Bracelets are the second most popular piece of jewelry (behind earrings). The versatility in styles, shapes, sizes, and colors means that you can find the perfect bracelet to complement any outfit. One current popular bracelet in the fashion world is the cuff bracelet. Cuff bracelets are defined as a rigid, thick bracelet that encircles the wrist like the cuff of a shirt. Generally they are round or oval in shape and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials.
Cuff bracelets have been a fashion statement since the earliest civilizations. The Mayan royalty, who considered jewelry an extremely important part of the royal wardrobe, used a cuff bracelet that was wide, solid, rigid, and had minimal detail or decoration.
The Mayans weren’t the only ancient people who put cuff bracelets on the kings. The Ancient Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and many African countries all had cuff bracelets as part of their royal adornment. Many Egyptian wall paintings show the Pharaohs with multicolored cuff bracelets.
In more modern times, cuff bracelets have been the constant companions of some of fashion’s leading icons. Coco Chanel is one of the most memorable examples. In all her travels, Chanel was inspired by the Byzantine artwork that she encountered. Her Maltese Cross Vendura cuffs were emblazoned with the symbol of the Knights of Malta, one of the Christian military orders that defended the Holy Land upon the completion of the First Crusade. Diana Vreeland, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar during the 1960’s was seldom without her matching cuffs, and today, Kate Lanphear, editor of Elle, works punky, chunky cuffs into her everyday ensemble.
The combination of fashion, strength, and femininity that is inspired by cuff bracelets has even been taken up by pop culture icons. The most famous are the cuffs of the Wonder Woman, who used them to deflect bullets.
Cuff bracelets can be worn in a variety of styles. On their own, they can create a clean and modern look. They can be matched to your sleeves (with ornate or embellished cuffs being reserved for your blouses with strong shoulders and your delicate cuffs paired with a simple sleeve). Choose the colors and materials that speak to you and your fashion sense.