So, one of the big frustrations of buying jewelry online is making sure that the piece you’re buying fits properly and is the size you expected. As an Etsy seller who lists handmade jewelry in addition to my beadweaving patterns, figuring out how to properly communicate a piece’s size and fit is really important to the success of my shop. Since I know a lot of you guys sell jewelry online as well, I thought I would share what I’ve learned!
First, the easy stuff.
Earrings are really simple. Be sure to include the type of earring finding you used (fishhook, kidney, leverback etc) and what the metal is made out of. It’s really important that you include the metal, because earrings are being worn internally and lots of people have sensitive ears or metal allergies. It’s usually pretty easy to swap out earring hardware, so you may want to offer to swap, say, a silver-plated fishhook for a sterling silver one, at an additional cost.
Usually, I measure the length of the earring from where it attaches to the earring, but if the hardware adds a lot of length, you may want to measure it from the earlobe. For example, “The woven portion of the earring is about an inch long, but with the elongated kidney-style ear wire, this earring will hang a full two inches from your piercing to the tip of the longest dangling crystal”.
These earrings have the same motif, but will hang VERY differently.
That description box is your best friend. Pile on as much information as you can! And you can pepper in pleasing phrases, like, “the decorative chain adds an element of playful movement to these sparkly earrings” or “the neon colors of these flower earrings will shine from behind even the thickest, most luxurious curls”. Be creative and paint a picture for your buyer!
Now, necklaces are usually pretty straightforward. If it is a single strand/chain necklace, you can just measure it from end to end. Got an 18″ necklace? Easy enough!
However, if your necklace has a long pendant, multiple layers, or a bib shape, you’ll have to include both the length from end to end (if you have multiple layers, choose the shortest one) AND how far down the chest the necklace will extend. Keep in mind that customers will be trying to plan both if a necklace will fit their neck comfortably, but also what kind of necklines they can wear with it.
So, for a necklace like the leaf necklace on the left, I would say, “This necklace is fully adjustable between X and Y inches long. The largest painted leaf extends a further two inches down the chest. ”
It will also be useful to let the customer know how the necklace can be expected to sit. For example, “the rope portion of this necklace measures 26″ and the pendant hangs down an extra three inches. There is no clasp, as this necklace is expected to be worn over the head and will nestle midchest on most body types.”
Did anybody notice that disclaimer I worked in at the end? Necklace length is surprisingly variable. The width of the someone’s neck, the set of their shoulders, and their bust size will all affect the way a necklace lays and it is VERY important to communicate that without bodyshaming anyone.
So, say you made a 14″ necklace that you expect will be the perfect choker on a young teen with a thin neck. You may want to add a sentence in your description that says “This necklace is 14″ long and is meant to sit high on the neck as a choker. It is not adjustable, so be sure to double check your measurements before ordering.”
It’s important to list your measurements, describe where the necklace will sit on the body, and then add the disclaimer that customers should double check their measurements. Those are the big three things you need to list in a necklace description.
Take a peak at the necklace on the right. Can you tell from the picture if it’s a choker or a mid-chest piece? Without a detailed description, it’s a mystery!
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUN.
So, bracelets are the trickiest thing to sell online. Wrist sizes vary incredibly across all ages and body types and people are very picky about how tight or loose their wrist jewelry fits. Also, I have found that many people don’t actually know how to properly measure a bracelet!
Allow me to introduce the EZ Bracelet sizing tool. The one pictured here is the mini version, which is the one that I use. You can buy them online, but lots of bead stores carry them as well. They are invaluable if you’re going to sell bracelets to people who can’t try them on.
It basically works like a ring mandrel. The designer has a great explanation of how it works on her website. She explains that you can’t lay a bracelet flat and measure it with a ruler and expect it to fit the same way when it is curved around a wrist, especially if you are using larger sized beads.
When you measure a bracelet on a ruler (like above), you are measuring the length of the wire or thread suspended in the middle. But if the beads are large, like in the example I drew, the actual inner circumference (the space in which your wrist will fit) will be much smaller.
To the left you can see that the wire you measured (in blue) is MUCH larger than the actual available space where a wrist will fit (in red). So you need a way to measure the inside of the bracelet.
This is where I use my EZ Bracelet. Here are some example!
This bracelet looks like it will fit an 8″ wrist when I measure it with a ruler, but if you look at the bracelet from above, you can see how thick the beads are. For this one, I would say on my listing that, “This bracelet is clasped with a copper-plated toggle clasp and will best fit between a 6.5 and 7 inch wrist depending on desired snugness.”
This bracelet has the exact same problem (I just realized these bracelet both use 6x8mm rondelles, so it was pretty dumb of me to pick them as examples). It reads 8″ by ruler, but again, it would actually fit a must smaller wrist. My listing on this one will say, “This bracelet clasps with a pewter toggle with a floral heart motif. It will best fit between a 6.75 and 7 inch wrist, depending on desired snugness”.
(Also, note that I gave some size variability and the line about “desired snugness”. Some people like their bracelets very tight and others want it to spin and dangle loosely. Give them room to decide.)
That went a lot longer than I expected. Who would have guessed that I had so many thoughts about something as boring as measurements? ‘Cause, let’s be honest, listing jewelry on Etsy can be really, REALLY tedious and is infuriating to spend time on when you could be designing something new. But, if you want fewer returns and better reviews on your Etsy shop, it is super important to be thorough on your item descriptions.
And happy customers mean more money to buy more beads, so I’d say it’s worth the extra effort. ;)
Got any tips of your own? Share them in the comments!
Great tips, especially about measuring bracelets. As an online buyer, having a detailed description can make or break my decision to purchase. When I started selling, I made sure to answer all the questions I would have about each piece.
I really enjoy your posts, & I LOVE your patterns! Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks, Cammi! I’m the same way. I sparse description will definitely keep me from buying. Glad you found the post useful! <3
Thank you for this, I am looking at trying to sell some of my jewelry on Etsy in the near future. This will be very helpful in getting an accurate description is going to be valuable.
Glad to hear it’s been useful! Good luck with your new shop! :D
What method l have used is to close the ends if open and measure the inside around the bracelet, but use a cloth tape measure, I have found using a cone on a bangle watch won’t allow the watch to seat properly.
Giving the inside measurements helps the customer determine a fit.
Ooh, yes! That’s a great alternate method for bangles, cuffs, or other bracelet styles that aren’t ideal for the cone. Thanks for suggesting it! :)
Thank you for your post Sam ! I learned something very important today about sizing a bracelet correctly.
Oh, good! So glad you found the post useful! :D
This is very informative. Would like to copy and put in my files, as I don’t think that I’ll remember all your great suggestions. They are so helpful. Thanks for some great eye openers that I haven’t known.
Sure thing, Stella! Or you can bookmark this link and return to this page whenever you need to! :D
Thank you for all the info! It is very helpful for a new jewelry newbie such as myself
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so when measuing say a 3″ wide cuff bracelet on the cone what point do you use as the actual measurement, at the bottom where the cuff actually meets the cone, the halfway mark or the top? i keep defaulting to the point the cuff meets the cone but i see people use the halfway point quite often.
I do find cuffs really hard to measure with this method. If it’s a stiff cuff, I would use where the cuff meets the cone, but if it’s flexible, it’s gonna be a little trickier.