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Bracelets buying guide

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Regardless of whether you’re shopping for high-end, designer jewellery or stacks of costume bangles—bracelet jewellery can help complete your outfit and help express your personality. Choose a cuff bracelet, silver bangle, or diamond bangle, or try a Tiffany woven heart stretch bracelet. Jade jewellery is also known as good luck jewellery, and who couldn’t use a little good luck?

Support your favourite team with Manchester United gold jewellery, which is available in both men’s and women’s styles. Don’t forget about the men’s solid gold torque bangle, just one of the many popular men’s bracelet styles available, such as solid copper bracelets.

One way you can make your bracelet more personal, whether for a gift or for yourself, is to choose engraved jewellery. This way, you’ll never forget the special occasion. If you prefer, select a bracelet charm, specifically chosen to commemorate a milestone event.

Bracelets have been popular for centuries, dating back to Roman times. Some of today’s styles still mimic the classic, romantic look, with the cuff bracelet style being one descendant of an original Roman look. Engraved bangles and snake bracelets were very popular during Roman times. Other common designs included twisted coils with lion heads on the ends or the knot bracelet. Bracelets continued their popularity and have evolved with the rest of fashion. In the 1820s, the trend of wearing several bracelets at once began, while in the Victorian times, bracelets were rigid and worn in pairs. True to the sentimentality expressed in other jewellery, Victorians favoured charm bracelets and engravings.

Today, bracelet styles are as varied as every other element of fashion, expressing the wearer’s taste rather than a strict trend. Whether you choose gothic jewellery, the classic look of 1928 Jewellery or Tiffany jewellery, or funky jewellery that expresses your individuality, Price Inspector is here to help you find the right look at the right price. We shop the UK stores so you can buy what you want at the price you want to spend.

Precious Metals

  • Gold: Gold is the most popular metal used in jewellery, so it’s important to understand what you’re buying. Gold is labelled in terms of carats or karats, referring to the percentage of pure gold in the jewellery. The higher the carat number, the more pure gold it contains, and the more expensive the jewellery will be. The more common carats for jewellery are 10kt (41.7% pure gold), 14kt (58.5% pure), and 18kt (75% pure). Gold comes in different colours, due to the other metals added to the pure gold. Popular colours include yellow gold and white gold. White gold looks similar to silver, and it should be re-plated with rhodium every few years to keep its lustre.
  • Silver: As with gold, silver jewellery is not 100 percent pure silver. Other metals are added for strength and durability. Sterling silver, which is the best silver jewellery, is labe;led as 925 silver, which indicates the jewellery is made of 92.5 percent pure silver.
  • Platinum: Platinum is becoming more popular with jewellery because it is strong enough to use at a very pure level, between 90 and 95 per cent, compared to gold at a general maximum of 75 per cent. This makes it a very hypoallergenic choice for people who are allergic to the other metals added to gold jewellery. Also, it never wears out, making it an excellent jewellery choice. It has a unique shine, with a rich white lustre. However, platinum is very rare and very expensive.

Diamonds, gems, and pearls

  • Diamonds: Diamonds are valued based on the four Cs: carat, clarity, cut, and colour. Carat refers to the size, measured by weight. Larger diamonds are rarer and more expensive. Clarity is the presence, or absence, of tiny mineral traces, usually invisible to the naked eye. Cut is a grading of how well the diamond is cut to maximize its brilliance, and it’s based on the shape, depth, and polish. Finally, colour refers to the trace amounts of yellow colour that most diamonds have. The absolutely colourless diamonds are the generally the most valuable, but on the other end of the spectrum, a pure canary yellow is more expensive than the most colourless diamond.
  • Gemstones are available in precious stones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, or in semi-precious stones including amethysts, aquamarines, garnets, peridots, opals, topaz, and turquoise, to name just a few. Either of these types is sold in genuine stones or synthetics, often referred to as “created” stones or “lab created” gemstones.
  • Pearls come in a variety of types, including genuine, freshwater, and Tahitian. Freshwater cultured pearls are made by molluscs, as are genuine pearls, but they are made when cultivators add an irritant to the oyster rather than waiting for nature. Freshwater pearls are smaller and asymmetrical in shape, while Tahitian cultured pearls are black to grey-green.

As with diamonds, pearls are graded on several categories. Lustre refers to the shininess, with higher lustre being more valuable. Pearl nacre thickness is a measure of the external layer, with thicker nacre meaning it is less like to chip or peel. Surface texture is the presence of any flaws such as abrasions. More obvious imperfections reduce the value. Colour is not a significant factor because they come in such a wide variety of colours. Pearl shapes vary widely, with round pearls being the most expensive. Size is the final determining factor, with round pearls being measure by millimetres and drop pearls by their length and width.

Things to consider when buying jewellery

First, know what you’re buying and who you’re buying from. If you want costume jewellery, that’s fine. You just don’t want to pay for genuine metals and stones, but get costume jewellery. Some good questions to ask yourself include:

  •  How often will you be wearing the item? If you will be wearing the bracelet constantly, you might want either 10 or 14 carat gold, because 18 carat gold will be too soft for durability.
  • Do you have any allergies? If so, consider platinum as a good alternative because it has less filler materials than gold.
  • Does the jewellery come with any type of guarantee? Some merchants will guarantee the settings or stones, for example.
  • Does the store offer an exchange or refund policy? Many merchants will at least allow you credit toward another item for a certain period of time, in the event you are unhappy with your purchase.
  • Check the metals for a hallmark that indicates what quality it is. Sterling silver will be marked 925, while gold is usually marked 10kt, 14kt, or 18kt. With plated jewellery, there will be letters like RGP or EP.
  • For pearls, ask if they are natural, cultured, or synthetic. With gemstones, ask if they are real or synthetic. Also ask if the stone has been treated, as sometimes low-quality genuine gemstones are dyed to look darker and more valuable.
  • Finally, make sure you understand any special care requirements, such as how to clean the item. Pearls and opals require special cleaning, different from other gemstones, while white gold made with palladium will require occasional recoating.

Styles of Bracelets

Bracelets come in many different styles, and which you prefer is usually a matter of personal preference.
  • Tennis bracelet: Popularized in the 1980s by famous tennis player Chris Everett, tennis bracelets are usually thin, flexible link-style bands set with small stones. The most popular variety is set all around with a single row of small diamonds, but other styles include multiple rows or coloured stones.
  • Arm bands: Arm bands may resemble bangles or cuff bracelets, but they are designed to be worn around the forearm instead of the wrist. Another popular style resembles coils that wrap around the upper arm.
    Bangles: These thin, solid circles are made from nearly any material imaginable, such as metal, stone, wood, plastic, and glass. They can be plain bands, have painted designed, or be embedded with stones. 
  •  Beads: High-end jewellery featuring glass beads is becoming increasingly popular, but there are also lovely bracelets that feature simple, mass-produced beaded styles. Many art studios hand-make custom designs for a one-of-a-kind look.
  • Charm bracelets: These let the wearer personalize the look by adding different charms. They are usually dangle-style charms on a chain bracelet. Charms may be a variety of shapes, such as engraved charms to commemorate the birth of a child, a special trip, or other milestone occasion.
  • Cuffs: Similar to a bangle bracelet, cuff bracelets are solid, inflexible circles. However, they differ from bangles because they are much wider, typically more the width of a shirt’s wrist cuff.

Jargon Explained

Costume Jewellery Jewellery that does not contain any precious metals or stones. Also known as fashion jewellery, fake jewellery, or junk jewellery.
Plating Refers to surface coating with a thin layer of precious metal to give it the appearance of a solid piece.

Buying Guide to Bracelets
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