A Guide to Sizing Your Handmade Jewelry

Getting the sizing right when making handmade jewelry can be a little tricky, especially if you’re making jewelry as a gift for someone else rather than yourself.

In our post today, we’ve outlined some standard adult sizes for necklaces, bracelets and rings that you may find useful. These are just a guide of course – it’s always worth double checking with your intended recipient if you’re able to!

Standard necklace lengths

  • 14” – this size fits most necklines snugly, so it’s ideal for choker style necklaces.
  • 16” – the industry standard size necklace – it typically sits just below the base of the neck, although for plus size ladies, it may fit a little tighter like a choker necklace.
  • 18” – another popular size and one that works well with pendants, this length suits the average sized woman and will usually fall to the collarbone.
  • 20” – this size necklace will sit well below the collarbone and is ideal for a low plunging neckline. This size and an 18” necklace are known as “Princess length” necklaces.
  • 22” to 24”– even looser lengths, these suit a more casual style of necklace. They will usually sit below a low neckline.
  • Over 24” and up to 36” – this is a long length which drapes nicely to the mid section, perfect for long beaded necklaces. At 36”, it’s usually possible to wrap into a double layered shorter necklace.

When sizing your necklace to the required length, you may find it helpful to use a beadboard. This will have measurements in inches around the outside and a place to lay out your beads if you’re using them in your design.

Standard bracelet sizes

The most accurate way to size a bracelet is by measuring the wrist. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tape measure, you can use a piece of ribbon or string. Mark the point where the string or ribbon joins around the wrist with a pen.

For a snug fit, add around ¼” to ½”. For a comfortable fit, add on around ¾” to 1”. And for a loose fit, add on an extra 1 and ¼”.

As a basic guide though, below are the standard sizes that you’ll come across for bracelets.

Women’s bracelet sizes:

  • Small – 7”
  • Medium – 7 ½” to 8”
  • Large – 8 ½“
  • Plus size – 9”

Men’s bracelet sizes are usually around ½” larger than women’s sizes, according to the small, medium, large and plus size lengths we’ve stated above.

If you’re making a stretch bracelet, make a fist shape and ensure that your bracelet will stretch over the knuckles and thumb. It should be a loose fit on the wrist, but not loose enough to fall off!

How to size a ring

Getting the size right for a handmade ring is probably the most difficult to do, because everyone’s finger sizes are different and there are so many ring sizes available.

The most accurate way to get the correct ring size is to take it from an existing ring that you already own (or from the person you’re making the ring for).

If you have a ring sizer and ring mandrel (the latter is pictured above), you can use the existing ring with these tools to identify the correct size and make a new one according to that specific size.

Another way of identifying a ring size is to use Find My Ring Size – a clever online tool where you can place an existing ring over various sizes on your screen to find the right one.

If you don’t have an existing ring to use, you could use a piece of string and measure the finger in question! Wrap the string around the finger and mark where the string joins up. Then wrap this around a ring mandrel so you roughly know what size to make the ring.

Please note that the string measuring method is not an exact science – if you have an existing ring, you’ll have a better chance of getting an accurate size.

Finally…

When making a bracelet or necklace, don’t forget to include the clasp within the complete size, so that your finished piece won’t be too loose!

We hope this guide will be helpful to you for your future jewelry-making projects. If you liked this post, please take a minute to share it online.

Image sources

  • Ring Mandrel By Mauro Cateb (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Necklace (main and bottom images) courtesy of Flickr – text overlay added by Golden Age Beads.

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