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Cabochons and beads are commonly measured in millimeters (mm), while many people in the United States are more familiar with inches (in). Here are some easy ways to figure out what size cabochon or bead to work with!
If you're looking for help with how many feet are in an ounce or pound of wire, click here!
In most cabochon measurements, the height comes first, then the width (which may seem backwards).
Here are some common cabochon sizes, in millimeters and inches.
8 x 6mm Cab
0.3" x 0.25" Cab
14 x 10mm
0.6" x 0.4"
18 x 13mm
0.7" x 0.5"
25 x 18mm
1" x 0.7"
30 x 22mm
1.2" x 0.7"
40 x 30mm
1.6" x 1.2"
Remember, there are 10 millimeters in 1 centimeter, so a 40 x 30mm cab can also be measured as 4 x 3 centimeters. Most rulers in the U.S. have one side for inches, and one side for centimeters.
For comparison, a U.S. Quarter is 24.26mm in diameter (across); a quarter is nearly the same size as a 25mm round cabochon.
A U.S. Penny is 19mm in diameter, or 3/4" across. Here's a penny compared to an 18 x 13mm cab:
U.S. Penny (19mm)
18 x 13mm
Do you want to know the number of beads in a strand? If you know the length of the strand and the size of the beads, you can estimate the number of beads in any strand. Note: this method may not work on beads of different sizes on the same strand.
wirejewelry.com's jewelry wire is measured according to AWG standards. Not every wire is available in each shape and gauge; the boxes left blank in the chart below indicate that we do not usually stock that gauge in that shape. All wire begins round, so it is the most common shape.
Here is how each shape is measured:
As you can see, the standard diameter and gauge of half round wire is measured across the flat part of the wire.
Here's a chart with the AWG Gauge (the gauge you're used to seeing, like 22-gauge), how wide that wire is in inches, how wide it is in millimeters, and approximately how large that is. Use this chart to determine what wire to use with beads and more! Please note, this is not to-scale on a monitor. Please download this chart before printing it to ensure it prints to scale. Make sure in your Print dialog box that the document prints at 100%, and does not scale it to fit your paper size.
Jump rings are typically measured by their Inner Diameter, Outer diameter, and wire gauge. For example, if you made your own jump rings from 18-gauge wire around a 5mm dowel, the Inner Diameter is 5mm, the gauge is 18-gauge (or 1.02mm, found in the chart above). But what's the outer diameter?
Some patterns call for jump rings measured in OD, some in ID. If you know either the ID or the OD as well as the gauge, you can find your missing measurement.
Inner Diameter = OD - (wire gauge * 2)
Outer Diameter = ID + (wire gauge * 2)
So using the example of an 18-gauge jump ring made around a 5mm dowel, remembering that 18-gauge is 1.02 mm:
OD = 5 + (1.02*2)
OD = 5 + 2.04
OD = 7.04mm for an 18-gauge jump ring with a 5mm ID.
If you print directly from this page, the cabochon and wire gauge sizes may not print at the right size. Here's a downloadable PDF so you can print out the page perfectly to scale!
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