How I make silver chains

After making myself that first square links necklace I continued to experiment with other designs and I now make a variety of silver chains, it seems there’s many people out there who also want to wear something bold yet simple. My chain links now come in several shapes, rectangle, oval and square but mostly round ones of various weights and sizes and I think I have finally perfected and streamlined my making process.

Almost every link, whatever shape it will end up starts as a circle. To form the circles I wind the softened silver wire around the selected size metal rod to form a closely wrapped coil. The wire has a bit of bounce in it so to keep it tightly coiled I wrap it with tape before sawing down the coil with a jewellers saw with a very fine blade. This produces the round links which then need to be filed before soldering to make a neat join. Once the chain is complete the fire scale caused by the torch heat and any excess solder is cleaned off and I check that the links are still a perfect circle, or I form the different shapes and then the fun but begins. I have various hammers of different weights and shapes that move the metal in different ways and every link is hammered by hand against a steel block to give the silver the desired texture finish. The final step is a thorough polish and once complete the silver has a wonderful look and feel and really sparkles when it catches the light.

I find that making chain is a very therapeutic activity. The steps are quite simple really but repetitive and require concentration so take the mind away from the troubles of the day. If I am struggling with learning a new technique or am suffering from procrastination over a new design then settling down for a few hours with a few metres of silver wire and a few tools will take my mind to a better place. And at the end of the day I will feel a huge sense of achievement with the pile of sparkly chain necklaces I’ve made.

If you too would like a silver chain necklace that you can wear anytime and with anything then take a look at my Etsy shop. There is quite a few to choose from or you can have a bespoke design made just for you, in which case please contact me to discuss your ideas, there is nothing I like more that a custom order.

Posted by Gill Melly on April 1st 2021

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