Bangle Vs. Bracelet | Similarities, and Differences Between the Two

Women have generally worn jewelry pieces on their arms and wrist for centuries. The elegant jewelry pieces come in various materials, colors, and accent gems.

Some people refer to decorative items as bracelets, while others term them as bangles. However,  you cannot use the two terms interchangeably.

For instance, while the bangle is made of metal, you can make a bracelet from any material and close it with a clasp.

So, what is the difference between bangles and a diamond bracelet? Are both of them ideal for everyday wear, and what is the origin of each? In this piece, we’ll have a detailed comparison of the two to help you tell them apart and choose the most appropriate.

What Is a Bangle?

A bangle is a jewelry item with metal construction. It is a rigid and ring-shaped jewelry piece. The traditional bangle features a closed circular design, and it doesn’t have a clasp closure. You can wear bracelets and bangles on a woman’s wrist, as well as on her upper arm and even her lower leg.

Bangles originate from bangri, a Hindu word that means a ring-shaped anklet. Bangles have been found throughout history and worn by women of various cultures for special occasions. The bangles date back to 2600 BC, and they have been worn in cultural dance ceremonies, weddings and were also given as gifts of protection for babies.

Instead of wearing an individual item, bangles were worn in stacked combinations. In those days, bangles were made from various materials, including shells, bronze, and copper. Today, you can get bangles with gold, silver, and platinum material construction. Besides the precious metals, you can have other cheaper materials, including plastic, glass, and rubber.

Bangles are used as traditional jewelry pieces for women in South East Asia. You can find them in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. In other countries, you have bangles made from solid gold.

What Is a Bracelet? 

The word bracelet comes from the French word brachialle, translating to armlet. While bangles are solid pieces of jewelry, bracelets are more flexible and based around a strand or a chain wrapped around the wrist, and you close it using a clasp.

Bracelets can be traced back to ancient Egypt in 5000BS. The Scarab bracelet is one of the most recognized symbols of Ancient Egypt, and it represents regeneration or rebirth. Unlike bangles, bracelets have a more flexible design.

Traditional bracelets feature threads, links, or rows of beads linked together using a clasp at each end.

Bracelets are mostly made from silver chains. However, you can also make them from platinum, gold, and other materials. The options for making bracelet designs are endless. The earliest versions of bracelets have blades of grass, thin tree limbs, and shells. Later, artisans used precious metals to make decorative bracelet pieces to represent one’s wealth.

Why Is it Called a Bangle Bracelet?

The meaning of a bangle is an ornamental bracelet clasped on or slipped on the anklet. Today, you’ll find various bangle bracelets worn by women on various occasions. As the bangle bracelets become more fashionable, it’s not unlikely to find the styles of the ornaments change with one’s attire.

Are Bangle Bracelets Supposed to be Loose?

To ensure that the ornament helps to accentuate your overall look, you should get it in the correct size. The tightness of the bracelet will mostly depend on the type of material.

So, how should the ornament fit?

A perfect bracelet size should go with your wrist size. It should allow you to slip in two fingers between the bracelet and your hand. If the wristband is too tight, it will make your wrist seem bigger. On the other hand, it will keep moving if it is too loose, hindering your work. It can even slip from your wrist, making you lose it. A loose bracelet can also be dangerous as it can get stuck on a moving machine and cause an accident.

a woman wearing gold bangles on her wrist

On What Occasion Should You Wear a Bracelet?

Should you wear a bracelet anywhere? Not really. Your choice of the bracelet should complement your overall outfit. If it is too bold, it may be an unnecessary expense.

Although bracelets are jewelery pieces every woman should own, there is a fine line between being stylish and looking unreasonable. For instance, it may not be the best idea to have a chunky piece of jewelry in an office set up. Besides making you look out of place, the bracelet can distract the other people in the office.

Before putting on a bracelet, just think of where you are going, and it will guide you to decide. So, does that mean you cannot wear a bracelet to the office? You can wear a bracelet to the office, but you need to be careful when choosing one. It will be best to opt for the elegant ones that will complement your dress suit.

What Is a Bangle Style Bracelet?

As mentioned earlier, a bangle is ring-shaped, rigid, circular, and features metal construction. On the other hand, a bracelet is more flexible, and you can make one using any material. Unlike a circular bangle that you wear by slipping in your hand, you wear a bracelet and then close it using a clasp. The bracelet is more independent, and you can wear it alone, especially an elegant one.

A bangle-style bracelet has more features related to a bangle, and you can wear it by slipping it on. Additionally, it can have precious metal construction.

Difference Between Bracelets and Bangles

Bangles and bracelets are excellent choices for several people. You can wear them to complete your look and enhance your style. Before you can wear a bracelet or a bangle, it will be best to consider where you are going. If it is an office setup, you should keep the bracelet simple and elegant so that it doesn’t distract others.

How do the two ornaments differ?

If you have large hands but with small wrists, it will be best to avoid bangles with a full circle style that will be a challenge to fit. Additionally, if you spend a lot of time in front of a laptop or a PC, it will be best to avoid circular bangles.

C-shape bangles are the most versatile and ideal for various sizes and shapes of wrists. If you would like a less noticeable jewelry piece, it’ll be best to go for a bracelet as it has a softer feel. Many bracelets also come with adjustable clasps, enabling them to fit various people irrespective of the size of the wrist.

If you are looking for a matching set, bracelets are the better option (see friend bracelets for 3) Most bracelets are chain-based and will be a perfect match with a necklace.

The main difference between a bangle and a bracelet is their shape and how you use them.

As mentioned earlier, a bangle means a ring-shaped armlet. A bangle must be ring-shaped, and it is more rigid and solid. On the other hand, bracelets are made of links, threads, beads, and other connected items that don’t require a particular shape.

woman with tattoo, piercings and bracelets

How Should You Wear Bangles?

Bangles are rarely worn alone, but you mostly stack them with other bangles. However, the rule is not cast in stone. If you’d like to wear a single bangle, nothing stops you from doing it. You can also consider stacking many bangles of different colors to create a unique and personalized effect.

If you want to attend a party, you can think of many bangles of varying materials, colors, and metals. You can also add more intrigue and depth by choosing bangles of varying widths and designs.

young woman with hat and jewelry

How Should You Wear a Bracelet?

A bracelet is a more independent type of jewelry than a bangle. As such, it’ll be best to wear a single bracelet instead of stacking many of them together like traditional bracelets. A single bracelet creates a feeling of elegance and simplicity and helps you make a fashion statement. It’ll be best to leave your elegant and sleek bracelet to enjoy a time of its own.

Your choice of the bracelet should also depend on the occasion. The bracelet you choose will change the appearance of your outfit. Friendship bracelets, chunky silver charm bracelets, string bracelets, and beaded bracelets are casual jewelry pieces perfect for everyday wear.

On the other hand, diamante bracelets, delicate and fine chain bracelets, are ideal for parties or formal evening wear.

a female person with bracelet on her wrist holding a cup of coffee


What is the difference between a bangle and a bracelet? It is not uncommon to confuse the two, and most people will use the words interchangeably. However, the two pieces of jewelry are different. For instance, the bangle refers to a ring-shaped ornament that is more solid and rigid. You mostly wear your bangle stacked together with other bangles. You are free to choose various designs and colors of the bangles.

On the other hand, the bracelet is a C-shaped piece that is more independent. It is more flexible, and you can wear it alone with a formal or casual outfit.

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