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Topics: Bracelet Sizing

Q.
I would like to make a necklace and bracelet with pearls and Swarovski crystals for a First Communion. I would like to add a First Communion charm to the bracelet. Could you please suggest the length for each and the size of pearls and crystals to use. Also, where would I add the charm? Thank you.
- Pat
A.
As for the length of the bracelet, you should always measure for size before you begin. The slap-on bracelet/anklet sizer tool is a quick and easy way to measure for bracelet sizes. This wearable ruler measures wrists and ankles up to 10 inches. In addition to being practical, it can also be worn as a slap-on bracelet or anklet for an offbeat, fun fashion statement. A great tool to use at shows, the back of the ruler has a white surface to write a customer's name and their wrist or ankle measurements.

To measure for a stretch/expandable style bracelet, hold the hand and fingers extended with the thumb cupped in then measure around the widest part of the hand.

If you are unable to measure the recipient, the average small size is approximately 7-inches and stretches to 8-inches. A charm can be added at any place in the design. Consider adding the charm to a jumpring then placing the jumpring onto the bracelet after it is completed.

If you are designing a bracelet with a clasp, measure around the widest section of the wrist and remember to include the overall clasp length into your measurements. The charm can be added at the clasp using a jumpring. To make the design adjustable so it can be worn smaller than 7 inches and then beyond 7 inches, consider incorporating a length of chain at the end of the design so the bracelet length ranges from 6 to 7-1/2 inches.

As for bead size, consider 6mm or 8mm pearls with 6mm or 4mm crystals.

For a simple formula to calculate how many beads needed:
1-inch = 2.54cm = 25.4mm (1cm = 10mm). Multiply the length of the bracelet by 25.4 and divide by the size of the beads in millimeters.

Examples:
  1. 7-inch bracelet made with 4mm beads: Number of beads = 7x25.4/4 = 44.5
  2. 7-inch bracelet made with 6mm beads: Number of beads = 7x25.4/6 = 29.6
  3. 7-inch bracelet made with 8mm beads: Number of beads = 7x25.4/8 = 22.2

Note: Since beads may be irregular, this number is approximate.

If you are knotting between the beads, factor in 1 to 2mm for each knot, depending on the thickness of the thread.

Deciding where to add a charm will depend on the bracelet design. Attaching the charm to a jumpring will allow you to add the charm into the stringing pattern and allow for proper orientation of the charm. Depending on the style of clasp used, using a jumpring to attach the charm to the clasp is another popular design option.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

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Products sold by Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® are intended for experienced jewelry-makers and designer-artists;
children 14 years of age or younger should use these products with adult direction.

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