Chain mail Capture C Make a Simple

chain mail
Make a Simple
Chain mail Capture
Adapting a flat weave into a round form
is easier than it looks.
by Beth Hall
hain mail has been used as a garment
romance or aventurine for creativity (see
of war by various cultures since at least
“The Symbolism of Stones,” page 4). For a
the fifth century. In recent generations,
different look, try a combination of colored
we’ve adapted the techniques and weaves to
niobium jump rings (see “Rings of Color,” May
create art and jewelry.
2007) or a blend of silver and gold-filled rings.
To make these simple yet elegant earrings,
The procedure for making an orb can be
you’ll coax a Japanese chain mail weave into
divided into three phases: the chain phase, the
a circular pattern to form an orb. Carefully
triangle phase, and the orb phase. There are
held inside the orb is a small, half-hidden
other sequences to achieve the same end, such
gemstone. These gemstones can have signifi-
as forming each row of the triangle separately,
cance beyond their aesthetic appeal — you
but I prefer to use this method as it is the least
can choose your gemstone for its folkloric or
confusing and most efficient.
symbolic attributes, such as rose quartz for
© 2008 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in
any form without permission from the publisher.
www.A r t J e w e l r y M a g . c o m Make the chain
Process photos by Barry Hall.
Close twelve 6 mm-inside-diameter (ID)
jump rings and open twenty-four 4 mm
ID jump rings. Place four 6 mm rings
inside one 4 mm ring, and close the
4 mm ring.
Place a second 4 mm ring through all
four 6 mm rings, and close it.
Use a pair of 4 mm rings to connect a
pair of 6 mm rings to a previous set of
6 mm rings.
Continue this pattern until you have a
chain of six pairs of 6 mm rings alternating with five pairs of 4 mm rings.
online extra
To read tips on opening and
closing jump rings, or to watch
a video tutorial, visit www.
Separate the 6 mm rings so there is a
pair on each side of the 4 mm rings.
NOTE: The numbers shown inside the
rings will act as a guide to making the
connections between rings during the
triangle phase.
endless possibilities
• Make a bracelet by connecting eight orbs with pairs
of jump rings.
• Make a pendant by attaching a dangling drop bead
to a single orb, then suspend the assembly from a
snake chain.
• Make a necklace by using pairs of jump rings to
connect three orbs. Then attach them to a handmade
chain. Attach further pendants, such as a fourth orb
and dangling drop beads, right, to the center orb.
• Attach orbs to your cell phone or MP3 player, to a
light pull or fan, or to your car’s rearview mirror!
www.A r t J e w e l r y M a g . c o m 2
Make the triangles
in green rings.) The triangle now
consists of six pairs of 6 mm rings and
nine pairs of 4 mm connector rings.
NOTE: While you’re making the
connections, hold the piece in your
hand, rather than laying it on the table;
this allows you to maneuver the jump
rings more easily. If you lose your place
or get confused, return the piece to the
table, and re-form your triangle.
Lay the chain on your work surface so
that it forms a triangle, positioning it
so that three pairs of 6 mm rings are on
the bottom of the triangle; two pairs of
6 mm rings are in the middle; and one
pair of 6 mm rings is on the top.
Using the ring numbers in the previous
photo as a guide, connect the rows of
the triangle by adding a pair of 4 mm
rings at each of the four possible new
connection points. (For clarity, the
image shows these connection points
Connect 6 mm-ring pairs 1 and 3, and
then 1 and 6, with pairs of 4 mm rings
to form the orb (the image shows these
connection points in green rings).
Make the orbs
Thread a 4 mm ring through 6 mm-ring
pairs 6 and 3 of the triangle (the points
of the triangle on the right side), and
close it. Add another 4 mm ring to
complete the paired connection (the
image shows this new connection point
in green rings).
When you’ve finished the triangle,
double-check to ensure that all rings of
the triangle are in pairs.
Insert your bead or gemstone into
the little pouch that has been
created by the last step.
NOTE: A bit of gentle coaxing may be
required to attach the last few rings, as
space is getting tight. Try gently rolling
the orb in your hand or shaking it in
cupped hands, or try using a different
4 mm ring or even a different entry
point for the new ring. Don’t force it.
If it seems absolutely impossible, or
there is a wide gap between the points
of the triangle, you may have to choose
a smaller gemstone, particularly if it
is faceted.
Repeat the above steps to make the
second earring in the pair.
Attach the
ear wires
Not all manufactured ear
wires will accommodate the
width of the paired 4 mm rings. To avoid
this problem, I like to create my own ear
wires (see “Make Your Own Ear Wires,”
page 5).
