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Bracelets and Anklets

It can be lots of fun to dress up your wrists and ankles with a bit — or a lot — of shine and shimmer. Bracelets are a versatile, easy-to-wear fashion accessory, while anklets add a subtle touch to an often-overlooked body part.

Knowing a bit about different types of bracelets and anklets can make it easier to navigate your options at the jewelry store. In both cases, you should weigh style against how they’ll feel on you.

Bracelet types

Bangle and cuff bracelets

Bangle bracelets are round, solid bracelets that slide over the hand, fit loosely on the wrist, and can vary in width. Bangles may be worn in stacks. They’re usually made of metal.

Cuff bracelets are wider and usually have a gap or clasp that fits over the wrist. Cuffs can be metal and you may also find them in leather.

Given the thickness and inflexibility of most bangle and cuff bracelets, they aren’t usually adapted for wearing as anklets.

Tennis bracelets

A classic accessory, tennis bracelets are equally right with dressy or casual clothes. The timeless, simple setting is designed to emphasize the natural beauty of its precious gemstones — usually diamonds — and metals, making it a serious investment piece.

Tennis bracelets are thin and flexible and comfortable to wear. Diamond versions can vary widely in carat weight and quality, but should be well made and have a secure clasp.

Charm bracelets

Typically a simple metal chain decorated with baubles or pendants. Charm bracelets are meaningful way to mark important things and events, such as the arrival of a new baby. These bracelets and their charms are perfect for passing down through generations, adding mementoes along the way. The charms themselves can be made from lots of different materials, from precious metals like gold and sterling silver to precious gems or glass.

Ankle bracelets can also be ornamented with charms, bells or jewels, but whether on the wrist or the ankle, having too many charms can make the piece uncomfortable or impractical to wear. Leave some spots open so there’s room to add new charms in years to come.

Gemstone and pearl bracelets

Gemstones make a colorful and somewhat more casual impression than diamonds. Bracelets can feature a single type of stone, a mixture of colors and cuts, or vividly colored gemstones interspersed with diamonds for a dramatic contrast. If you’re not sure which gem to pick, a popular option is to go with the stone associated with the wearer’s birth month, particularly if you’re giving a gift.

Pearl bracelets come in a variety of sizes and colors, including white, gold, brown, blue, pink or black. Pearls are more fragile than most gemstones.

You can also find ankle bracelets adorned with gems or pearls, but as with diamond tennis bracelets, you want to be sure you pick a style that fastens securely and won’t get caught on furniture, clothing or anything else.

Chain bracelets and anklets

Bracelets and anklets fashioned from simple chains are an understated way to add elegance to virtually any outfit for any occasion.

Common chain styles are:

Anchor chains:

Double links of unform size connect to create a heavy, sturdy appearance.

Bead chains:

Small metal balls are linked by bits of wire between the beads.

Box chains:

Square links interlock to present a boxy design. Very thin versions of box chains are popular, especially for displaying pendants.

Byzantine chains:

Layered links interlock in a complex pattern to create a rope-like design.

Cable chains:

A pattern of flat and upright oval links creates a simple design.

Curb or Cuban chains:

Links lie flat, and the chain can be thin or very wide. A popular chain style for men.

Figaro chains:

Two or three smaller links are interspersed with one longer, oval-shaped link in a pattern. Another popular look for men.

Heart chains:

Small heart-shaped links connect for a sweet and feminine chain design.

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