Adventures in Alterations – Shorten a Bracelet


A very sweet friend gifted me this bracelet, and even though it didn’t fall off my wrist, I wanted it to fit tighter so the cute design would lay flat on my wrist instead of flopping around. A jeweler can easily shorten a piece like this for you for a small fee, but I did it myself in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how:


The tools I used were bent nose pliers, round nose pliers, and side cutters. These tools came in a jeweler’s pliers set from a craft store that I got years ago, and these three are the only ones I’ve ever used. Between these three, I’ve been able to fix, alter and make a multitude of jewelry pieces over the years. Here’s why I like these in particular:

  • Bent nose pliers – they are etched for grip, come to a small point for gripping tiny items, and the bend makes it easier to maneuver.
  • Round nose pliers – flat nose pliers can squish wires and other metal pieces into an ugly pulp. Most of the time I prefer using round nose pliers because the round shape plays better with delicate jewelry wire when bending.
  • Side cutters – these wire cutters are great for trimming stray wire, cutting opening jewelry pieces that have been soldered shut, or cutting chains.

First, I used the two pairs of pliers to open the two jump rings at both ends of the bracelet, that attached the clasp and clasp ring.


Here’s a look at how to open a jump ring:


Note – don’t open and close a jump ring too many times. The metal will weaken and may break at the bend.

Then, after measuring how many links of the chain I wanted removed from each end, I cut off the excess chain using the side cutters. I removed chain from both ends to keep the bracelet design in the center.

Be sparing in this step, since you can always remove more chain links if you need to, but re-attaching the cut chain can be near impossible to do without a jewelers help.


Then I attached the freshly cut ends of the chain to their respective open jump rings, and closed each jump ring with pliers.


And now the bracelet fits perfectly. =)

The bracelet in this post can be bought here or here.


  • Yeah! I have a few longer cheapie necklaces that need to be brought up 2 inches. I’m going to play around with them.

  • This is such good information! I have thought about doing this myself but I have been afraid of ruining the bracelet! Now I have complete confidence I can do this!

  • Excellent craftsmanship! I have never given bracelets much of a chance since I have a 5-inch wrist can barely keep hair elastics from slipping off. Your post has inspired me to give shortening bracelets a try!

    • Thanks Tina! Definitely play around with shortening bracelets. My wrists are similar to yours and it’s pretty much the only way I’m able to wear them. Beaded bracelets can be restrung shorter, and extra links/chains can be clipped and removed. Good luck!

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