Friday, May 8, 2009

To What Length...

Happy Friday everyone! After a fun (what a lie) stay in the hospital, I'm back and happy to report that the miniature cattle prod (ok, I'm exaggerating - but just a little) that they introduced to my heart, along with the battery of other tests they performed, disclosed that everything in my cardiovascular system was absolutely, positively, pretty much ok. Meaning of course, that I have the usual little bit of wear and tear that they would expect in a 50+ year old woman. That of course, was both good news and bad to me, because I had really hoped to put a permanent end to the panic attacks that have become such a ridiculous nuisance in my world. But, such is life...and my next stop will be an endocrinologist to see if they can find anything wrong there. So, I guess, at least for the time being, you're stuck with me!

On to the topic of the day. I thought it might be useful to go over some of the standard terms that are used in describing different lengths of necklaces and also a bit about the standard way to measure for a bracelet. I picked something relatively simple and short, since I'm still a bit sore from my cath lab experience, and I've promised my hubby I won't push myself too hard quite yet.

So... standard jewelry lengths.


There are 5 standard necklace lengths. In deciding what length is best for your needs, there are a few things to take into consideration, such as: What styles will the necklace be worn with? Will it hang outside the garment neckline or will it fall within the frame of the neckline? (This definitely comes into play when a necklace is worn outside a shirt or jacket collar!) How will the necklace lay based on your own individual body shape? While women with very slender, more boyish figures probably can wear just about any style, bustier women have to consider cleavage, and larger women have to consider that they may need extra length to achieve the same look as someone who is a medium framed 5'4". Should you happen to buy a necklace and realize it is too short, don't despair. Many jewelry designers, myself included, are able to swap out a non-lobster claw clasp for a lobster claw clasp and extension chains may then be used to add the additional length.

Choker - A choker is worn at the throat and is usually about 15" (37.5cm) and always has some type of closure. Of course, if you have either a very slender neck or a thicker neck, you may need to take that into consideration.

Princess - A princess length necklace is 18" (45cm) long and also has a closure.

Matinee - A matinee length necklace is generally 20-24" (50-6-cm) in length and usually has a closure to allow for ease of putting it on with any hairstyle.

Opera - An opera length necklace is generally 28-30" (70-75cm) and is worn as a single strand. This length may come with or without a closure.

Lariat or Rope - These necklaces are generally 45" (112.5cm) or longer. They can be worn as a single strand or wrapped around the neck more than once. These generally do not have a closure per se, although Lariats may have a loop to hold the opposite end of the necklace in place.

Some tips for those of you who design jewelry - when determining the length of the necklace you're designing, remember to take into consideration whether or not it will have a focal component (pendant) and the weight of that component. A weighty pendant or even heavier beads will cause the front of the necklace to hang lower and probably form a V. Also, designs made with larger beads may need a little extra length added to them to account for the amount of the circumference taken up by the larger bead size.


The standard length of a bracelet is 7" (17.78cm). A large bracelet generally runs about 8" (20.32cm), while a smaller bracelet will measure 6" (15.24cm) Ideally, bracelets should be fitted to the wearer's wrist. This is done by taking the circumference of the wrist and adding 9/16" (1.5cm). This length should include the closure system (clasp, bead tips, crimps, etc).

Memory wire bracelets (which slip over the hand) can have anywhere from 2 -7 loops and generally will stretch comfortably to accomodate larger wrists.

Elastic bracelets should fit snugly without cutting into the skin, so the general rule of thumb in designing them follows the same final measurement guidelines as for regular clasp bracelets.

Bracelets made with hemp or leather cord sometimes come with an adjustable knot, making them one-size-fits-all.

Some tips to consider before purchasing a bracelet - be sure to check the description for length and if need be, discuss any changes that might be needed with the seller to make sure that you get a perfect fit! Consider a bracelet with an adjustable fastener or if it is a simple chain design that you simply must have but is not adjustable, consider purchasing an extension chain.

Thank you to all of my wonderful jewelry designing cohorts at Etsy for the use of their photos in this article!

Sky Tree Choker Necklace - DesignsByTwilight
Simplicity Gold Pearl Circle Pendant Necklace (Princess Length) - OceansideCreations
Stumbling Through Her Memories (Matinee Length) - HaroldandJane
Holiday in Spain (Rope Length) - HaroldandJane
I Open My Heart to You, Lariat Necklace - obtp
Evelyn (opera length) - SavannahRenee
Chrono Rainbow Charm Bracelet Watch OOAK - Jeraly
Belinda Stretchy Bracelet Set - Vintage Glass Beads - katker
African Turquoise and Sterling Silver Memory Wire Bracelet - obtp


SharpSpice said...

Thank you so much for picking my necklaces for your blog. This was a very informative post as well. I'll have to remember to use those descriptive words in my tags.

Harold&Jane (from my husband's account)

Terri said...

This is a great informative article. Thank you so much for choosing 2 of my items, what a wonderful compliment.


Bibby's Rocket said...

this is so informative -- i recently found and later sold a bracelet that was extremely short and have run into that issue a few times,which just left me wondering about how to determine the 'correct' length! thanks

Baroness Bijoutery said...

I am glad we are still stuck with you as you put it...Have a Great Mothers Day.

SarahBeeCreations said...

I recognized the HaroldandJane piece.
This is all so interesting. Thank you!

LittleMommaErin said...

thank you so much for including me in your blog!
im now a follower!


Liv'nGood Jewelry said...

terrific information - i'm always kinda guessing at what "opera length" really means

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