These days, it seems rhinestone embellished items are everywhere. Jennifer Lopez’s tumblers, Ashley Graham’s strappy sandals, and Carrie Underwood’s rhinestoned top. Yet, purchasing bedazzled items can be quite pricey. Thus, you may want to consider beginning a blinged out project. However, newcomers to the world of bling may find all the options overwhelming. Today, let’s review some guidelines for picking the perfect rhinestone size for your project.
“ss”: The Rhinestone Size Unit
First, if you’ve never purchased rhinestones before, you’ll probably be confused about the unit of measurement used by manufacturers. The “ss” or stone size term traces back to when gem collectors sought naturally occurring quartz along the Rhine River.
Although gem hunters have long since depleted this natural resource, manufacturers continue to use this measurement. Typically, retailers of crystal components will give the millimeter size alongside the “ss” size for comparison. For your convenience, we’ve replicated the rhinestones size chart comparison below:
ss mm ss mm ss mm
3 1.4 8 2.35 20 4.7
4 1.6 9 2.65 30 6.41
5 1.8 10 2.85 34 7.17
6 2.0 12 3.1 40 8.54
7 2.15 16 3.9 48 11.11
As you can see, the larger the “ss” number, the bigger the rhinestone. Of course, a larger rhinestone will cover a greater area. However, larger rhinestones are also more expensive than smaller ones.
Some experts recommend you begin with your budget or how much you want to spend on rhinestones. Usually, most retailers sell rhinestones by the gross (144 pieces). To find your quantity, take the amount you’re willing to spend and divide it by the cost of the rhinestone. Let’s look at an example: you have $50 budgeted and size 16ss rhinestones cost $10 per gross. This means you can purchase 5 gross (720 pieces).
What about 20ss at a cost of $13.50? For this size you can buy 3.7 gross. If your retailer only sells by the gross, you may want to purchase some smaller sizes too.
The Design May Help Dictate the Rhinestone Size
Sometimes, you may want to just outline a neckline. Usually, a larger size stone like 20ss or 30ss will do nicely. Other times, you may have a particular shape you want to cover in rhinestones. To do so, you need to find the total area you want to cover.
For instance, you want to add rhinestones to a pair of sandal straps. First, you need to find the total area of the straps. Let’s say the straps measure 2 inches wide by 5 inches long. This gives you a total area of 10 square inches for one sandal (just double this for both sandals).
The chart below shows how many of that particular size rhinestone will cover 1 square inch. Just multiply the area by the number of stones per square inch to get your total:
As you can see, you end up with fractions of rhinestones. Thus, you may want to purchase smaller size rhinestones (5ss, 6ss, 7ss, etc.) to fill in any gaps. Or, you can leave a little space between the crystals.
Typically, like choosing a color, the best rhinestone size often is a matter of design preference. Moreover, you’re not boxed into choosing only 1 size. Using different sizes allows light to bounce unpredictably along the design creating more flash. Also, keep in mind, the bigger the rhinestone, the flashier the shine.
FAQs about Rhinestones
Ready to begin your bling project, but have more questions? Below, we answer a few commonly asked questions.
Which Color Should I Pick?
Often, choosing a particular color can affect the look of your project. Different hues have varying levels of intensity, saturation, and perceived warmth. Begin by deciding on the look you want to achieve. For example, using triadic colors on your project creates a bold, vibrant look. Typically, choosing a particular rhinestone color is also a personal preference.
What Is The Best Adhesive?
Usually, all rhinestone glues work great on fabric. However, some adhesives work better on non-porous surfaces like glass or metal. Check with the manufacturer before starting your project. If you’re bedazzling clothing, want a glue that dries clear and is washable.
Most popular brands you can purchase in any craft store:
Are Some Rhinestone Brands Better Than Others?
Typically, not all rhinestones have the same quality. Some manufacturers use acrylic, others glass or crystal. Also, you’ll find a different arrangement and number of facets depending on the manufacturer. All these factors affect the sparkle, refraction of light, and of course, price.
When you want the very best quality for your crystal embellishments, trust Rhinestones Etc. With a huge selection of brand name Preciosa in stock, we can help you look dazzling. Browse our online store for a great selection of colors and sizes.
I have been adding bling for over 20 years. Through my projects, I hope you find inspiration.