Closing the Gap on a Native American Inlay Cuff Bracelet

When this beautiful inlay bracelet by Merle House Jr. came into our store,

Inlay Bracelet by Navajo artist Merle House, Jr.

Inlay Bracelet by Navajo artist Merle House, Jr.

I just had to have it…………it matched a pendant and ring I have by him which I love to wear.

BUT the bracelet was gallons too big. Made to fit a 7 1/2″ wrist, I didn’t know if it could be closed up enough to fit my 6 3/4″ wrist.

BEFORE – The 1 3/4″ gap was so large that the bracelet would roll and fall off my wrist.

The silver measured 5 3/4″ end to end. It was the gap that was the bad boy – at 1 3/4″ it would allow the bracelet to roll and fall off my wrist. If it could be closed at least 1/2″, down to a 1 1/4″ gap maximum, I think that could work for me – still enough of a gap to get on and off but it would stay on. It would likely be a little lose but for these big heavy ones, I kind of like them moving a bit.

I asked Diane at Old Town if Henry could possibly do that and she said “NO PROBLEM!”


AFTER – Here it is after resizing – With the gap closed to 1 1/8″, the bracelet now goes on and off very easily and stays put on my wrist !

I asked Diane what is involved in resizing an inlay bracelet and here is what she said:

“It’s a commonly held belief that inlaid bracelets cannot be sized because of the risk of stones popping out or breaking.  It can, however, be done by a skilled silversmith with the right tools, materials and experience.

The simplest style to resize have stones inlaid on less than half of the length of the bracelet (like Paula’s). 
Inlay confined to just the front of the bracelet - that's good news in terms of my hopes of getting this resized downward.

The inlay is confined to just the front of the bracelet – that was good news for getting this resized downward.

Special tools and a lot of patience will allow the silversmith to bend only the sections of bracelet that have no stones.  The inlaid portion will not change its shape, and the stones will remain secure.

If more than half of the length is covered with stones, the silversmith can lift the stones out of the bracelet, reshape the bracelet, and then carefully set the stones back in place.  There are a few adjustments to be made, however, as the “bed” for the stones will now be a different size.  If the bracelet is being made smaller, the curved bed will become longer – then tiny slivers of stone will be added to fill the gaps.  More difficult is if the bracelet is being made larger – the curved bed becomes shorter so some of the stones will be filed ever so slightly to fit correctly without binding.


Resizing a favorite inlaid bracelet can be time consuming, but may be well worth the investment for the enjoyment of wearing it! “


So here it is back to me and WOW, my dream came true.


Many thanks to Diane and Henry for yet another successful jewelry modification/repair !

We recommend Old Town for Native American jewelry repairs. They do all of the repairs for our store and we are thoroughly satisfied with their work.

Diane Radeke
Old Town Trading Co. / Jewels of the West
4009 N. Brown Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Hello from France – how do I tell measurements?

hello paula!
Is it possible to buy Native American jewelry on you site for France? Do you send it after we payed buy credit card? Must we pay for the send?
Thank you!
Hi Celine,
Yes we ship to France. Choose France from the Country drop-down menu when ordering and it will figure up the shipping.
Captureclose up Capture
Yo can read all about international shipping here:


International Orders are generally shipped by USPS – The United States Postal Service. Be sure to provide a postal delivery address.

Usually we ship via Priority Mail International with insurance and tracking and that is what our shopping cart shipping costs are based on. Delivery time varies but Priority is estimated at 7-14 business days, depending mainly on your country’s customs regulations and procedures.

First Class Package International. If you are ordering a small, inexpensive item you can request First Class Package International when placing your order – just write us a note in the note box on the order form. If we think that the item can be safely shipped in a packet or small box, we will ship First Class with insurance and refund the excess shipping charged by the cart. By requesting First Class, you acknowledge that there is no tracking available (except for the 14 countries noted below) and that it can take up to 4 weeks for the parcel to arrive.

Tracking is now automatically included for all First Class Package International for the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

If you don’t receive your package within the estimated times, check with your local post office and local customs office as they could be holding your package for payment of duties. (See more about duties below.) We appreciate hearing when you receive your package so we have realistic estimates to tell our other customers in your country.

