Bangle Buying Guide

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Bangle Buying Guide

Bangles are the oldest form of jewellery. They are still worn avidly in Indian and South Asian cultures, where they symbolise prosperity. In other cultures, the significance of bangles is limited to their role as fashion accessory. In the West, bangles can be worn with different types of clothing and other jewellery. A single, sterling silver bangle can be worn to a formal occasion, while several bangles adorned with semi-precious stones and glass beads can add real flare to a casual outfit.

The circular simplicity of the bangle make it the one piece of jewellery that can be worn with almost every other piece of jewellery, including necklaces and earrings. eBay has thousands of listings for bangles in popular styles, and made from materials that range from 18-karat gold to wood or plastics. There is a bangle to suit any budget and any style. Some of the bangles offered on eBay may not be available at regular jewellery, antique, or department stores.

eBay's selection of bangles include unique patterns, and intricate one-of-a-kind designs. When shopping for bangles on eBay, it is important to consider several important factors before committing to a purchase. The buyer should be able differentiate between the different styles and types of bangles. The buyer should also consider the different materials used in making the bangles, the quality of the craftsmanship and the cut of the stone, if any, as well as the cost and how to size bangles correctly.

What Is a Bangle?

A bangle is ring-shaped item that is worn on a wearer's wrist. The word 'bangle' is derived from the Hindi word 'bungri', which means 'glass'. The bangle is considered one of the oldest forms of jewellery, dating back to 6th-century Egypt. Some of the earliest bangles were made from copper, seashells, or agate.

Bangles and Symbolism

Bangle jewellery is an important part of South Asian and Indian cultures, with the bangle coming to symbolise social and economic status. Women wear one or more bangles on each arm during their marriage ceremonies. The women of South Asia wear both glass and gold bangles. Small glass bangles symbolise a happy marriage, while gold bangles symbolise prosperity and fortune in marriage.

In many cultures the colour of the glass bangle symbolises certain positive attributes that the wearer desires in life. For instance, if the wearer desires happiness and wisdom, then yellow and blue glass bangles are worn on the arm. If the wearer longs for power and strength, then black and silver bangles are worn. Other colours that are also symbolic include green for luck, red for love, orange for success, and purple for independence. The circularity and rigidity of the bangle itself, symbolises continuity, unity, and eternity as the circle can never be broken. Bangle designs of today have their origins in this symbolism.

The Various Types of Bangles

There are three main types of bangles: the solid, circular bangle, the circular, expanding bangle, and the circular bangle that opens and closes with a spring or hinge.

The Solid Bangle

The solid, circular bangle is the most traditional style of bangle. It is also very popular with buyers. The solid, circular bangle slips over the hand. The wearer compresses their thumb close towards the hand and eases the bangle over the hand and wrist.

The Expanding Bangle

Some circular bangles are not completely solid, but reveal a small opening in which the two parts of the bangle can be pushed together, then slipped over the hand, and then expanded as the bangle is moved up the arm.

The Spring, or Hinge Bangle

In comparison, the circular, spring or hinge bangle is placed on the arm by opening a spring or hinge. The wearer then places the bangle on the arm. They then close the spring or hinge to secure the bangle. The three styles of bangles are made from many different materials such as glass, metal, and plastic. They also come in different sizes and thicknesses, and can be worn as a single bangle or with other bangles.

The following table compares the differences between the three types of  of bangles. They are compared according to their features and how easy it is to get the bangle on and off.

Bangle Type

Features

Ease of Use

Solid Bangle

Solid circular ring

Can be difficult to wear; bangle has to be the correct size

Expanding Bangle

Small opening allows for the compression and expansion of bangle

Size can be adjusted

Spring or Hinge Bangle

Opens and closes with spring or hinge

Easy to get on and off

The table above briefly illustrates the different types of bangles and their basic features. The buyer should remember that if the bangle is incorrectly sized, the bangle won't not fit properly regardless of the type of bangle. Sizing should be a primary consideration.

Determining Bangle Size

Before purchasing a bangle, the buyer should determine the appropriate bangle size. A bangle that is too small is difficult to get on and off. Bangles that are too large may slip off the wearer's arm and possibly get damaged or lost. Standard bangle sizes range from 6 cm to 8 cm in diameter.