Note that the orb has two possible
hanging positions. One position displays
the stone more prominently. In order to
have this side facing forward when the
earrings are worn, connect the ear wire
directly to a pair of 4 mm rings. If you
want to make your earrings longer,
use an even number of jump rings to
connect the orb to the ear wire. Using an
odd number will cause the orb to dangle
with the alternate side facing out. materials
Sterling silver jump rings:
■ 16-gauge (1.3 mm), 6 mm inside
diameter (ID), 24
■ 18-gauge (1.0 mm), 4 mm ID, 48
6 mm beads or undrilled gemstones
(you may need a smaller size if using
faceted stones): 2
Pair of ear wires
Chain mail
www.A r t J e w e l r y M a g . c o m EDITOR’S NOTE
of stones
he question of what particular stones
“mean” is a perfect example of a can of worms just begging to be opened. After all,
the world of gems and jewelry is inhabited not only
by those who believe that crystals have magical
healing properties, but also by those who define
stones strictly by their scientific properties —
finding middle ground calls for uncommon levels of
diplomacy. George Frederick Kunz, in his 1913 book,
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, related one
such instance of skepticism:
“Here and there, however, a note of
skepticism was sometimes apparent, as
in the famous reply of the court jester of
Emperor Charles V, to the question,
Agate: calmness, courage, grace, fidelity, remembrance,
Alexandrite: grace, purity, abundance of joy and hope
Amber: sensuality, wisdom
Amethyst: sobriety, spirituality, happiness, humility, sincerity
Aquamarine: health, hope, youth
Carnelian: courage, joy, sexual appetite
Chrysoprase: generosity, wisdom, communication,
Citrine: creativity, wisdom, mental health, generosity
Coral: fertility
Diamond: courage, fidelity, purity, innocence, brilliance,
constancy, joy
Emerald: wisdom, growth, patience, perception, memory,
truth, self-knowledge, youth, rebirth, hope
Garnet: passion, loyalty, love, strength, vigor, courage
‘What is the property of the turquoise?’
‘Why,’ replied he, ‘if you should happen
Iolite: leadership, self-confidence
to fall from a high tower whilst you were
Jade: courage, wisdom, mercy, justice, love, fidelity,
generosity, purity, health, longevity, harmony
wearing a turquoise on your finger, the
Jasper: confidence, boldness, fertility, creativity, mental
clarity, purity
turquoise would remain unbroken.’”
And yet, we have a peculiarly human need to see
meaning in the stones that we admire so much.
What particular gemstones symbolize is largely
determined by what culture is choosing the symbol;
different peoples throughout history have credited
stones with bringing certain human characteristics
to the fore, or with warding off particular external
influences or internal failings.
Anyone trying to determine an exact meaning for
each stone will confront the inescapable truth that
symbols hold the meanings that we give them and
have the power that we allow them. Here’s a list of
some common gemstones paired with their most
commonly named symbolic meanings. —HLW
Hematite: courage
Labradorite: vision, spiritual guidance
Lapis lazuli: power, wisdom, insight, intuition
Moonstone: rebirth and new beginnings, good fortune,
Pearl: innocence, purity, modesty, humility
Ruby: glory, courage, power, charity, dignity, passion
Sapphire: tranquility, amiability, hope, sight, contemplation,
truth, virtue
Tigereye: willpower, confidence, personal insight
Topaz: chastity, friendship, fidelity, hope, courage,
gentleness, integrity
Turquoise: wisdom, romance, spiritual love, earth, happiness,
hope, good health
Zircon: respect
www.A r t J e w e l r y M a g . c o m make
ear wires
your own
Handmade ear wires can range from
simple to elaborate, with spiral embellishments, forged edges, or granulated
designs. The benefits of creating your
own ear wires are that you get the design
you want, the size that fits your needs,
and the style that complements your
particular project.
Cut two 60 mm (23 ⁄ 8 -in.) pieces of 20gauge (0.8 mm) wire. Use a needle file to
file one end of each piece flush, then use
sandpaper to remove any burs.
Use flatnose pliers to make a 90° bend
10 mm (approximately ½ in.) from one
end of the wire [A]. Using roundnose
pliers on the short end, make a loop [B].
To form the curve for the ear, bend the
long tail of the wire around a dowel. (I
used a size 17 [12 mm-diameter] knitting
needle) [C].
Sterling silver wire: 20-gauge
(0.8 mm), round, half-hard,
12 cm (4¾ in.)
Push the outside of the curve against
the dowel while bending the end of the
tail slightly outward to give the ear wire
more form [D].
Use wire cutters to trim the tail to your
desired length. With a needle file and
sandpaper, file and de-bur the end of
the wire, giving the tip a smooth surface
where it enters the ear.
Lay the ear wire on a bench block, and
hammer the curves slightly with a ballpeen or planishing hammer to workharden them and to give the wire a
forged look. Use a rawhide mallet to
flatten and harden the entire surface.
Your ear wire will likely widen during
hammering; reshape the ear wire as
needed. Repeat to make the second
ear wire. Beth Hall is a jewelry artisan and musician based in
Westborough, Massachusetts. She and her husband,
Barry Hall, perform Celtic, Renaissance, and Medieval
music under the name “Nine Stones.” More of Hall’s work
can be seen at;
she may be contacted by e-mail at [email protected]
www.A r t J e w e l r y M a g . c o m