Types of Bracelets

Armlet

This is a bracelet that is designed to be worn on the upper arm.

File:Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.PNG

Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz with Armlet
by Jozef Maria Grassi in 1802.

Articulated

This is a bracelet made of many moveable segments, for example a snake-link or panel bracelet.

Bracelet

Italy, c. 1860-1880
Gold, hinged panels with applied wire and granulated decoration
Castellini
V&A Museum

Bangle

A bracelet made of a single piece with no segments or joins.

Bangle

Paris, c. 1925
Lacquered brass
V&A Museum

Buckle

The buckle can be functional or decorative.  Popular motif in Victorian era.

Victorian Buckle Braclet
Morning Glory Antiques

Chain

Bracelet

Cyprus, 18th century
Silver with enamel
V&A Museum

Charm

Charm bracelet

USA. c. 1800-1900
Gold, enamel, hardstone, glass and photographs.
V&A Museum

Cuff

A bangle that does not fully go around the arm.

Bracelet

India, c. 1850
Enamelled gold with diamonds.
V&A Museum

Hinged Bangle

Bangle

London, c. 1867
Gold and painted enamel with diamonds
V&A Museum

Jarretiere

This is a strap bracelet made from flat, broad links with a buckle fastener, mordant and occasionally a slide. First popular in the mid-1800s.

Bracelet

Line

Bracelet

New York, c. 1925
Platinum set with diamonds and sapphires
V&A Museum

Link (or Curb Chain)

Bracelet

England, c. 1835
Stamped gold
V&A Museum

Manchette

This style of bracelet was designed to look like cuff and were fashionable in Paris in the 1850s and 1860s before spreading to England.

Bracelet

England, c. 1860
Gold, with turquoise and pearl decoration
V&A Museum

Plaque

Bracelet

UK, c. 1780-1800
Copper gilt plaques with painted enamels
V&A Museum

Slide

A bracelet with a fastener resembling a buckle but does not have a fastening pin.

(Is also used to describe bracelets with Victorian or Victorian retrospective slides on two chains.)

AN ANTIQUE DIAMOND, ENAMEL AND GOLD BRACELET

ANTIQUE DIAMOND, ENAMEL AND GOLD BRACELET c. 1850
Christie’s Sale 2398

Strap

Flat articulated bracelet, usually with a buckle fastener.

Bracelet

England, c. 1820
Coloured gold, diamonds and rubies
V&A Museum

Tennis (type of line bracelet)

A bracelet with stones (often diamonds) in closely packed settings, creating a single line.

Bracelet

Paris, c. 1925
Platinum, diamonds
V&A Museum

Charm Bracelets

Humphrey Bogart gave Lauren Bacall a whistle charm, in honor of the famous lines that sparked their passion.

Charm bracelets can be defined as a bracelet with trinkets or ornaments hanging from it, although the design has taken different forms across time and culture. Charm bracelets are one of the most loved types of jewelry a woman can own.  Many women, if they don’t own one themselves, have a fond memory of looking for long happy hours at the charm bracelet of an older relative, perhaps their mother or grandmother.

The most common kind of charm bracelet is the simple belcher chain bracelet which charms can be attached to. A large padlock, shaped like a heart, is often the clasp.  The charms often come in the form of figurines and miniatures.  Often, the owner of the bracelet can add additional charms over time or the bracelet comes already complete. The chains can be made from silver, alloyed metal, gold or gold plate. The charms themselves can be simple or set with valuable gems.

A charm bracelet, by Cartier

A charm bracelet, by Cartier
Christie’s Sale 5892

A diamond charm bracelet

A diamond charm bracelet with late 19th century / early 20th century charms
Christie’s sale 4920

The charms can often be symbolic, as in the case of charms given by loved ones, perhaps to mark birthdays or anniversaries. This was a traditional way for the family to show their appreciation for the family matriarch and therefore charm bracelets can be full of meaning and memories and can act as historical records of someone’s life. Typical charms include whimsical items, horoscope signs, household items like scissors or irons, small cats or dogs, family keepsakes, symbols of money and birthstones.

A GROUP OF MULTI-GEM CHARM BRACELETS

Charm bracelets
Christie’s Sale 2542

Or they can be themed, for example in the case of this bracelet with USA State symbols.