When determining bangle size, the buyer should measure the width of the hand rather than the wrist, because the bangle should be able to slide over the hand first with the thumb squeezed tightly against the palm, and then the wrist. For an accurate measurement, the buyer should take a thin strip of paper and wrap it around the hand, including the thumb. The buyer should then mark the place where the two ends of the strip overlap. They should then take the strip of paper and cut across the area of the mark. Taking both ends of the strip, the buyer should tape the ends together and measure the paper bangle from one edge to the other. This determines the bangle's diameter. If the paper bangle's diameter measures 7.5 cm, then the buyer will need to purchase bangle with an internal diameter of 7.5 cm.

Bangle Styles and Materials

Glass and gold bangles are very popular and are worn for tradition's sake and as modern accessories. Bangles are crafted using materials and stones that include diamonds, silver, jade, pearls, emeralds, platinum, copper, bronze, steel, brass, wood, rubber, plastic, and lac. The bangle can be simple without adornment or encrusted with a variety of cut precious and semi-precious stones. Some bangles display detailed carvings and etchings, while others are hand-painted. These accents enhance the unique appeal of some piece. There is also the sounds that bangles make. Bangles, when worn with other bangles such as gold or silver bangles, produce a jangling sound.

More modern bangle designs use vibrant colours and contemporary shapes. For example, there are square bangles with rounded edges. There are also over-sized bangles made using resin, plastic, or acrylic materials. These modern bangles can also be paired with more traditional styles of bangles.

When it comes to styles, shoppers can choose from antique-style bangles, traditional bangles like kadas, copper bangles that apparently have healing properties, and charm bangles.

Kadas

Kadas are a traditional style of bangle from South Asia and are meant to be quite showy. They come in traditional and contemporary designs but regardless of the design the kadas bangles exhibit complex handmade patterns that incorporate pearls, diamonds, and emeralds. The kadas bangle has a spring or hinge for opening and closing. The most sought-after kadas are the antique variety. One can find them in shops that deal in antique jewellery, but a better selection of kadas bangles is to be found online.

Western-Style Bangles

Traditional Western-style bangles are normally found in pairs or coordinated with other types of jewellery, such as necklaces, earrings, and rings. They usually include popular gemstones such as diamonds, rubies,  and emeralds, and chosen to complement the wearer's wardrobe and fashion style. They are crafted using gold or silver of different purities. The gold itself can also come in different colours. There is yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.

Charm Bangles

Traditional gold and silver bangles can accessorised with charms that attach and hang from the bangle. The charms are of symbolic importance to the wearer, signifying special occasions such as weddings, and births. They also indicate areas of interest and concern to the wearer, such as animals, pets, occupations, or personal interests.

Copper Bangles

Copper bangles are purported to have magnetic properties that relieve joint maladies such as arthritis, rheumatism, and tendinitis. The copper bangle contacts the wrist, bringing balance to the body's energy, thus relieving joint pain and stiffness. Copper bangles can be worn constantly without suffering the irritation caused by the presence of nickel.

Finding Bangles on eBay

eBay offers the buyer a wide variety of different types of bangles, styles as well as brands, such as Michael Kors to choose from. The site offers listings for unique antique bangles that may not be found at regular jewellery or antique stores.

To shop for bangles on eBay, the buyer simply goes to the eBay homepage and types in the basic search query 'bangles' into the search bar. This action directs the buyer to a page of listings with descriptions of bangles posted for sale. Based on such a generic search query, the local search engine returns thousands of listings for bangles. The buyer can choose to be more specific with their search query, for example 'sterling silver bangle', or they can choose to sort the listings by selecting several search filters on the results page. A buyer can sort results based on the metal, the gemstone, the colour of the stone, alternative materials like leather, and specifying the brand, as well as whether the length of the bangle is adjustable or not. 

Conclusion

Bangles can be coordinated with different types of clothing, and jewellery, mixing and matching colours, designs, patterns, gemstones, and precious metals for a vibrant, eye-catching effect.

When purchasing a specific type of bangle, the buyer should first determine the appropriate size by measuring the intended wearer for the bangle at home. This can be done by using a slip of paper to form a paper bangle. Bangles and either be solid hoops, adjustable, or open and close using a hinged mechanism. Personal style preferences determine the choice of design. The buyer should consider the various types of metal, such as gold or silver, as well as gemstones such as diamonds or rubies. Bangles often come with patterns etched into the band. If the buyer is purchasing the bangle for someone else, and they don't know them very well, they should avoid showy kabas bangles and rather go for an understand sterling silver bangle with either a muted pattern or a single stone as decoration.

Bangles are a timeless fashion accessory. They can serve as an accessory that merely accents an outfit or draws attention to itself. Regardless of the intended look the buyer is going for, they will find a plethora of bangles to choose from on eBay.

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