Bangles – everything you need to know

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What are bangles?

Bangles are a form of stiff bracelet that are composed of a diverse variety of materials, including glass, plastic, sea shells, wood, and metals. The most expensive bangles are created from precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum and are embellished with exquisite gemstones or diamonds. Contemporary bangles first emerged from Southern Asia, where they’ve been worn at weddings for over several thousand years.

A fashion item since antiquity

Bangles are widely recognised as one of the earliest forms of jewellery. Cultures from right throughout the world have been wearing them for countless centuries, with ancient artifacts uncovered throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

What does the word ‘bangle’ mean?

The word ‘bangle’ is derived from the word ‘bungri’, which is Hindi for ‘glass’. Such bangles are traditionally worn by Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women. The various colours of bangles denote unique qualities:

  • Red - energy
  • Blue - wisdom
  • Purple - independence
  • Orange - success
  • White - new beginnings
  • Silver - strength
  • Gold - fortune
  • Black - power
  • Yellow - happiness
  • Green - luck

For the wedding ceremony, Indian brides will often seek to wear a tight fighting bangle (just as a bride would do with an ordinary engagement ring), as smaller sized bangles are believed to bestow greater joy and prosperity upon the married couple.

How are bangles different from bracelets?

While bangles are indeed bracelets, the difference is that bangles are exclusively non-pliable in design.

What are the different types of bangles?

There are two major types of bangles: solid and split. The most traditional and common style, solid bangles slide over the wearer’s fingers to the wrist and offer the most durability. The split bangle features a hinge or spring with which the wearer can use to lock the bangle in place.

Bangles as luxury jewellery items

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph of this article, the most extravagant bangles now contain bands made from precious metals and decorated with sumptuous gemstones and diamonds. As a luxury item, such bangles are ideal presents for special occasions, such as a child’s graduation or birthday and their premium quality components make them especially long-lasting. It must be noted however, that while the materials with which they are made from are most certainly top tier, bangles are very delicate pieces of jewellery and special care must be taken to prevent unwanted damage to them.

Ensuring the correct size of bangle

If you have your eyes set on a solid bangle design and you’re looking to buy online, it’s essential that you take the time to read the seller’s returns policy, to make sure you can exchange it in the event that it doesn’t fit you. If you’re buying the bangle for a friend or loved one, it’s probably best to buy a split bangle, to help ensure that they don’t have difficulty getting it on.

To determine the size of the bangle you must buy, place your thumb down onto the centre of your palm and make a fist. Take a piece of a paper and wrap it around your close hand. Identify the point where both ends meet with a pen or pencil. The distance between these points is the diameter that your bangle needs to be.

Of course, if you wish to be certain that the bangle will fit you, instead choose to purchase directly from a jewellery store or other retailer.

When are bangles best worn?

A luxurious bangle design is perfect for almost every occasion, from corporate events and prominent outings, right through to more casual settings. Bangles help lend an element of class and sophistication to your outfit and can be worn as a standalone or stacked together to create a truly stunning look.

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