In The Studio, Jewlery

Why Multistrand Bracelets are My Favorite for Layering

Layering jewelry has become second nature for me. It wasn’t always. As an eighties kid, I was fortunate to have collections of rubber bangles marketed to me. They could be worn as far up the arm as they fit, either in a mix of all colors in brights, neons, or pastels, or a collection of all black. 

Ruby, Turquoise, and a little dirty Rhodochrosite make this a not-too-pretty pretty three-strand bracelet.

After that trend, I had a big sister to copy. She wore a dozen silver bangles divided on her wrists. I was only able to access a few cheap imitations but was happy enough with them.

Then I didn’t wear bracelets for years. My jewelry was mostly worn on my ears, big hoops with alternating little accompaniments up the ear lobe. I think this was the case since I was a baker hand deep in dough for work and also spent a lot of time in a chemical-filled darkroom at school, bracelets were just impractical. 

Then I went straight into 1.5 decades of motherhood to infants and young children. I almost always left off jewelry for fear of clunking a breastfeeding child in the head with a bangle or having a toddler pull my earrings off. The first time I wore a necklace in years it was promptly broken.

Earth and Sea blend of Aquamarine, Labradorite, Brown Garnet, pearls, and vintage Moroccan silver dangle.

A quick review of my jewelry box reminds me that when I began making and selling jewelry, I made myself a lovely gold chain with delicately dangling faceted carnelian briolettes and garnets. This I wore alone and on rare occasions. There is also a long necklace from that time made of chain and intermittent tiny gemstones. The necklace broke and now that I remember how much I love it, am thinking I need to make another right away.

Occasionally I would fall in love with a beaded bracelet and keep it for myself. Usually, after wearing it a few times, it would end up in my jewelry box, rarely pulled out to run errands with me. I have several I’ve been meaning to repurpose, and I really feel that mixed gemstone, long-chain necklace coming on!

It wasn’t until I began reselling vintage Moroccan bangles that my passion for stacking reemerged. Bangles and bracelets made in similar ways, such as beaded or string, are easy enough to stack. They were made for each other, right? 

So how do people seem to effortlessly stack a mix of bracelets that look great together?

Actually, have you ever noticed a stack of bracelets on someone that did not ‘fit’ together? Not likely. We just tend to overthink these things that have been oversold to us. We’ve been told that certain things go certain ways, certain people (stylists, celebrities) can do certain things we can’t… not true. 

Just try to make an ugly stack of your bracelets. It will take some effort because, hopefully, you have jewelry you like and love, making it difficult not to enjoy piling it on your arm. 

Bracelets are my absolute favorite item of jewelry as glancing at them throughout the day gives me a little gem glow, like a dose of vitamin D emitted from my wrist.

Stacking bracelets only increases this dose and as someone who likes to make and deal in sentimental jewelry, there are often subtle, uplifting reminders on my wrists – travels, friends and family, and so on.

Wanted a bit of a romantic feel with this one. Pink pearl beads, recycled African sea green glass, Amethyst and gold-tone finishings.

Still, I think it may be a challenge to mix and match what’s in someone’s bracelet collection or there may be occasions to want to be well-coordinated. For me, this is where a multistrand bracelet is perfect. I have just one multistrand bracelet that is too thick to stack and a few double strands that I like to wear alone or mix with other bracelets. I think a triple-strand bracelet is the best for a ready-to-go lone stack. Not too much, not too little.

Creating a “quick trick stack” of bracelets is a fun and rewarding challenge. I want the gemstones, shapes, colors, and combinations to complement each other so that no one layer stands out more than the others, but no layer is lost in the shuffle.

I’m realizing that I have not created any especially big triple stack bracelets and am suddenly feeling the need to take on that challenge as well.

I hope you enjoy some of these – my favorite triple strand gemstone bracelets that I have made in recent years – and are inspired to layer up your own bracelets. I promise, there is no wrong way to do it.