Bangle comes from the Hindi word ‘bungri’ or glass. The name has become synonymous with the flimsy glass bracelets worn by women in India, Pakistan and parts of Africa. In fact bangles are made from several materials such as ceramic, wood, plastic, ferrous metals and precious metals. The bangle differs from the bracelet in being inflexible and having no joint. They are made larger than bracelets so that hey can slip on and off easily.
Bangles are worn by women for special occasions such as weddings and religious festivals. While Indian women use bangles as a sign of marital status, women in West Africa use them purely for ornamental purposes. The women of the Indian state of Rajasthan are famous for wearing ceramic bangles up to their forearms.
Gold bangles are especially popular; they are given as betrothal and wedding gifts. The ornaments are often intricately carved and engraved. Addition of precious and semi precious stones increases the value of the bangles. Sterling silver bangles are popular in the West Indies and Africa. In West Africa they are embellished with silver knobs in the shape of fruits and animals depicting various aspects of African culture.