I had some 8 gauge X 6mm in width sterling rectangular wire which I
decided to use for cuff bracelets.
Roller printed some Texture on the sterling, then cut them to 6"
lengths. Then I bezel set some cabochons on them. Well, after and
all the forming of them with my bracelet former, as well hammering
them my bracelet mandrel, they are so work hardened they do not
I left the openings large enough to get on one’s wrist, but they are
so large that they don’t fit well. Trying to close them so that they
fit nicely is nigh impossible, and if one does get the ends to
close, it is difficult to open them to take them off. Do you have
Usually I make wide cuffs, 18 gauge and never have a problem.
Beginning to think using 8 gauge X 6mm in width was a bad idea.
Worked, great for bangle bracelets, but not for cuffs.
My family has been making heavy cuff bracelets for years. The last
thing we do before we polish and bend them is to make sure that they
are annealed. This may require that you set any stones after it is
bent, protect any texturing or polished surfaces with a solution of
borax and alcohol or texture after it is bent, and other compromises
to avoid the situation that you have now. I am not sure how you bend
them, but we have always used a steel bracelet mandrel to start and
then just finish on a smaller piece of aluminum or steel pipe.
Bending should not take a lot of time or cause a lot of work
hardening, it does take practice. The goal is to make the bracelet
the right length so that, once bent and shaped to the wrist that it
is going on, it doesn’t have to be bent again to put on or take off.
It is very hard to teach this to customers and store staff. I would
rather miss a sale than sell a bracelet that doesn’t fit. In spite of
that, we get them back from time to time cracked or broken from being
improperly fitted. Rob
What if you annealed the cuff after doing all of your hammering?
After annealing you could throw it in a tumbler for a little while to
work harden a little bit and then set the stones. It would make the
metal more bendable but still have a little spring so it won’t bend
out of shape.
Alma- cuff bracelets should be sized and shaped so they "roll onto"
the wrist, and should never have to flex to be put on. Constant
flexing, especially of work hardened metal, will eventually cause
One should never open and close a cuff bracelet, bending it to make
it “fit.” The opening should be close enough that the bracelet is
rolled onto the wrist, placing one end at the underside of the wrist
and rolling the braceletover the opposite side of the arm to slip it
on. Once on, it should have some movement up and down the arm. The
shape of the bracelet is slightly flatter on top and curved at the
sides to the shape of a wrist. An opening of about 1-1-1/2" is
average depending on the size of the bracelet. Bending it to shape
after it is on is one of the main reasons for cracks and breaks.
Thank you all for the helpful suggestions and advice about making
cuff bracelets. I made them all the same length, and was trying them
on my wrist to see how they fit. As I have very small wrists, the
opening was much too large, and I was trying to close it. I can see
where I will have to make them to fit the size of the customer’s
wrist. As wrists come in all sizes, I will make a number of the
bracelets in different sizes, and hope that the customer can find one
that fits nicely without bending the metal.