Big, beautiful, bold, bangles make a grand statement all on their own, as seen here being worn by Ruth Chatterton.
Because they are such bold pieces, these big bracelets and bangles are usually worn alone, sometimes balanced with a pair of bracelets on the other arm, as shown here again by Chatterton.
Such bold bracelets and bangles were made of plastic, Bakelite being quite popular for costume jewelry, often carved and/or with other materials such as metal and rhinestones set in.
They came in a wide variety of colors, such as this light colored one (with darker colored ‘stones’ or design of some sort) worn by Ann Harding in Double Harness.
There are also amazing bracelets dripping with beads, like the one worn here by Norma Shearer.
While I much prefer vintage costume jewelery, it can be very difficult to find — and at affordable prices. This seems especially true when you are trying to match a particular outfit. Even black can prove difficult to find when you are desperate to find it. So sometimes looking for modern pieces is a better option.
Banana Republic has bracelets (now on sale too!) which are reminiscent of the old Bakelite bracelets. This black beaded bracelet is called a Corsage bracelet and this wide black bangle with turquoise ‘stones’ is called a Brooch bangle.
The Banana Republic bracelets range, on sale, from $25 to $30, which is less expensive than many vintage bangles made of Bakelite. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a steal on real vintage bangles — sometimes for just $10 or so on eBay. You’ll have to spend some time looking, of course, and you may only find the simpler solid color bangles for such low prices — but isn’t that hunt half the fun anyway?
Keep looking and you may just find yourself getting lucky finding lots of affordable bangles and bracelets. Just be careful not to layer too many or you’ll look like Marilyn in There’s No Business Like Show Business — or just another 80’s chick (but hey, that’s coming back again too!)