Our shopping cart’s figure for international shipping is an estimate. Your actual charge will depend on your country, the weight of the parcel, the size of the box required, the value of your items, the cost of insurance and so on. That’s why the shopping cart might charge you too much, too little or the correct amount. We will promptly refund any excess shipping charged by the cart. If additional shipping costs are due, that amount will be automatically added to your credit card as a reference transaction. If you have paid by PayPal, we will send you a request for payment.

When placing an international order, if you select USA shipping in error, by placing the order you authorize us to charge the correct international shipping cost which will be added as an auxiliary transaction to your original form of payment.

Know the import rules of your country. Any import fees, taxes, tariffs, duties or handling charges on your end are entirely your responsibility to pay. If you choose to not pay the customs fees when your package arrives, eventually the shipment will be returned to us.

For your protection and ours, we insure packages for their full value and customs forms are automatically filled out at that same figure. We are a retail business so are required to mark customs forms as Merchandise. By law, we cannot mark packages as “Gift”. Do not ask us to do so.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks !
Hi Paula,
Thany you!! Perfect!
I’m look at
NP451-feather-turq-yazzie-1 NP451-feather-turq-yazzie-2 NP451-feather-turq-yazzie-3
Could you tell me:

4″ long
1″ wide
3/8″ bail opening
i dont find these number in cm in internet, ?? how much is it? Celine
Hi again Celine,
There are 2.54 cm in one inch so you can multiply like this
Length would be 2.54 x 4 = 10.16 cm long
Width would be 2.54 cm
Bail opening – you could convert the fraction to a decimal (3 divided by 8 = 0.375) and multiply by 2.54 So that would be 0.375 x 2.54 = .9525 cm)  or you can use this table
conversion 1Capture conversion 2Capture conversion 3Capture
Here are some useful links for English to Metric conversions

What do you mean by bracelet circumference?

Hi Paula,
I’m looking at your Hopi cuff bracelets. What do you mean by circumference?  –measurement of bracelet end-to-end, or –measurement including the gap, as if it was a circle?
I need a cuff bracelet that’s 5″ end-to-end, or just a little bigger.

NBS308-ABCDE-josytewa-1Hi Carol,

Circumference is the perimeter of a circle or the outside boundary of a circle.

When fitting a cuff bracelet, you are comparing two circles: your wrist and the bracelet.

The wrist circle is the measurement (in inches) taken with a flexible tape measure around the portion of your wrist where you want to wear the bracelet.

The bracelet circle is the total circumference. Total circumference refers to the total circular measurement: the end to end measurement (taken on the inside of the cuff bracelet) + the gap. That approximates the circumference of the wrist that the bracelet is to fit.


Most gaps are 1 – 1 1/4″ so to find a bracelet to fit you (you said you want one 5″ end to end) you would look at bracelets in the 6 to 6 1/4″ total circumference range as you likely have a 6 to 6 1/4″ wrist.

More Heishi Fit Notes – Choosing the Correct Length

When buying heishi necklaces, first you need to know how the artist or seller measures their heishi necklaces.

Many heishi makers sell their heishi by length of material used, so 19″ of turquoise heishi might be sold as 19″ …………but with a hook and eye and the bit of slack incorporated in the necklace to make it hang right, the actual necklace wearing length might be closer to 19 3/4″.


For chokers especially, each of us has a particular length we like to wear that suits our physique and clothing necklines. That’s when measurement become particularly important.


Here at horsekeeping, we measure from the tip of the hook to the eye on the other end. That represents the actual end-to-end wearing length.


This results in most thin to medium heishi fitting well……..

NH834-coral-turq-adj-1strand-ortiz-2but when you are purchasing very thick heishi, necklaces that are 3/8″ thick or more, you should compensate and purchase a necklace that is 1/4″ to 3/4″ longer than your usual length. That’s because the thicker heishi sits away from your neck so some of the end-to-end length is taken up to make the circle around your neck.


The same principle applies to Navajo Pearls. If you wear an 18″ 4mm silver bead necklace, when buying a 14 mm necklace, you might need almost a 19″ long if you want it to sit in the same place on your neckline.



