Why a handcrafted chain may cost more than expected.
I love to make hand made Sterling chains although they are very time consuming thus increasing the cost due to the labor extensive work. You'll never own a more versatile or quality piece of jewelry than that of a handcrafted chain.. I've been working on a few chains so decided to take some progress pictures so you'll come to understand the painstaking work it takes.
It all starts with a spool of Sterling or Argentium 935 Silver in this case. For this particular chain I'll be using 16 ga wire
Wrapping the wire around a steel rod to make a silver spring!
Now to cut the wire a couple thicknesses at a time to make individual rings.
Ready to solder the rings closed, this isn't all of them but all that would fit! This is great practice of my torch control, hot enough to join the ends but not enough heat to melt! I use a Little torch that mixes propane gas and oxygen to produce a very hot small flame 🔥
Now to shape the rings into a tight oval or oblong shape.
Now to hammer a round steel rod across each tiny oblong link (twice, once on each side) to give it a flattened area in the middle.
Now to cut open 1/2 by those links so I can start linking them together!
I forgot to take a pic of the resoldering of every other link closed. This is a pic of the soldered chains getting the soldering oxides cleaned off the silver by sitting in the "pickle" this is an acid which cleans the silver.
Next step is a rinse in clean water and then into a stainless steel tumbler for a few hours to clean and shine.
I added round jump rings on each end, one to act as the end to attach to the closure, a small silver disk marked with my makers mark (which is my signature, Lori) and the Argentium mark of a winged unicorn. The other ring is not soldered closed. I plan on using a magnetic closure and magnets can not tolerate the heat used to solder the ring shut . I use a Rotisserie to heat the chain for 3hours at 450* . This heating process is unique to Argentium, it hardens the silver and makes it tarnish resistant!
After heating it will be discolored slightly so back in the tumbler for about 20 minutes.
Final step is to add the Sterling magnetic clasp and it's finished! 22" Handmade Argentium Silver chain to last a lifetime.