Welcome to the world of chain maille 21st century style. Chain maille has been around since the Celts. Byzantine is a versatile weave which is easy to make and adapts well to dressing up for evening and equally good for dressing down with jeans. The weave is suitable for bracelets, necklaces and, in a smaller jump ring size, for earrings. All you need is two pairs of pliers which are available from our website and plenty of patience. Alas a trip down to the local DIY store is not on as the pliers need to be specialist jewellery tools. All our jump rings are made from sterling silver.
To start with you need to prepare your pliers. Gently rub the inside of the pliers with fine sandpaper to remove any burrs which will scratch the silver.
Opening and closing jump rings: Never pull the jump rings apart – you will never be able to get it back into a circle. Hold the jump ring with the pliers with the opening at the top. Gently push one side away from you and the other side towards you. Then gently push the two sides together and at the same time closing the gap. In the kit you will find some copper jump rings. Use these to perfect the technique.
Make a “tail” with the copper jump rings and open all the sterling silver ones. The copper rings are a starting point to make your jewellery. Next open all the jump rings.
Place two open silver jump rings onto the last copper one and close. Next add two more jump rings to these and close. After that two more and then two more so you have eight pairs of silver rings.
Place the cocktail stick through the last two pairs. This helps at this stage until you get used to the weave. Hold the seventh pair between your thumb and index finger (not your primary hand) and remove the cocktail stick. The eighth pair will flop apart on top of your fingers.
Using the cocktail stick wiggle the sixth pair open revealing the pair beneath. Then place two open jump rings through these and close them.
Now make a chain using six pairs of rings and repeat from stage 3. Well done. You have now completed the first section. And you will be able to see the pattern forming.
Stage 6: Continue repeating from stage 3 to stage 5 until you have achieved the required length.
Stage 7: If making a bracelet or necklace (or the matching set) the finishing off stage is similar. Through the last pair of jump rings open and place one jump ring through the toggle clasp. This is slightly larger.
Michael Dennison is the Director of Jewellery Design for Hanfords of London. Since joining the company in early 2010 Michael has worked tirelessly in updating the Handmade Jewellery collection, whilst bringing new ideas and techniques to the manufacturing process. He is currently devoting a lot of time to the Company’s range of Handmade Necklaces which is constantly growing and improving. Hanfords of London as a company that also specialises in Chain Maille Jewellery , Handmade Rings, Handmade Pendants, Handmade Earrings, Handmade Bangles and Handmade Bracelets.