Bold Cuff Bracelets | Accessories of Empowerment

There’s something about a wide cuff bracelet, or better yet a pair of cuffs, that transcends fashion and gives meaning to the term “statement jewelry.” According to Peggy Grosz, V.P. of Development at Assael, “Large cuffs are worn by confident women…and they show confidence.”

Clockwise from Upper Left: Angela Bassett; Natural Sardinian Coral Bracelet by Assael; Wonder Woman Gal Gadot; Chanel Cruise 2017/18; South Sea Baroque Pearl “Treillage” Cuff by Assael.

An Iconic Style

The cuff bracelet has been a talisman of empowerment since ancient times, when warriors covered their wrists and arms in metal armor. Throughout history, many strong and influential women have embraced ultra-wide cuffs as their signature style. And today cuff bracelets are more popular than ever, thanks in part to the female superheroes portrayed in Wonder Woman and The Black Panther.

Chanel S/S18 Collection; “Abacus I” Akoya Pearl Cuffs by Assael; At the Dior F/W18 Show; Assael’s “Circles” Akoya Pearl and Diamond Cuff.

In the 1930s, Duke Fulco di Verdura presented Coco Chanel with a pair of bejeweled lacquered cuffs with a Maltese Cross motif. “Known for layering precious pieces and costume jewelry, the fashion icon often wore these cuffs with her statement-making trousers—thus, the power cuff was born,” said Jill Newman, Executive Editor, Style, of Robb Report.

Fashion Editor Diana Vreeland; Stacked Cuffs at Giorgio Armani; “Abacus II” Akoya Pearl Cuff by Assael; Alexander McQueen S/S18.

Legendary Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar editor Diana Vreeland was a big fan of the power cuff too. Her trademark matching cuffs were made of horn and metal. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis preferred hers in hammered 18K yellow gold, a luxe take on an ancient Greek design.

Why We Love Them

Unlike earrings and necklaces, which we see mainly in the mirror, bracelets are in our line of sight all day (and night). Whether it’s fierce and tribal or intricate and lace-like, the cuff bracelet encircles the delicate wrist with a bold and protective surround…the ultimate power piece.

Brandon Maxwell Show, Feb. 2018; Upper Arm Cuffs at Chloe, Paris;
Baby Driver Star Eiza Gonzalez at the 2018 Oscars; “Lune” Pearl, Moonstone and Diamond Cuff by Assael.

Perhaps British jewelry historian Vivienne Becker summed it up best in How to Spend It magazine: “There’s a touch of toughness and a certain androgyny (Marlene Dietrich liked a good cuff) that speaks of today’s assertive femininity, yet highlights a sense of something secret and precious, vulnerable even.”

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