The stretch bracelet has long been the territory of jewelry-makers that lean toward earthier, more bohemian-feeling designs.
Bracelets with wood and stone beads—designs often meant to recall Buddhist prayer beads—were red-hot in the early 2000s; celebrities including Madonna and Demi Moore were die-hard devotees. In response, jewelry brands specializing in quasi-spiritual beaded stretch bracelets, including Nialaya and King Baby, popped up in droves.
But there’s a new breed of stretch bracelet that’s edgier and more elegant than its predecessors. Designers are stringing beads coated in enamel, plated in precious metals, and studded in diamonds and other valuable gems on high-grade elastic.
The evolution makes sense: Women love the ease and mobility of wearing stretch jewelry—so why shouldn’t designers of modern, luxe jewelry adopt some of that beloved boing?
Los Angeles-based Karen Lazar and New York City’s Roxanne Assoulin, two jewelry designers whose stretch bracelets have been widely adopted by stylish celebs and civilians alike, are leading the charge.
While Lazar’s stretch gold-plated beaded bracelets have lured Reese Witherspoon and an army of Malibu moms, Assoulin’s colorful enamel-bead bracelets are firm favorites with young and stylish New Yorkers, including Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine Cohen. (“I think to myself all the time, how did I crack this code?” Assoulin, whose colorful bracelets sell out quickly online, told me in a recent interview.)
But the two designers aren’t the only ones turning out beautiful, high-quality stretch bracelets. Here are a few of my favorites on the market:
Rainbow Brite bracelet set, $350, Roxanne Assoulin
Gilded bracelet set, $250, Roxanne Assoulin
Stretch gold bracelet with diamonds, price on request, Rina Limor
Stretch gold bracelet with diamonds, $28,000, Rina Limor
Clear stretch bracelet, $98, Trina Turk
Aura white gold–plated ceramic bracelet, price on request, Roberto Demeglio
Gold-plated and diamond stretch bracelets, $140-$495, Karen Lazar Designs
Top photo: Aura gold-plated ceramic stretch bracelet, price on request, Roberto Demeglio