The wearable comfort of a stretch bracelet is undeniable, and its slip-on-and-off ease is a most desirable attribute. From casual to glam, the stretch bracelet makes little chore of putting on and taking off a bracelet.
The downside of no fumbling is well known: breakage inevitably occurs causing components to fly everywhere.
Overtime, stretchable stringing materials loose elasticity or get over-stretched and can tear, snap, or break.
Many jewelry designers choose not to include stretch bracelets in their collections because of durability issues. Personally, I did not start making stretch bracelets until very recently, after so many repeated requests by cherished clients.
To overcome my stubborn fear of breakage, I adopted the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Correct fit, gentle handling, proper care, and periodic restringing could counteract breakage woes.
Here are a few helpful hints designed to minimize risk of accidental breakage:
1. Good fit. A stretch bracelet should fit the wrist well. Stretch bracelets should not be tight or snug. Constant tension causes greater wear. The best fit is one that sustains no tension on the elastic core during normal wear. Also, the bracelet should not be too loose. Gaping bracelets are prone to catching on things and getting pulled during wear.
2. Roll on and off. The less stretch, the better. Roll the bracelet smoothly over the hand to put on and take off. Breakage often occurs when taking stretch bracelets on and off. I recommend to clients that they slip stretch bracelets on and off while leaning over a bed, so that if the elastic breaks, all components fall onto a soft area where they can be easily collected for restringing.
3. Gently clean stretch bracelets. Follow cleaning instructions of manufacturer/designer. In absence, a safe cleaning method is to gently wipe piece with a clean soft microfiber cloth after each wear.
4. Store stretch jewelry separately in a soft pouch away from other jewelry. All jewelry should be stored away from sunlight and other heat sources.
5. Restring stretch bracelets periodically. Examine stretch bracelets every time before putting on. If the cord appears slack or shows any other signs of wear, it should be restrung. Stretch bracelets that are worn often should be restrung at least annually if not more frequently. Elastic can dry out over time even when not worn, so all stretch bracelets should be restrung every few years. Craft stores typically carry stringing materials. For those who wish to restring themselves, stringing can be fun, awaken one’s creativity, and be a practical cost-saving approach especially with respect to very affordable pieces. I do recommend retaining the services of a qualified professional to restring more valuable pieces.