How Do I Choose the Best Vintage Cuff Bracelet?

Sheri Cyprus

To choose the best vintage cuff bracelet, consider your taste and budget as well as the quality of the jewelery pieces in which you're interested. If you're going to be buying the bracelet online, also think about fit since a lot of the jewelry created decades ago was designed for small wrist sizes. Online jewelry stores as well as offline secondhand shops and estate sales can all be good sources for finding an attractive vintage cuff bracelet.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Generally, estate sales offer the more expensive options since the vintage cuff bracelets found there are likely to be made of white or yellow gold as well as feature genuine gemstones such as diamonds or pearls. If you're looking for a special vintage cuff bracelet, you may find wide gold styles with interesting textures such as a woven pattern studded with small stones. Look for the bracelet's appraisal value before buying. A benefit of choosing a yellow or white gold bracelet with white or clear stones is that you'll be able to wear it with any color.

If you prefer colored genuine gemstones, sapphires, amethysts, emeralds and garnets are often found in vintage cuff bracelets. Look for missing or loose stones in the prong settings. Clasps should fasten easily. Many vintage cuff bracelet styles with clasps also have a safety chain. This is a good feature to look for in a bracelet because it can prevent the jewelry from slipping off if the clasp accidentally becomes undone.

Vintage costume jewelry can be a budget-friendly option to buying bracelets with real gemstones. Glass pearls and clear rhinestones are featured in many beautiful vintage cuff bracelet styles and these sparkly pieces can be an ideal choice for accenting many different outfits. This bracelet style typically has a metal clasp with a safety chain that further accents the piece. When buying bracelets with clasps online, it's best to first get the measurement of the inside diameter and compare it with your wrist size to be sure of the fit. Avoid choosing bracelets with rhinestones that appear to have dark spots under them as this can indicate moisture damage that may not be able to be cleaned away.

If you like the look of white or cream colored pearls, there are glass vintage pearl bracelets that can look very elegant. The two main styles of cuff glass pearl bracelets feature either rows of beads stranded together or one coiled strand designed to wrap around the wrist. If your style tends to be more on the arty side than classic, look for a vintage cuff bracelet with different sizes of glass pearls. Check the pearls for signs of wear such as chipping, as you may be able to get a lower price if you can live with a few dents.

Other vintage bracelet options in cuff styles include Navajo styles. These often feature many narrow silver bands on either side of a large, oval center stone that may be onyx or turquoise. More classic silver vintage cuff bracelet types may be a shaped ring of metal that is higher in the center and tapered on the edges. When choosing vintage silver cuff bracelets, look for marks of quality such as the numbers "925," as this indicates sterling quality. A wide, hammered silver cuff often has a U-shape which can be a great choice fit wise since these are usually much more adjustable to different wrist sizes than clasp style bracelets.

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