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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Steel Sikh Bracelet Resizing


QUESTION: Good Morning,
On a recent trip to India I bought a male friend a Sikh bracelet.  They are made of steel and once on (difficult) are not to be taken off and sit right at the wrist resting on the beginning of palm of hand.  My friend loves the bracelet I picked out, however, due to his frequent business travel it isn't practical, as it requires much effort and Vaseline to get it on and off.  We are wondering if it is possible to adjust the bracelet so that it can have an opening for ease of putting on and off. I have attached an image, would like adjustment to both.

Very much looking forward to your reply.

ANSWER: Dear Nancy,

I do not believe these bracelets may be adjusted with success, including no damage to the appearance of the bracelets.

Why do I say this?  If a bracelet is flt or made of a solids piece of metal, sometimes it may be stretched or expanded by hammering or adding a piece of metal.  If hollow, it sometimes may be cut in half and a hinge added to one side and a clasp to the other.  If suitable in shape, a solid bracelet may be cut and formed as an open cuff bracket.

Unfortunately, the bracelets appear to be hollow...and adding great difficulty to the work is the composition, namely steel.  As a hollow bracelet, cutting for hinge will not be very successful because the materials jeweler use for precious metal do not flow and stick with steel. An attempt might be made by an enthusiastic jeweler using flux for steel and steel hinge components.  The only way to know is to ask. Do not be surprised at quick refusals and an opt out of responsibility for maintaining the original appearance. Hollow items are distorted and often ruined if an attempt is made to stretch the bracelet.

To cut to make it more like an open cuff will leave two open ends to be covered or closed in some manner. At this point we do not know the metal thickness and if it will or will not buckle if flexed open as would be needed in a cuff style.

Most jewelers simply do not work with steel and if they try it, no business wants to return the bracelets to you in unwearable condition or with ruined appearance. Even if you do approve the work at your risk, that jeweler will still be the one who "ruined" the bracelets.

Nancy, I wish there was better news for you. Unfortunately, this is the straight up and honest answer I see appropriate to your situation.

God Bless.  Peace.  Thomas.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks so much for your quick response, Thomas.  The bracelets are quite heavy and for that reason I think they are solid, at least they feel solid. I have emailed an artist in WA that works in metals to see if she thinks something can be done.. I'll keep you posted.

Have a wonderful day, your answer was very helpful.

Nancy, if the bracelets are solid, a jeweler can hammer (forge) the bracelets on a bracelet mandrel. The mandrel is a tapered hard steel rod with increasing diameter from small end to large end.  A heavy mallet is used to strike directly on the bracelet, thereby stretching it; all depends on the metal of the bracelets.  If brittle, it might crack or otherwise deform.  If malleable, it can likely be brought up the mandrel to a size that fits.  Obviously, depending on the force needed in the process, the bracelet my need to be refinished.  If gold is plated or inlaid, there is some chance of that being inadvertently removed or damaged.  The metal worker will have to have the bracelets in hand to make even a guesstimate of what may be required.  

Solid bracelets may most readily be converted to a cuff style with just enough gap to allow the ring over the small part of the wrist.  This will cause less alteration to the surface design of a solid bracelet than "forging to size" The bangle look is gone but the jewelry is easily worn and removed when needed to pass a metal detector, etc.

Nancy, if you remember, please do let me know the approach used for this modification. Best wishes with fitting the bracelets.

Blessings and Peace.  Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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