Link Up! Create Your Own Chain Jewelry

Denise Peck
is the editor of
Step by Step Wire
Jewelry
and the
senior editor of
Lapidary Journal
Jewelry Artist
.

The Allure of Handcrafted Jewelry

My chain bracelet.

Long before I knew how to make jewelry, I'd often go to craft shows to ogle (and frequently buy) beautiful handcrafted jewelry. I've always found artisan jewelry irresistible. It was at a craft show in Toronto that I came across a young woman who was selling fine chain necklaces that she'd made herself. She used very thin wire, maybe 20 gauge, and soldered together a series of small, 12mm rings. I'm not sure I even knew, at that point, that you could make your own chain. I had to have it.

Make Your Own Chain
Years later, when I learned how to work with fine silver wire, I made my own primitive chain necklace. Turns out, it's not all that difficult with rudimentary torch skills and fine silver wire. No flux, no solder necessary, it fuses to itself when heated with a torch. And you're not limited to round links, you can make any shapes you want. Make sure the ends come together flush, so that when the wire is heated, the silver flows together. After fusing the first link, each subsequent link is connected to the last and then fused.

Fusing links with a torch. Fused link necklace.

"Toronto" linked chain necklace.

A Cost-Effective Design
Chain is hot these days. (No pun intended.) It's a versatile design element that adds fluidity and interest to a beaded or metal piece. It's also a cost effective addition to a few exotic, expensive beads. I added chain on the sides of a short piece of Viking knit to make a bracelet. That meant I could break up a piece of Viking knit that I'd done into four bracelets.

If you want some inspiration on using chain in your jewelry, Jane Dickerson's Chain Style is a must. It's filled with fabulous designs that all incorporate chain, some in the most unexpected ways! Store-bought, or handmade, chain can take your artisan jewelry to new lengths! Pun intended.

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