Ever since my teens I have had a fascination with jewellery making techniques, especially those that satisfy my need for a sense of order. Chainmaille therefore serves both of these requirements very well and I’ve had great fun trying out different variations and combinations so I thought that I would share with you a selection of my favourite creations.
This journey of experimentation with wire began with a book called Handcrafting Chain and Bead Jewelry: Techniques for Creating Dimensional Necklaces and Bracelets by Scott David Plumlee (yes, this is a link to Amazon in case you wanted to get hold of a copy).
The book was full of tips, techniques and ideas on how to turn basic wire into some amazing creations and I really wanted to have a go so I set myself a day or two aside and got stuck in.
The materials needed were simple enough to get hold of: Wire (obviously), wire cutters, two pairs of fine tipped jewellery making pliers and a mandrel around which to form the jump rings (I tried a knitting needle first but found the jump ring mandrels from Beadalon were much better).
For these experiments I obviously didn’t want to waste lots of valuable silver so I used the cheapest wire that I could find, which is probably why some of the examples below now look a little tarnished. I’m not worried about that though, this was about learning the skill of working the wire into the beautiful chainmaille patterns rather than having a finished piece at the end of it.
I spent a wee while creating the jump rings (possibly easier to buy pre-made but I wanted the full experience of creating these from basic materials) and then set to work.
The first one that I had a go at (several times) was the Byzantine Chain. The Byzantine chain is fairly tight in construction but still flexible enough to make a bracelet or a necklace from it that will have a nice drape to it. This design can be created in all sorts of wire thicknesses; the thinner the wire, the thinner the resulting chain. With my fat sausagey fingers I did however stick with mostly thicker gauge wires.
Here is a look at some of my first attempts.
Building on that technique I really wanted to have a go at what was called the Crown Design. This was a technique of adding some additional rings at pre-determined spaces to create points along the length of a Byzantine chain. The result was good but I feel that I might need to pay more attention to how I cut my jump rings so that I get neater ends. Here is the Crown Design Byzantine chain that I made.
Next up, and following the book that I was learning this from, I started to mix up the pattern and added some ‘spacer’ rings into the Byzantine structure. This gave a great overall look and meant that I could have hung charms from the spacer rings (might have a go at making some charms soon).
Finally I had a go at the Inca Puno technique. It’s a bit like the Byzantine but you don’t reverse the links so you end up with a snake like chain, as you can see below. I liked it to some degree but prefered the Byzantine style if I am truly honest.
Anyway, they were just some trials and some day I hope to get some Sterling Silver wire and create a full bracelet with charms, but for now, I have the technique under the belt at least.
So what do you think? Is it something that you think you would like to have a go at? Did you like what I made?
Anyway, thank you for reading this post and I look forward to bringing you more in the future.