Bangles are a type of Indian accessory that have today become popular around the world. Bangles are actually quite ancient in their origins and were worn by women as well as men in the Indian subcontinent many centuries ago. In the last couple of decades, bangles have also become a part of western fashion, though they are still associated with a more ethnic, bohemian and relaxed sense of style. Certain types and varieties of this accessory have achieved greater success in western markets than others: for instance, wooden bangles have become a major international trend in recent years. Associated with a hippy, tribal inspired sense of style, the wooden bangle has nevertheless been seen on high fashion runways as well.
Bangles are essentially just wrist accessories, similar to bracelets, except that where bracelets are fluid and mobile, made of links and chains, bangles are rigid, carved of one solid material. The use of wood to make all types of jewelry is a very Indian trend; in fact, people in tribal and rural areas have been using wood for personal ornamentation for many centuries. The appeal of wooden bangle bracelets is multi-fold. Wood is a cheap and easily available material that can easily be carved, painted or cut into a wide variety of designs. The small size of wooden bangles jewelry is such that producing them takes no toll on the environment; in fact, it is more eco friendly than either metals or plastic as it is bio-degradable, skin friendly and does not require smelting or any large scale chemical processes to produce. The only treatment wood does receive is polishing, to give it a finer, more luxurious look, and this is a very simple process that is typically done by hand. In India, wooden jewelry is largely a product of rural craftsmen and tribal jewelers which is why purchasing the authentic varieties is a great way of supporting ancient arts and handicrafts that are in great danger of dying out.
There are many different types of wooden bangle designs that people can choose from. The most coarse and affordable varieties are the unvarnished, unpolished plain wooden bangles that retain the rough, graded and earthy look of natural wood. Despite their affordability and relative simplicity, plain wooden bangles have a very unique, ethnic look and nature-inspired hippy vibe that really cannot be created with any other type of jewelry. Plain wooden bangles need not always be unpolished and the slightly fancier varieties come with a smooth, polished surface. The look of wooden bangles is also determined by the different types woods used as the base. From gorgeous streaked mahogany to tawny teak, from stylish walnut to classic ebony, each and every wood has a slightly different look and feel. Bangles need not always have the wooden look even when they are made from wood. It can also be used as a great base on to which designs and patterns of different colors are painted on. The artistic and exquisite hand painted wooden bangles from India often come with bright, colorful and vibrant designs that give them a very unique look. Motifs like flowers, fruits, animals, birds and trees are frequently used, often in multi-colored hues, to give the bangle a kaleidoscopic look.
Wooden bangles patterns often combine intricate hand carving with hand painting to create a three dimensional beauty for the bangle. For instance the design of a flowering vibe might be carved into the wooden bangle, which is then painted with different colors for the flowers, leaves and background. The heavier and most formal varieties of wooden bangles come with gems, stones and beads studded on the bangle along with colorful and/or carved designs, creating a very distinctive look. These kinds of wooden bangles often come in pairs or singly rather than in sets of six or twelve. Artisans often present such accessories in an attractive wooden bangle box, designs of which often match with the designs on the bangles themselves. This is why such a type of bangle is a great present to connoisseurs of ethnic fashion.
Styling Wooden Bangles
Wooden bangles are one of the trendiest items in fashion right now. They are a very versatile type of accessory to have in the wardrobe as they match with different types of outfits and can be easily used to add a bit of ethnic flair or earthy edge to any simple look. From Bandhej salwar kameez to printed tunics and leggings, wooden bangles will suit both ethnic and western looks. It is best to add them to colorful outfits with a nature theme reflected in their motifs and designs. Colorful, painted wooden bangles pair well with plain outfits in a darker hue, such as black peasant tops or grey kaftans.