If you are buying a necklace or getting into the jewelry-making business, knowing what thickness of the necklace you are interested in is essential, and you need to make sure that you get the necklace’s thickness right.
But how do you do it, especially to ensure a balanced look around the neck or to have the right length of bead or pendant for the necklace?
The information would also guide you when selecting the right findings for the necklace. Below, we share with you tips on how to accurately measure the thickness of your favorite necklace.
The importance of knowing the chain thickness
You probably have an idea of why it’s important for you to know what the thickness of a chain is. We’ll specify them here, though.
The thickness of the necklace chain is important as it will guide you on the right choice of the pendant to use with the necklace and the bails or findings that you can use on the chain.
This is especially important for you if you are looking to make a DIY pendant necklace to wear or for sale.
If you are a DIY jewelry maker and are trying to come up with different necklace chain pendant designs, you have to get the right findings and pendant options that match the necklace chain’s thickness. Otherwise, you’d end up with an unbalanced necklace or chain, especially if the pendant is too small because the chain for the necklace is too wide.
So, even though pendant necklaces always look well-balanced, that doesn’t just happen; all the elements of the necklace have to be balanced out correctly.
Note that the width of the chain is a function that is made of several repetitive elements that are all measured from the widest point of that repetitive element.
And if the necklace chain is designed such that some parts are thicker than others, the thick section or the decorative bit/ element will represent the width that is given for the piece.
And to measure the width of the necklace, you have to make sure that the necklace is laid out on a flat surface.
So, how do you measure the thickness of a necklace chain?
How to measure necklace chain thickness
Measuring the thickness of a chain using a caliper
The best and easiest way for you to determine the thickness of a necklace chain is by using a caliper. This tool offers instant, accurate readings for the thickness of the chain in question. To take the measurements, follow these steps:
- Open wide the jaws of your caliper so that the chain fits between these jaws.
- Turn around the necklace chain so that you have its outermost points (point of the chain’s metal wires) between your caliper and also touching the jaws.
- Next, close the caliper jaws, take the reading for the chain’s thickness from your caliper’s readout. This will give you the thickness of the necklace chain.
You could use verniers if you don’t have calipers
Know the expected thickness of the chain
The width of the thickness of a chain will be variable, depending on the design, style, and personality of the intended wearer. In most cases, the necklace chains will have varying thicknesses ranging from 1mm for the thinnest necklace chains to 21mm for the thickest of the necklace chains.
At these different widths or thicknesses, the chains can be worn by men and women, but in most cases, the daintiest options around 1mm to 3mm are the preferable option for women. Most men opt for thicker necklace chains.
To have an idea of what it actually means to have a dainty or a thick necklace chain, you’d have to think of or even take a quarter dollar and place the necklace chain on it.
While the 1mm necklace chain is quite thin and forms what only looks like a line in the middle of the quarter, the 21mm chain almost covers the quarter completely, only leaving a small arch on the side, but the top part is pretty much covered. This tells you that a 21mm chain is the thick and heavy kind like the one that is often worn by hip-hop artists.
Chains with a higher number in mm/ thickness are often the sturdier options.
You can also find the thickness of the chain by using the width or the thickness of different coins (height?)
The US Dime, for example, is 1.35mm, a penny is 1.55mm, a quarter is 1.75mm, while a nickel measures 1.95mm. So, comparing the thickness of the chain with these coins will give you an accurate idea of the length of the necklace chain.
Since eyeballing is not an option, especially when you are making the necklace chain with pendants, you want to make sure that the necklace chain is the right width. This allows you to pick the right pendants, bails, or any other necessary findings.
As seen above, using a caliper is the most effective way for you to measure the thickness of your necklace chain.
Different coins could work too, but you need to be extra careful when using them so that you don’t miss extra millimeters.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.