7 Popular Bracelet Types to Add to Your Collection

Beaded Bangles

Bracelets are a versatile accessory that can dress up an outfit or make a statement. The jewelry is available in a wide range of materials and designs. Discover popular bracelet styles and find out where to buy them.

History of Bracelets

Bracelets were one of the earliest forms of jewelry and were prevalent in places such as ancient Greece, Rome and China. Early bracelets were made of materials like wood, bone, stone, plants, leather, bronze, copper and gold. The jewelry served as adornment as well as a symbol of a religious devotion or military rank. Some of these bracelets combined materials, like the early Chinese gold and jade bracelets. The early Romans were known for their coiled bracelets and cuffs made in animal themes.

Today, jewelry shoppers can find bracelets made out of a variety of materials and designs for adornment or to make a statement. Vintage style designs, as well as sleek modern ones, are available.

Popular Bracelet Styles

Learning about popular bracelets can help you decide which style fits your personality. Consider the following styles as you shop.

Message Bands

Silicone rubber wristbands became a hot fad around 2002. Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" wristbands were among the popular items of this time period. The fad generated all sorts of message bands meant to spark awareness of different causes and philosophies. For example, people wore pink bands for breast cancer awareness and red bands for AIDs awareness. For a time, it was common to see someone wearing multiple bands in a rainbow of colors. The rubber message band fad has faded a bit in popularity and was replaced by a trend toward metal message bracelets.

Message bracelets are a great option for people who love to champion causes. You can purchase customized rubber message bracelets at Wristbands with a Message to feature the message of your choice. The "Live Strong" rubber wristband is available at the Livestrong Store. Breast cancer awareness brands in both rubber and metal are sold at the Pink Ribbon Shop.

Friendship Wristbands and Silly Bands

Children and teens often exchange wristbands as a sign of friendship. Traditional friendship wristbands are usually made from braided embroidery thread by one party and given as a token of friendship to another. Rubber wristbands in the shape of animals, objects and cartoon characters, called Silly Bands, have emerged in recent years. Friends often exchange bands and collect them. It is common to wear a friendship wristband until it either wears out or falls off.

Learn to make traditional embroidered friendship wristbands at the Friendship-Bracelet site.

Leather Wristbands

Leather wristbands come in a variety of styles for both men and women. Straight leather bands in both wide and narrow widths with plain or intricate designs are available. The leather may be hammered with an intricate design, embellished with studs, or feature the wearer's name. Some of the most elaborate leather bands are made from thin strips of leather or suede that have been braided or knotted macrame-style into fascinating works of art.

A large selection of leather wristbands, ranging from tailored twisted leather to ornate beaded leather bands, are available at Lucky Dog Leather. Traditional handmade leather bands with simple patterns or names are sold at Old School Leather.


Bangles have enjoyed continuous popularity throughout jewelry history. Bangles often come in coordinating collections. The jewelry designs include thin, chunky or mixed wrist cuff collections. You'll find bright, 80s-style plastic jewelry as well as more elegant and understated wood and metal bangles. Some styles come fixed with a connecting band, while others are left to float freely around the wrist and lower arms.

This type of jewelry is sold in many locations. Sunshine Jewelry sells basic metal bangles at a reasonable price.

I.D. Bracelets

I.D. bracelets featuring a name, like the popular Speidel "Idents" from the 70s and early 80s, are still seen in the jewelry world. You can purchase the jewelry already engraved, or get a custom engraving. Identification wristbands are still popular today as name jewelry and as medical alert bands to identify the wearer's medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Road ID sells I.D. and medical alert bands in many modern styles. Eve's Addiction offers trendy engravable ID bands.

Charm Bracelets

Italian charms and traditional charm bands offer many style options. Italian charms are rectangular charms that snap onto a set of expandable links to create custom wristbands.Traditional charm bands employ a chain link wristband that holds individual charms that hook on to the links. People can select charms that have personal meaning, such as marking a special occasion or a favorite hobby.

You can find many traditional gold and silver charm options at Charms to Treasure. The Italian Charms site offers many artistic charms.

Diamond Tennis Bracelet

Tennis Bracelets

When tennis great Chris Evert wore a diamond wristband during a match, it soon became known as a "tennis bracelet." The signature feature of this style is a set of in-line gem stones set in a precious metal. The bands are thin and elegant and have the unique ability to look great with an evening gown or a pair of jeans.

Find classic diamond tennis bracelet selections at Blue Nile and Ross-Simons.

Measuring for the Best Fit

Many bracelets are adjustable and will accommodate most wrist sizes. However, some styles require you to measure your wrist in order to get the best fit.

Use a flexible measuring tape to measure the distance around your wrist just above your wrist bone. Add one half of an inch to the total. The resulting number will give you the necessary measurement for a comfortable wristband fit.

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7 Popular Bracelet Types to Add to Your Collection