Gold Jewelry Techniques: Chain Making

Gold Jewelry Techniques: Chain Making

To make this chain, many uniform gold rings
need to be fabricated. To start, I have a length of gold wire that
I form into a circle and place on a charcoal block, ready to heat. Using a torch with a blue flame I anneal
(or heat) the gold wire to make it more malleable. After heating, gold is dipped into an acid bath to remove any discoloration that is built up on the surface. The next step is to anchor the wire to the
dowel by feeding the wire through a small hole at the end of the dowel then bending
it at a right angle. This secures the wire firmly to the dowel. The other end is secured in a vise and the
wire is pulled taut. With uniform pressure, the wire is carefully
coiled around the dowel. Any size dowel can be used to make chain links and will depend on the style and
size of the chain you want. Once the coil is made, the wire is snipped
and released from the dowel. Cutting through the coil along a straight line produces multiple rings of the same diameter. To prepare for fusing, each ring must be closed
shut. So in order for the seam to close completely,
the ends of the ring are pushed past each other a few times, creating a spring tension,
and this will allow the ends to line up perfectly. Again, the rings are heated until the gold
just reaches melting point and the seam fuses shut. By fusing the rings, each loop will be completely
uniform when it is manipulated into the chain. Another way to close jump rings is to introduce
solder into the seam; however, this creates a hard spot in the ring that will not bend
and shape in a uniform manner. The next step is to shape each ring for the
weaving of the chain. In this type of loop-in-loop chain, the rings are first squeezed into a bow-tie shape with round pliers. The next step is to take one end of each bow-tie
and compress it further with flat pliers because, as the chain is woven, the compressed, smaller
end can be fed through the previous loop. Each loop is then bent into a round “V” shape. And once more, the links are annealed to soften
them for weaving. Now it’s time to build the chain. In preparation I place a scribe in the vise. And now I begin to make the chain by taking
the compressed end of each link and pushing it through the previous link. Then I push the compressed end onto the scribe
to open it up to match the opposite side. The link then is curved closed with pliers. This process continues until all the links
are joined together. Once the chain is made, each link is again
pushed down on the scribe to even out each opening. By making each opening in each link uniform,
the chain will become more flexible. There are many chain-making techniques; this loop-in-loop technique is an ancient technique that is still used today.


  1. I've done this with copper wire too kill time at work , but wow great tips. Now I definitely feel confident in working with gold. Thanks for the great video.

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