Gold Bangles - post 160
Cylindrical Bangles from India
One of the least discussed, but most sought after and worn items of jewelry is the simple gold bangle.
There are many kinds, shapes and designs of bangles and bracelets. Different widths, set with gems, hanging with charms. We are discussing plain gold, narrow bangles. From not much wider than a few hairs to about a millimeter, we are talking about simple gold rings that we pull over the wrist and wear singly or stacked in groups.
This is understated adornment. We don't immediately notice the gold bangles jingling up our friend's arm, They have become so much a part of who she is that they are an extention of herself. Some women might not feel dressed unless they are wearing their bangles. Some women don't ever remove them. They sleep and shower with their bangles which have become an integral part of themselves.
Gold bangles are often inherited. Passed down from mother to daughter in many societies.
These bangles are a material link between the generations. Often worn thin and with a soft warm patina from years of banging against one another and the rest of the world, the soft gold might be a little distorted.
I'm fascinated by the fact that gold bangles were and are popular in so many diverse cultures. From the 24k gold covered laquer bangles I watched being made in Myanmar about 2010 to the Middle East, North Africa, north and southern Europe, France to South Africa.
10 bangles from Burma
In the East, gold bangles might be the bank and only possession of a woman.
In France, a set of 7 bangles was called a semainier. The name comes from the word in French for week. These bangles were a woman's ultimate security. If she faced troubled times, she could sell off one bangle at a time until she reached a safe haven (read go from an abusive husband back to her father).
#5877 Cartier semainier
Gold bangles are sometimes decorated with tiny engraved patterns and just as often left plain. They can be flat or rounded like golden cylinders.
Usually, when you find gold bangles, their price is initially based on the gold content, but then soars above that according to aesthetics and rarity. There is often stiff competition to buy vintage or antique gold bangles, especially in sets and this will raise the price.
One of the advantages of narrow gold bangles is that they look just as wonderful when they don't exactly match. If your pockets are not so deep or you do not currently have a lot of available cash, you can buy one bangle at a time, as the situation suits you. If the next one isn't exactly the same in width or even gold content, so what? They will look just as great together.
A mixed group of bangles as I wear them
And, that's another thing. 9k might be better than 22k when we are wearing an item that is liable to be bumped and knocked with regularity. 9k is much stronger than higher, purer gold and this is certainly an advantage in such cases. Needless to say, the price will be a lot more affordable.
In the same group as above, I have mixed 9k with 18k and 22k. Who cares? Look just as good.
Perhaps these bangles, in their simplicity are subconscious symbols of our connections to women through the centuries. Their significance goes beyond what is immediately obvious - Narrow rings of gold that are pulled over the wrist.
Indian bangles with gems.