When does (bead) size really matter??

Hello Ladies (and Gents!),

So – when DOES (bead) size really matter?? All the time, of course! The size of our jewelry making materials (whether it be beads, wire, findings, etc.) can make all the difference in the world as we design and create our jewelry. Things like millimeters, SS (Stone Size), Gauges, inches, (and more!) all become important in the jewelry world because not only do we want to successfully create beautiful looking jewelry, but we want it to be wearable as well! Do you find all of these measurements confusing? (When are they used? When do they become important? How are they determined?) We, here at Eureka Crystal Beads, want to help make the language easier to understand so – please, read on!


  • Millimeter: Many different types of beads are marked/sold by their millimeter size. Beads like Swarovski CrystalsSwarovski pearls, and gemstones are measured by their millimeter size – abbreviated as “mm.” The hole of the bead has a mm size as well – which can be important to know depending on what you’re planning no stringing through it. A Millimeter is 1/10th of a Centimeter – which is the opposite side of the ruler as the Inch. A good way to visualize a few different millimeter sizes is as follows: An almost near sharpened pencil tip is about 1mm, a new Crayon tip is about 2mm, and a pencil eraser is about 5mm!



  • SS (Stone Size): This is often a measurement used in reference to Rhinestones: Preciosa Crystal Chatons, for example, are listed on our website by both Millimeter size as well as Stone Size. Our 8mm Chatons are also considered an “SS39.” With Stone Size, the higher the SS number, the bigger the Millimeter – and therefore the larger the item.


  • Gauge: This is a measurement specific to wire diameter. Gauge is determined by the amount of electric current a wire can safely carry, as well as its electrical resistance and weight. For us jewelry designers, simply put, it’s how thick the wire is that you’re working with! Precious Metal Wire Stock or craft wire, jump rings, headpins, and eyepins all utilize a gauge measurement. With the Gauge measurement, it’s also important to know that the higher the number gauge measurement, the thinner your wire becomes. (i.e. 26 gauge wire is thinner than 22 gauge wire.)
  • Inches: Inches are important with regard to the length of the jewelry you’re making. Sounds simple, right? Well, what if I told you that you could make 2 bracelets, each 7.5 inches long, and both could fit the same wrist totally differently? Sounds impossible? Nope! This can absolutely be a reality when you take into account the size of the beads you’re stringing! The 7.5 inch bracelet that uses BIGGER beads is going to fit tighter on the wrist than the one made with smaller beads. This is because the hole running through the center of the bigger beads (where you’re stringing wire is going through) is being held further out from your wrist because of the diameter of the bead. So, if your stringing with larger beads you have to take this into account and string a longer bracelet than what might typically be needed for a particular sized wrist if you were using smaller beads. (Still with me? Good!)

Getting to know the in’s and out’s of the “science” behind designing your jewelry will only help you to create amazing designs with regard to wearability and aesthetic beauty!!

Consider checking out our Beading Resource Guide for some additional helpful bits of information!!

Hoping you found this helpful! Until Next time…


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