What is A Cuff Bracelet?(History, Pros&Cons Explained)

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Many times, we have witnessed blasts from the past and the cuff bracelet is one of those things that come from the past and still makes a statement today.

It can be traced back to thousands of years all over the world. A Cuff bracelet is seen as a must-have jewelry piece that shows part of history and gives the wearer a sense of belonging. In this article, we’ve discussed in detail, everything you need to know about cuff bracelets.


What is a cuff bracelet?

A cuff, also known as a cuff bracelet, is an open bracelet worn around the wrist. It is worn by slipping the opening on the side of the wrist and wraps the wrist with a perfect fit leaving no spaces between the skin. It is a wide ornament and often has decorations that sit on the wrist or outside of the arm.

what is a cuff bracelet

History of the cuff bracelet

The cuff bracelet can be traced back about 5000 years. The years may be more but due to lack of documentation ways, it is vague as to when exactly the cuff bracelets came to be.

In ancient Egypt, Greek, and Rome, the cuff was worn as a status symbol and a talisman of protection. It can also be seen in some old cultures like in the tribe of Maasai in Kenya and the Ndebele women of South Africa where cuffs are worn with a matching beaded neckpiece up to date. It is one of the most outstanding features of the Maasai cultural attire.

The cuff bracelet reappeared in modern times when Coco Chanel, the designer, contacted designer Verdura for a new jewelry piece, and Verdura came up with the famous Maltese cross cuffs that Coco Chanel wore everywhere.

This move made the cuff bracelet gain popularity with many celebrities and women across the world.

The cuff bracelet has been used in some motion pictures to develop certain settings for the viewers like in Wonder woman where they are worn as protection and create the feeling of an ancient and more advanced tribe of women.

In the movie Black Panther, the protectors of the hidden city named Wakanda who are all women are seen wearing cuff bracelets to show their status and fashion advancement. In this movie, the cuff shows a futuristic setting.


What does a cuff bracelet mean?

what is a cuff bracelet

A cuff bracelet was also referred to as a ‘slave’ bracelet. In the 16th century which was the dark age of slavery, all slaves were to wear a cuff bracelet as an identification tool.

Mostly the bracelet had markings such as numbers that were visible for easier identification. The cuff bracelet was seen in the African and Caribbean regions. The ‘slave’ bracelet was made from bronze or wrought iron, it was flat and looked more like a handcuff than a fashion accessory.

Romans were the first people to change the ‘slave’ bracelet into a fashion accessory. In a place like India, the cuff bracelet was worn as jewelry while in some cultures it was used as a symbol of love. Men would give women they were wooing homemade cuffs as a sign of love.

In the modern day, a cuff bracelet is worn as an accessory. Some people still use it as a sign of love when they get matching pairs with love markings or engravings. There is also a group of people who wear the cuff bracelet in remembrance of the struggle in the old slavery days.


What’s the difference between cuff and bracelet?

what is a cuff bracelet

There are a lot of differences between a cuff bracelet a link bracelet and a bangle. Bracelet is a general term for ornamental jewelry worn around the wrists.

A cuff bracelet is normally wide and open. The cuff may have a joint to make it snap open and shut around the wrist. it will come as a single rigid piece that fits firmly on the wrist.

A link bracelet is mostly not wide and used clasps to secure it on the wrist. The most used clasp is the lobster clasp as it offers good security once fastened.

For leather bracelets, a toggle clasp or magnetic clasp may be used. This bracelet is loose on the wrist and it is not rigid. It may be made from one material or decorated with some valuable materials like diamonds and opals.

A bangle bracelet is a rigid wrist accessory that comes as a closed-loop. The wearer has to slip his arm through it when wearing it. Normally it is not wide and is mostly worn in multiples. It can be made from the least expensive metals and plastics or more valuable metals like gold and silver.


Pros and cons of wearing a cuff bracelet

what is a cuff bracelet

Pros of wearing a cuff bracelet

  • The cuff bracelet is associated with sophistication.
  • It will fit in any occasion be it a dinner or red carpet event.
  • There is a variety of cuff bracelet styles to choose from.

Cons of wearing a cuff bracelet

  • Some people will not see it as fashionable due to its earlier days’ use as a ‘slavery’ bracelet.
  • It is widely and closely fitting to the skin, wearing it for a lengthy period may bruise your skin.


What’s the average size of a cuff bracelet

The average size of a cuff bracelet is between 6 inches and 7.5 inches with a 1-inch gap. This, however, may not fit all people perfectly even though the majority of people are in this size range. The bracelet can be any size when it comes to width as this will be a personal preference.

what is a cuff bracelet

How to measure the wrist for a cuff bracelet?

You will need a tailor’s flexible tape or a straight ruler and string or piece of paper.  With the flexible tape, it is easier for direct results. Wrap the tape around your wrist just above the wrist bone.

Make sure you adjust the tape to a good fit that is not too tight or loose. The measurement you get in inches will be the internal size of your cuff bracelet including the gap size. From this measurement, subtract 1 inch which will be the gap size and you will get the exact size of your cuff bracelet.

If you don’t have the flexible tailor’s tape. Take a piece of string or a strip of paper, and wrap it around the wrist as you would with tape. Make markings of the best fit.

Then transfer the string or tape markings to the straight ruler. This will show you the total internal diameter. Again subtract 1 inch from the total measurement and you will get the exact internal size of your cuff bracelet.

It is good to note that some people with thinner wrists may prefer smaller gaps on their cuff bracelets. The size of the preferred gap should be subtracted from the total internal measurement.

For cuffs that are wider than an inch, you will need a slightly larger than your wrist measurement. It is good to note that some cuff bracelets are not adjustable due to the rigid and thick metal used to make them.

what is a cuff bracelet

How to wear a cuff bracelet?

To wear a cuff bracelet, find the smallest part of your wrist which is on the side that has your thumb. Position the gap of the cuff bracelet on that part of the wrist and gently push it to slip into the wrist.

You may need to wiggle your wrist a bit to help it slide in. as the cuff slides in, start twisting it such that the gap turns towards the inside of your wrist till the cuff sits perfectly on the wrist. Finally, adjust the position to your liking and comfort.



what is a cuff bracelet

1. Can cuff bracelets be adjusted in size to fit on the wrist?

yes and no, some cuff bracelets are made of light metal materials and are not wide. This makes them adjustable by pressing the ends towards each other to make the cuff tight or pulling the ends away from each other to make the gap bigger.

Some cuff bracelets are tougher and more rigid depending on the metal used and the thickness of the bracelet. This makes them hard to adjust.

Other bracelets have decorations attached to them like diamonds or crystals and adjusting the bracelet may damage the bond between the attachments and the material used to make the bracelets.


2. who can wear a cuff bracelet?

Everyone can wear a cuff bracelet. From time immemorial, cuff bracelet has been worn by both male and female. We can see Egyptian pharaohs and queens wearing cuffs. Although it is dominant in females, we now have many designs specific for men too. People of any age can wear the cuff as an accessory.



A cuff bracelet is one accessory that has seen the test of time and survived. It still shows elegance and good taste in fashion.

Wear it with pride as it goes with almost all dressing codes from hippie to ballroom attire. You are sure to stand out, especially with a silver or golden cuff bracelet.

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