The Basics of Sizing...

One of the most common questions I get about my jewelry is regarding sizing - bead sizes, bracelet sizing, and mala lengths.  These are all legitimate questions that many jewelry artists may answer differently.  This is my take on the topic to give you a working knowledge as you shop and grow your crystal jewelry collection...

(Please note: this is NOT an exhaustive list of sizing questions...this is a shortened article covering the sizing questions most relevant to my shop)


Beads can come in many shapes and sizes.  For the most part, I am referring to ROUND beads (smooth or faceted).  The size of a bead is based on the diameter of the bead.  If you put a bead up against a ruler or tape measure, you can double check its size by measuring its width (in millimeters).  There are also excellent size guides all over the internet if you need to get clarification on a range of bead sizes.

The beads used in mala necklaces will traditionally be 6mm to 8mm in size.  Of course, each artist will have their own interpretation on tradition, but in general, you will see mala bead necklaces using this range of sizes. 


When it comes to bracelets, the bead sizing will depend on your preference, desired style and comfort.  Mix & match!



This is the biggest issue I face in selling gemstone bracelets and it can be frustrating for all of us!  Here is the deal...we often "think" our wrists are SMALLER than they actually are!  And how many of us have our wrist size memorized? Not many.

Stretchy gemstone bracelets are designed to fit snug against the wrist (in my opinion this is the best fit).  We don't really want them to move around and dangle as they can scratch each other or get caught on objects and may break.  It is most ideal to wear healing gemstones flush up against our skin.  If you can get a finger comfortably between the bracelet and your skin then you are good...if they leave DEEP dents in your skin or if you can see any of the stretchy string between the beads while it is on your wrist then it is too small.  Keep this in mind when ordering a stretchy string bracelet. 

* This is me begging...PLEASE, do me and all other jewelry-artists a favor...DON'T GUESS!  If you are not certain what your wrist size is, find a way to measure your wrist before ordering.  It will save everyone time and energy.  Here is what I recommend:

1.  Find a flexible tape measure (or string) and wrap it around the wrist you will be wearing the jewelry on.  Measure above the wrist bone where you normally wear your bracelets and be sure there is a tiny amount of wiggle room.  

2.  Add 1/4" - 1/2" to your wrist size for a snug, yet not too tight, fit.

3.  If you want your bracelets to be a bit on the loose side, add minimum 1/2 inch to your wrist size.  When in doubt size up.

Below is an example of my wrist measurement for comparison.  I prefer a snug bracelet so I would order a 5 3/4" if possible, or 6" if only made in 1/2" increments.  



Every mala necklace should consist of the traditional 108 beads plus some kind of guru bead at the center and then a tassel OR a pendant of some kind.  Because there is a wide range of possibilities with style, mixes of materials, and finishes, the size and length of a mala necklace will vary greatly.  It is important to keep in mind that the bead size will play a huge role in mala length (i.e. how long it hangs on you when you wear around your neck).  In general, you will see that 6mm beads will make for a shorter necklace length, while 8mm beads will make a longer piece.

I recommend choosing a mala with beads that fit what your intended purpose is. 

Things to keep in mind:
* Malas made with 7mm-8mm beads will be longer, hang lower on the body and sometimes feel much heavier (especially if all beads are gemstones)
* Do you like holding larger or smaller beads for mantra repetitions?
* What will be your practice with your mala?
* Do you intend to wrap it around your wrist?
* Remember that the tassel will add length to the mala 

(minor note: In the image below I am modeling 2 malas.  It is important to note that I am 5'1" tall)


There you have it, very basic sizing information for beaded gemstone jewelry.  As always, contact me with any additional questions, requests, suggestions or for more clarification.