Bead Measure

I sometimes receive letters telling me our 8mm beads are not 8mm. Some people say our 4mm beads look bigger on the picture! Others insist we’ve sent them the wrong size of pearls because most are smaller than we say.

However, you can’t tell the size of beads from photographs, and some new beaders are not familiar with the sizes.

Size of beads can either be exact or approximate depending on the type of bead. Simple round bead sizes should be exact: 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm etc. Although chip beads, being naturally different sizes, will not be exactly the size quoted in the sale – some will be longer, but most will be shorter. Same with pearls.

Bead sellers usually quote the largest size in the strand, this is especially true with natural pearls. Under 25% of the pearls in a strand may be the full size quoted.

Nuggets, again being natural, will all be different to an average size listed in the sale. Strands of beads are usually 16-inches (400mm) long.  Although pearls are normally sold in 15-inch strands and chips in 32-inch strands.

A Choker necklace is 16-inches long, a Princess necklace 18-inches, a Matinee necklace 24-inches, Opera necklace 32-inches, and a Mala necklace of 108-beads can be of any length. A bracelet is usually 7-inches and an anklet 9-inches.