The price of gold continues to escalate. Gold jewelry can be incredibly valuable and expensive. Is it worth it to try to make your own gold chain? There are simple ways to do it, but the gold required will be costly. Fortunately, gold-filled jewelry making materials are available, as are techniques that don't require soldering or clasps. Whether you choose to make a gold-filled chain or a solid gold chain will determine the expense. In either case, you will have a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Determine the length you want your bracelet or necklace to be. For a bracelet, use a string and adjust its length to make sure it slides over your hand but is not so big it will fall off. Measure the string. If you want to make a necklace instead, simply loop a string around your neck at the length you want and measure it. You can also measure jewelry you already have that is the length you like.
Plan on 14 jump rings per inch. Multiply that number by how many inches long you want your chain to be. A 7-inch bracelet will require at least 100 jump rings. This is based on jump rings that are 4mm, 18-gauge in size. Expect the cost of gold to fluctuate. Your bead store will be able to help you with pricing.
Design a simple chain pattern. It can just be jump rings linked together. Or you can vary the pattern. Draw it so you can see what it would look like or create a facsimile with wire.
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Begin connecting jump rings. Start with one slightly open. Hold it with one pair of pliers. Use the other pliers to squeeze the opening of the ring shut. Connect it to the second ring. Close it.
Vary your pattern by inserting the third ring through the gap between the first two.Then the fourth ring goes through the gap of the second and third. Twist the third and fourth with your fingers making them look a bit sideways. Repeat that sequence the entire length of the chain. You can also vary the pattern by simply using an oval jump ring every so many rings.
Add one more jump ring at the end and connect it to each end of the chain. This will close the chain into a loop. You won't need a clasp. Just put your new gold jewelry on your wrist or around your neck.
This kind of chain is sometimes called chain maille. It can be done with gold or sterling silver jump rings.
Rather than buying expensive 14 karat gold jump rings, it's probably best to start with low-cost gold-filled or silver jump rings. Practice making the chain. Come up with a design you like.
Linda Johnson is a veteran writer and Photoshop and Illustrator aficionado. She is a TV-radio producer, ad agency owner and a winner of Addy Awards and the First Place Award for Best National Public Service Film. In addition to Johnson's online work, her writing has appeared in "Poetry Guide," the "Indianapolis Star" and Indianapolis Dine magazine.