We provide measurements. The best way to get a good fit is to measure a similar necklace you already have that fits you well and compare it to the measurements indicated for the item.

Here’s to beautiful, well-fitting heishi !


Will this Bracelet Fit?

Hi Paula,

I love the bracelet # nbs351a or # nbs351b but I am unsure about the sizing
My wrist measures 7 inches.


I measured my bracelet and it measures 6 inches with a 1 1/4 inch opening .

Will one of these fit?


Hi Alison,

Regarding the Julia Smith Wide Repousee Cuff Bracelet

Just to clarify:
Your wrist measures 7″ around where you wear a bracelet?
And your current bracelet measures 6″ from end to end inside plus a 1 1/4″ opening for a total of 7 1/4″ inches?

If that is correct, then these bracelets which measure 6 3/8″ and 6 5/8″ (that is the total INCLUDING the gap)…would be too small.

I have a 6 7/8″ wrist and just tried to put on NBS351B and it was too small (which is logical since it is 6 5/8″) ………..I usually wear a 6 3/4″ to 6 7/8″ bracelet.

You need to look for bracelets in the 7″ section which is here.

7″ refers to the total size, which is usually about the same size as your wrist.

The bracelets are arranged on the page in the order of size….so once you get to 6 7/8″ just look at everything from there on down the page………..
let me know if you have any other questions.

NBS325-med-kokopelli-lindsay-1 NBS375-7-morgan-1

Also, note that when you purchase a very wide cuff like the Repousse bracelets, you need to get a slightly larger bracelet than if you buy a skinny one………the wider cuffs cover more of your wrist and arm so need to be a little bit bigger……


Necklace Extenders


I love my 17 1/2″ silver bead necklace as a choker but sometimes I want to wear it over a collar or longer with a pendant. Do you have something I can use to make it longer?


Hi Kary,

We have a few sterling silver necklace extenders. Depending on what kind of necklace you have and how long you want to lengthen it, perhaps one of the following would be helpful.

If you have a bench bead necklace that is approximately 9mm, perhaps something like this 8 bead  extender might work. It is 3 3/4″ long.

An 8 bead 9 mm sterling silver bench bead necklace extender

We also have some chain extenders that would work with any necklace.

Sterling silver chain extender for necklaces

Some necklace come with a chain already on them. But having a separate chain extender allows you to use it with any necklace.

AND what is also very good about using a chain extender like this is that  you can make small adjustments in length to get the necklace (or pendant) to hang at just the right spot.

How do I choose a Native American Sterling Silver Collar?

Hello Paula,

Do you ever make collars with multiple stones in the application? Such as turquoise or coral perhaps? Is there super special care needed? I recently measured my neck down low and got a measurable of 13 1/2 -14 inches. How do I determine a proper fit? I am really interested in adding a collar to my Native American pieces, but know nothing at all about them. I think I would really like to wear this type of piece.

Thank you for your time,  Barbara

Stamped Sterling Silver V Collar by Navajo artist, Gerald Bitsie with Whitewater Turquoise Pendant

Hi Barbara,

We don’t make anything here – we represent the work of hundreds of NA artists.The collars we have are shown on our Collar Page

I have seen collar necklaces with stones – they are decorated neck-shaped sterling silver panels suspended from chains.

With the one-piece collars, like the ones we carry, it would be difficult to make such an item without the stones falling out from putting on and taking off the collar. (The flexion of the collar would loosen the stones.)

As far as fit, it would depend on the shape of the collar and where you want the collar to sit – tight around your neck or down an inch or two.The best way to know is try on a collar somewhere, look in a mirror and then measure the one you like the best as far as fit.

For example, I wore  the plain collar pictured below to work today with a large feather pendant.  I usually wear a 17″ chain or omega so this collar fits me perfectly. It sits about an inch below my neck and a 3″ long feather pendant hangs perfectly in the V of my V Neck Tee.

Plaiin Sterling Silver Collar by Navajo Elaine Tahe

We try to give you an approximate equivalent for each collar so you can compare it to the length of chain you like.

This braided collar is the smallest one we’ve ever had in the store.

Braided Sterling Silver Collar by Navajo Kenny Tahe

Best of luck in your collar search !

Sterling Silver Collars