Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Mystery of Bracelet Sizing

Before I even begin, let me say that bracelet sizing is my pet peeve in the jewelry designing business. I see so many inaccurate references to bracelet sizing that it makes me wonder how anyone gets a good fit for a bracelet. And this becomes critical when buying online because, of course, one can't actually try on anything.

So...for sellers and buyers, please be aware that the ONLY accurate beaded bracelet measurement is the internal circumference. References to end-to-end length are meaningless! In other words, you can have the exact same fit from two different beaded bracelets with different end-to-end lengths! Yes, it is true. Here is a visual.

First, you need to know your wrist measurement. My wrist is relatively small, and measures 5-3/4 inches. That means I would need a bracelet with an interior circumference that is larger than 5-3/4 inches so there is some slack. The greater the differece between the interior circumference measurement and the wrist measurement just means more slack, or a looser bracelet fit. I prefer a difference of 1/4 to 1/2 inch for my own bracelets, so I look for bracelets with interior circumferences of 6 to 6-1/4 inches.

Both of these bracelets have an interior circumference of 7 inches. A bracelet mandrel or something like my "wooden wrist" is needed for measurement purposes. As you can see, the bracelets would "fit" the same way. Yet when put down side by side, the pink Swarovski bracelet is a full 1/2 inch longer than the turquoise bracelet. Why? Simply because the Swarovski beads are larger and "eat up" length. The difference becomes even more pronounced as bracelet beads get larger and larger.

So let the seller and buyer be aware...when someone says a 7 inch bracelet, exactly what are they measuring? End-to-end length, or the more accurate interior circumference? Here's to getting everyone on the same page and speaking the same language!

And here is another recommendation by beadgaldesigns, the EZ Bracelet Sizer. I love sharing great products, and this one comes in a travel size, too! Happy bracelet shopping!


MommaLove said...

Thanks for these tips!!! I, too, have had the worst time with bracelet sizing! This will help a lot.

Orion Designs said...

You're correct in saying that most of us do not understand this subject. Selling bracelets online is truly difficult because of it. Thanks for posting the tips!

happyduck1979 said...

good job! I am going to post a link to this on my blog asa well as people buying need to know what to ask!

Terri said...

Great info! I always try to word my bracelets descriptions as "it will fit a size?" But this will really explain it for them better!

Silver River Jewelry said...

This is so true. I recently sent off a bracelet for someone who needed an 8 inch fit. I had to extend the bracelet to 9 1/2 inches due to the size of the stones.

Mary Ann said...

Great post. I use my arm for a bracelet sizer. When listing a bracelet for sale I slide it up my arm as far as it will go and mark with a pen. I then measure with a fabric tape measure. I have a bracelet in my shop with tons of beads and it measures a lot bigger then the wrist size it will fit.

Bejeweled said...

A topic that you don't see addressed too often that is very important. Great post!! And I love your "wooden wrist" :)

Anonymous said...

i read an article in bead and button magazine just like this not to long ago. They also suggested using a cardboard/styrofoam cup to measure the inside circumference of bracelets.
Great pictures :)

ritasmeeta said...

Excellent tips!
I have a hard time buying bracelets because I have small wrists too... but now at least I know what size I should be asking for.

PS saw this link from the Etsy forums :)

WW said...

Great post and great tips!