Skip to Content

Do Bracelets Stretch Over Time?

The style and type of bracelet you choose will determine how your bracelet expands. Leather and snake chain bracelets are more likely to stretch than other styles. Continue reading to learn more about bracelets and stretching.

Close up photo of mans hand with beaded bracelet and leather one with rings on fingers.

Yes, bracelets stretch over time. I remember the first time I bought a leather bracelet. It was so tight, and I was always conscious of the way it was gripping my wrist. However, after a week or so, I could barely tell that I was wearing it.

It was also easier to put it on. The way your bracelet stretches depends on the style and type of bracelet you choose. Leather bracelets and snake chain bracelets usually stretch more than other types. Read on to find out more about bracelets and stretching.

How Tight Should a Bracelet Be?

Because your bracelet will stretch over time, it needs to start off as a snug fit. A great idea would be to allow no more than a thumb space between the bracelet and your wrist. Another more accurate way is to measure your wrist and add 1-2cm. Stretching is, therefore, not something that should put you off from buying a bracelet.

You just need to know how to get the right size bracelet and take good care of it so it doesn’t stretch beyond what’s normal.

What Determines the Extent of Stretching

A stretchable bracelet close up photo with white background.

There are several factors that determine exactly how much stretch you’ll get. One of the most significant factors is the style of bracelet you get. In most instances, solid bangles may have no stretch. On the other hand, snake chain and leather bracelets usually stretch significantly over time. 

Another factor that affects how your bracelet will stretch is the frequency of use. If you wear your bracelet a lot, chances are it will stretch more than one that’s worn fewer times. Apart from that, having a lot of charms on your bracelet also increases the chances of it stretching. In general, you are likely to get around a 1-2cm stretch over time.

How to Minimize Stretching

The first thing you need to do to avoid stretching is to get the right fit. If you are buying a bangle that slides over your hand, you need to first measure your hand at the widest point. That way, you can buy a size as close to that as possible.

Wear the Bracelet Properly

A golden modern bracelets on pastel colors paper background.

One of the things that will determine whether your bracelet will stretch or not is how you use it. For instance, if you don’t have a bangle bracelet, you must use the clasp all the time. Whenever you want to wear the bracelet, you must hook it and unhook the clasp to take the bracelet on and off.

If you keep on rolling a non-bangle bracelet over your hand, it will end up stretching to match the widest point of your hand. Apart from rolling your bracelet over your hand when wearing it, you must also avoid pulling on one end of the bracelet to create a triangle as you are trying to stretch it over your hand.

This has the effect of stretching your bracelet. If you have an elastic bracelet, this will cause it to snap over time. To ensure your bracelet doesn’t get stretched or damaged, you need to wear it properly, stretching the elastic as little as possible.

Limit the Number of Charms

Charms can also cause your bracelet to stretch. This means you can minimize stretching by limiting the number of charms you install on it. The fewer charms you put on your bracelet, the less likely it is to stretch. 

Avoid Handling Water With the Bracelet On

A photo of isolated leather and silver bracelets on black background.

This applies to leather bracelets. You must avoid handling water with your bracelet on. Apart from causing your bracelet to discolor, water can also cause some discoloration. Most people actually soak their bracelets in water if they are too tight. 

Avoid Wearing it All the Time.

If you never take off your bracelet, it will stretch more. This is due to normal use, and it’s also due to exposure to chemicals that break it down over time. For instance, the shampoos and soaps in the shower, perfume, hair sprays, and lotions can all do their part to break down your bracelet. However, this depends on the material used to make the bracelet.

If your bracelet is a stretch bracelet and it has elastic, it will be damaged by these things. Eventually, the chemicals and wear and tear will cause it to not only stretch but snap as well. This means if you have an elastic bracelet, you need to take it off each time you apply lotions and sprays. You must also avoid exposing it to water. 

What to Do When Your Bracelet Stretches

Close up view of a stoned brecelet that stretches.

When your bracelet stretches, depending on the material used to make it, the next move should be to shorten it. First, you need to figure out how many inches you need to remove from one area of the bracelet. Next, cut out that portion, detach it and then reattach the clasp end to the rest of the bracelet.

That way, your bracelet will be shorter, and it will fit better. This is a general approach to what you should do, but there are more specific ways of shortening your bracelet depending on what type it is and what material was used to make it. 

Screwed Pin Bracelets

To avoid scratching your bracelet, first, place it in a vice. You will then need to place the screwdriver’s end into the screw opening. This is usually found on one end of the bracelet. It’s the component that holds the jewelry together. Once you figure out which part it is, turn the screwdriver right. That will make the bracelet tighter. 

All Other Bracelets

Close up photo of the bride wears a bracelet on hand.

The method you use to reduce the size of your bracelets mainly depends on the design of the bracelet. It’s generally advisable to have the resizing done by a jewelry specialist. That way, you won’t end up damaging your bracelet. Some bracelets, like link bracelets, are generally easy to resize.

All you need to do is remove the excess links and reattach the clasp. If your bracelet has a leather cord, you can shorten it by cutting off the excess leather; then, you braid it again. If your bracelet has a complex design, for instance, if you have a snake chain and flat mesh bracelet, it’s a good idea to let the professionals handle the resizing. 

Summing Up

Bracelets generally stretch, and some do more than others. While this can be a good thing for a bracelet that’s too tight, it might also be a problem if your bracelet ends up being too loose. Fortunately, you can correct the issue by having your bracelet resized.