Well Armed

Bangle bracelets

Simple and chic, to be sure, but who would have thought that the origins of the bangle bracelet could be traced to the armlet worn by the Egyptians in the second millennium B.C. Somewhere along the line, that ornament—worn on the upper arm—worked itself down to the wrist, and the bangle was born. It slipped onto Europeans of style in the Late Iron Age (300­100 B.C.) and has been with us ever since. "Bangles go back to ancient cultures," says Joyce Jonas, president emeritus of The American Society of Jewelry Historians. "The Egyptians wore metal bangles on ankles, sometimes on the wrist; the Romans had hinged bangles; the Asians had jade bangles. The Victorians wore two, one on each wrist." Unlike the paired bangles of the late 19th century, today's are worn in multiples: a case of more is more. Bangles, all in 18-karat gold: white gold with diamonds ($4,610) from Antonini (888-368-3488); yellow and white gold ($5,400) from Michael Good Designs (800-422-9623); yellow gold with diamond ($7,200) from Silverhorn Jeweller (805-969-0442); white gold and yellow gold with channel-set diamonds ($3,240 each) from Mizuki (212-941-0332); yellow gold (price upon request) from Pesavento (800-365-7989); yellow gold with cat's-eye aquamarines ($4,500) from Elizabeth Rand (212-754-1227).