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Why Size Does Matter…

Yes, size does matter! In jewelry that is! Especially when buying online.

In my experience, when buying jewelry supplies online, the old saying “What you see is what you get” often does NOT hold true. Or at the very least should have an asterisked warning saying “Item is smaller (or larger) than it appears.”

Of course, logical people would scold “Tsk tsk, didn’t you pay attention to the dimensions listed?” And would I say “I did, I did, I really did!” And truly, I did, but I think I must be dimensionally challenged, and from the feedback I get from other people, I’m not the only one.

The most notorious offenders of the size issue are beads. I recently read a newsletter entry on this very issue from Magpie Gemstones and thankfully realized I’m not the only who has made this mistake. First-time or inexperienced bead buyers never realize how small a 2 mm or 3 mm bead is. Let me tell you, it is TINY. And you don’t often realize how tiny because images online are usually blown up to show detail and do not represent the true size.

But the size issue goes beyond beads. I’m always on the lookout for interesting found objects to use in my work. One of the items I’m constantly scouring flea markets, junk stores and the internet for are old padlocks. Now, if you ever looked for old padlocks, you know they can range from the absolutely gigantor to the miniature. For jewelry, I need smallish to miniature. I recently came across some wonderful old locks online and after reading the dimensions, I thought they would work. I bought  them, eagerly awaited them as they travelled from England to my front door in the U.S. And when I opened the package….my heart sank. They were fantastic, but way too big. The offending lock is the one in the middle below. On each side are locks I actually use in my jewelry:

At first glance, from this photo, I would say even though its larger than expected, I could probably still use it. What you don’t see, though, is the thickness of the lock. Which is the major dimension I chose to ignore when purchasing these. Take a look at the locks from the side.

See what I mean? The difference is HUGE! Colossal! Lucky for me that I collect old locks of all sizes, so this one, and the 3 others I purchased are now part of my collection. But, my lesson was learned. Not fully understanding the dimensions can royally screw you! BTW, another major offender of the size issue is chain. I’ve found that even true-to-size photos of chain can be misleading. You often can’t get a feel for the true thickness and weight of a chain from an image. Requesting samples is always preferable, but generally you have to be buying wholesale in large quantities for the vendor to provide you samples.

Unfortunately, I still make mistakes. Most often it’s when I don’t have a ruler in front of me and I approximate the sizes in my head. But my head ruler is notorious for going on the fritz so the results are unreliable at best! Therefore, my head ruler is no longer to be trusted!

My best advice is that when buying any jewelry component or supply, as well as finished jewelry, check, recheck and triple-check the measurement using an actual ruler before you buy to make sure you’re getting what you want!

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