For 5,000 years or more, bangle bracelets have encircled female arms. They've been found in Vedic Hindu tradition, on Egyptian deities and in Mayan cultures. Once made primarily of metals and semi-precious stones, bangle bracelets are now fashioned from all kinds of materials, including wool, wood, silk, horn, silicone rubber, hemp, aluminum and even fossilized woolly mammoth tusks.
Here's a handful of beautiful bangles from some of today's bracelet designers:
Cuyo by Tamika Rivera
Brooklyn artist Tamika Rivera makes and sews each of her one-of-a-kind bangles from fabrics, colorful yarns and threads. As they're wrapped, she imbues them with good intentions (she's also a shamanic reiki healer). The bangle shown here is made of recycled cotton, silk, linen, and fabric ($190). Bracelets are available at http://www.beautifuldreamers.com and http://www.tamikarivera.com.
These bangles have a hip, modern twist. Designed and made in Italy from colored, allergy-free silicon, each bangle has a single, conflict-free tiny diamond (0.02 karat). They come in 19 saturated colors and sell for $98 each. They are carried at more than 5,000 stores worldwide and are available on Kitson's website, http://www.shopkitson.com.
Elizabeth Yarborough has transformed the bangle with her Yarbies — statement bangles wrapped in cashmere, wool, tweed, alpaca, silk and cotton blends. Her Yarbie Bangle Boutique online at http://www.yarbie.com is like a candy store filled with colorful large knit bangles ($95).
One of Michelle Obama's favorite jewelry designers, Monique Péan uses fossilized woolly mammoth tusk with hand-carved jet inlay, white and yellow diamonds, blue sapphires, gold cabochons and 18-karat recycled yellow gold in her scrimshaw-like bangle designs ($805 to $7,295). http://www.barneysnyc.com.
Christy Curcuru Bangles
These "flag" bangles are designed and handmade in Austin, Texas, by designer Christy Curcuru. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and crafted with uncommon materials, such as aluminum, plastic and hemp ($70). http://www.beklina.com.
Italian-born jewelry designer Carolina Bucci makes her Twister bangles from brightly colored thin silk and hundreds of tiny 18-karat gold-plated beads wrapped and swirled in circles. These bangles come in multi-colors or solid ($250). They are available at http://www.net-a-porter.com.