A United States bracelet

United States themed charm bracelet.
Ellen Silverman

Charm bracelets were worn and loved by the Victorians.  Queen Victoria was the one who popularized them and changed charms from being something that were worn as amulets or for spells into being something worn for sentimental and decorative reasons. After Albert died, the fashion for ‘mourning charms’ became popular, with charms being made with a tiny portrait or with the deceased person’s hair.

A 19th century gold charm bracelet

A 19th century gold charm bracelet
Christie’s Sale 5647

A COLLECTION OF LATE 19TH/EARLY 20TH CENTURY GOLD AND GEM-SET CHARMS OF ROYAL INTEREST

A COLLECTION OF LATE 19TH/EARLY 20TH CENTURY GOLD AND GEM-SET CHARMS OF ROYAL INTEREST
Christie’s Sale 5388

AN ART DECO DIAMOND AND MULTI-GEM CHARM BRACELET

AN ART DECO DIAMOND AND MULTI-GEM CHARM BRACELET
Christie’s 2567

Charm bracelets again reached a height of popularity during and after the Second World War and charms became something that service men brought home to their sweethearts from all over the world.  With people longing for connection with each other, charms became a way to express feelings and preserve memories. They continued to be popular throughout the 1940s and by the 1950s, every girl had their own charm bracelet and all rites of passage in a woman’s life were marked with a new charm.

A CHARM BRACELET

This is your life charm bracelet 1953
Sale 2332

Elizabeth Taylor loved her charm bracelet.

Resources / further reading:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyld=4239306

http://jewelry.about.com/od/jewelrycomponents/a/charm_bracelet.htm

http://ezinearticles.com/?History-of-Charm-Bracelets&id=63932

Coral Jewelry in Artwork 1619 -1939

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Louis Édouard Rioult – Portrait Of A Lady Wearing Coral Jewellery

Antique, untreated coral is one of the most loved of materials in antique jewelry.  It is considered to be one of the ‘organic gemstones’ (the other two being amber and jet and pearls). Women who first own a piece of old coral jewelry soon become addicted to it and tend to become collectors.  There is something truly sumptuous and almost edible about antique, untreated coral.  It has long been worn as a talisman and later for its pure beauty; it was considered by the Victorians to promote good health and vitality, and you can really believe that it does once you experience wearing it.

One of the wonderful things about coral is that it tends to adapt over time to the woman who is wearing it and will subtly change color in a very organic way.  Many women have reported a feeling of ‘rightness’ about their particular piece of coral jewelry, as though the piece is actually part of them. Coral ranges from white, to ‘Angel Skin’, to ‘Salmon’, to ‘Oxblood’ and every nuance in between.

Since ancient Rome, coral has been considered to be protective for children and in the Georgian and Victorian era children were often given carved coral rattles. Children were also given coral earrings, bracelets and necklaces to wear. There are many works of art from Regency, Victorian and the early 20th century that show coral being worn by both women and children.  Looking at old works of art can be a truly wonderful way of understanding antique jewelry. I really got quite carried away finding these beautiful images on the Internet and had to make myself stop! (If I haven’t put the artists name it’s because I don’t know; if you do know please do send me a message or make a comment so I can add it).  I would like to share some of these truly lovely art works with coral jewelry here:
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Robert Lefevre.
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School of Andrea Appiani, Elisa Bonaparte
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Regency children, John Hoppner, 1796.  Girl on left is wearing a coral necklace.
Generally, girls only wore very simple jewelry until about ages 15 or 16.
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Young Regency woman in coral necklace
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 Lady in coral earrings, oil painting circa 1820, currently for sale here
Nicolaas Rubens Wearing a Coral Necklace, Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1619
Jane Elizabeth, Countess of Oxford, by John Hoppner 1797
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Portrait Miniature
Christies Sale 7817,
The Manolo March Collection From Son Galcerán, Mallorca
28 – 29 October 2009
London, King Street
Lady Maria Hamilton, Thomas Lawrence, 1802
Little boy with dog and coral necklace (it is unclear if dogs were sometimes given coral collars or if the child is giving the dog his own necklace) – Martin Drolling.
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Portrait of a German Princess, 1828, François-Joseph Kinson

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Nude with coral necklace, 1910, Auguste Macke, Sprengel Museum Hanover

Portrait of a Lady with a Coral Necklace, Charles Webster Hawthorne, 1872-1930
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‘Coral Earrings’ by Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939)