Using Pre-Made Rings To Make Chain Maille Jewelry

Using pre-made rings is the quickest and easiest way to weave chain maille jewelry.

Commercially jump rings are cleanly cut,come in different materials, and the same size.

Sterling silver jump rings will have been polished in a rotary or vibrating tumbler.

Jump rings can be bought loose or in kit form with complete instructions for an immediate start all you will need are two pairs of pliers.

Pre-made rings are available in a number of different materials.

It is most important to check the ring inner diameter and wire gauge before making your purchase to ensure that the finished piece will not be too loose or the weave so tight that it loses flexibility or can’t be completed.



Ring Sizes

Set out below is a table of weaves and the sterling silver ring sizes required to make them.

It pays to buy some extra rings in case some rings are marked by the pliers or are lost.


Weave Style
Ring Size
Wire Gauge
European 4-in-1
5 mm
4 mm
3mm
14
16
18
Byzantine
5.5 mm
4.5 mm
3.5 mm
14
16
18
European 6-in-1
6 mm
4 mm
3 mm
16
19
21
Half Persian 4-in-1
7.5 mm
6 mm
5 mm
14
16
18
Jens Pind
4.5 mm
3.75 mm
2.25 mm
14
16
20
2-in-2 Chain
4.5 mm
3.5 mm
2.75 mm
2.25 mm
14
16
18
20
3-in-1 Chain
6 mm
5 mm
3.75 mm
3 mm
14
16
18
20
Flower Chain
6 mm
5 mm
4 mm
3 mm
14
16
18
20


Chain Maille Tools

Chain maille jewelry requires very few tools if you decide to purchase pre-made rings or kits.

Kits come with complete instructions and only require the rings to be opened and closed when in place.

The same applies to pre-made rings

Pliers

You will need two pairs of pliers to open and close chain maille rings.

Pliers with smooth jaws (do not buy serrated jaw pliers) – chain nose pliers and flat nose pliers are the types normally used with copper, sterling silver, gold filled and aluminium rings.

A pair of bent chain nose pliers comes in very handy reaching tight spots in a weave.

A small piece of stiff wire or toothpick can be used to separate rings as you build your weave.

If possible you should buy your pliers in a store rather than online, try your pliers before buying as you will open and close them many times, comfort is very important.

Soft grip pliers are highly recommended.

Pliers are available from most bead shops and jewelry supply stores.

There are many brands on the market that will suit your needs.

Preparing Pliers

Most pliers will have some marks on the jaws, which will transfer to your rings as you work.

It is important to remove these marks with abrasive paper and to also slightly bevel the edges of the jaws to prevent marks being transferred to your rings.

Start with 400-600 grit paper wrapped around a small file or wooden craft stick.

Move up in grit number until the steel is smooth, 800-1000 may be enough to produce a smooth finish.

It does not need to be too shiny.

Firmly grip a ring in the pliers and inspect the ring to ensure the polish hasn’t been marked.

Do not grip too tightly as even the smoothest jaws can mark rings.

Vision Aids

Sometimes concentrated work sessions can strain your eyes and be very tiring, even with good vision.

When working with small rings it can be very difficult to tell if a ring is completely closed.

A pair of magnifying readers from your local store can be quite helpful, try different strengths before buying.

I like the binocular headband magnifiers as they fit over prescription lenses.

These can be purchased online with different strengths.

If you wish to make your own chain maille jump rings then you will require special mandrels to wind your wire around as well as cutting tools.



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