangs loosely on the wrist or which are hinged to allow them to be of a smaller diameter and a tighter fit while still appearing to be a full circle. These can be worn singley or stacked into groups depending on the style and weight of each bangle.
2) Those that are a partial ring, usually an oval C shape with an opening on the underside through which the wrist is squeezed to form a more tightly fitting cuff. These are extremely versatile as a design, being more flexible in terms of sizing and fit and a much better option for those with larger hands whom struggle to fit though the full circle style.
These C shaped bangles should be sized ONCE at purchase and closed sufficiently that the wrist can just pass through the underside gap. They should then be left at this optimum size. You should NEVER open and close a silver bangle repeatedly or excessively even once. Silver is a soft metal and extreme or repeated flexing will snap the silver and leave you with 2 halves of what was once a beautiful bangle.
The word bracelet traces back to the French word “brachialle” which roughly translates to armlet. While a bangle is a solid piece, bracelets are flexible and usually based around some sort of chain or strand that allows the piece to drape around the wrist before being closed with some form of clasp.
The history of the bracelet dates all the way back to 5000 BC in ancient Egypt where the“Scarab bracelet”, said to represent rebirth and regeneration has served as one of the most recognizable symbols of ancient Egypt.
Unlike bangles, bracelets are flexible in design. Most commonly they are a row of beads, links, threads or hinged pieces linked together in a single line with a clasp at each end which is wrapped around the wrist and then closed. The most common bracelets would be silver chains, however with the versatility of a chain as the base, almost anything is possible. Individually cast solid silver pieces can be linked by small pieces of chain. Chains can be decorated with a vast array of shapes. They can be threaded with beads or even in the case of liquid silver thousands of solid silver tubes can be threaded onto fine cotton strands and twisted together to form shimmering ropes. The options in bracelet design are almost endless. [source : corazonlatino.com]