Bracelets and bangles. Fashion, history, and culture. What’s the difference? Bracelets and bangles are culturally different in their histories and significance and they originated from the same piece of jewelry, an arm cuff. The arm cuff, now called bracelet and bangle are true to their root word, brachile or brachium, meaning arm. The oldest recorded bracelet is an arm cuff. Egyptian bracelets are rooted in beauty and in Southeast Asia bangles are steeped in tradition. Men’s bracelets and men’s bangles are closely fashioned like the original cuff. They are bold with embellishments that make a strong statement.
Egyptians, 4000 years ago, dressed with arm cuffs, adorned with precious and semi-precious stones. Egyptians lived, died, and were buried in their jewelry. Egyptian men, women, and children, with the exception of slaves, wore arm cuffs. The number of arm cuffs worn at one time symbolized wealth. Some stones and gems used for the arm cuffs were naturally abundant in Egypt. In Southeast Asia, arm cuffs have a cultural meaning in every stage of life. Earlier bangles crafted in India were fashioned with metal, wood, glass, and plastic.
Four bracelets from the Tomb of King Djer. One of the earliest bracelets to appear and it wasn’t an arm cuff.
Bracelets and bangles by name, are used interchangeably. Bracelets for women today are in abundance and worn as fashion statements. Men’s bracelets, still make a strong statement, not as popular as bracelets for women. The differences in the bracelet and the bangle. Bracelets are composed of intertwined links that include stones, charms, or other ornaments that are linked on or dangling, Brace-lets are adjustable. They brace the arm and let it go,
The word bangle has an interesting etymology. Beat, flutter, and flap. Its what bangles do. Bangles are, traditionally, a stiff circle that slips over the hand with no closure or links. Today men’s bangles and women’s bangles can be found made of soft or cloth material and in varied shapes. The color, size, and sound of bangles are symbolic in Asian culture. Women’s status is declared by her bangles. Married women traditionally cover their arms in glass bangles. It is not socially correct to have bare arms. Pregnant women wear bangles for calm, and protection from evil spirits. Bangles made of gold or silver are preferred for toddlers.
Bracelets and bangles, old in tradition and trendy in fashion. They maintain the same defining character, style, and timelessness. Bangles are still circular bands that fit around a defined body part, traditionally with no closure. Bangles are are an enclosed arm cuff made of metal with precious and semi-precious stones. They define, adorn, permit, or restrict movement with or without closures. Bracelets being a link with representative stones, charms, or memorabilia. Bracelets have taken on many forms; couple bracelets, friendship, promise, and charm bracelets. Bracelets and bangles are still worn by men and women for fashion, fun, and symbolism. They remain different in history and purpose. The difference is in the closure, .