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Egyptian coil link bracelet

Repeat a single, easy coil link to make a dynamic chain.
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Full necklace cropped
Try making a necklace in addition to a bracelet and earrings!

Coils are as alluring to us today as they have been to many cultures through the millennia. The name of this coiled link is a bit of a mystery. Jewelry-history texts cite the link as Scandinavian in origin. In the 1940s, two Danish authors, who were influenced by a revival of Egyptian motifs, wrote a book on wire jewelry making and mythologized the link, attributing it to an ancient Egyptian goldsmith. From this romanticized text, we get the currently popular name — the Egyptian coil link.

I used 18-gauge (1.0mm), round, sterling silver wire to make this bracelet, but I have successfully used 20-gauge (0.8mm) round wire to create slightly more delicate coils. I recommend practicing first with copper or craft wire to learn the link pattern and to gain confidence before using more expensive materials.


  • Sterling silver wire: 18-gauge (1.0mm), round, dead-soft, 11–12 1⁄2 ft. (3.4–3.8m)
  • 4 sterling silver jump rings, 18-gauge (1.0mm), 3mm inside diameter (ID)
  • 3–7 sterling silver jump rings, 18-gauge (1.0mm), 5–9mm ID (optional)
  • Toggle clasp
  • Flush cutters
  • File: hand or needle
  • Pliers: bentnose, flatnose, roundnose
  • Brass slide gauge or calipers
  • Hammer: planishing (optional)
  • Anvil (optional)
  • Finishing items (choose from):
  • Tumbler, steel shot, burnishing compound
  • Liver of sulfur
  • Polishing cloth
  • Don’t attach the original link to the chain until all of the other links are connected. If you need to make a few more links to reach your desired length, you can use the original link as a guide to keep the new links consistent with the others.
  • To make a necklace, count how many links are in 1 in. (25.5mm) of chain. Multiply that number of links by the number of inches (or millimeters) needed for the necklace. 
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Photo 1
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Photo 2


Cut the wire. Use flush cutters to cut 25 5-in. (12.7cm) pieces of 18-gauge (1.0mm) sterling silver wire. File the ends flat. 

Make loops on the wire ends. Use the tip of your roundnose pliers to make a tight loop at each end of a piece of wire [PHOTO 1] so that the loops curl toward each other. Repeat for the remaining 24 wires.

Coil the wires.
Use flatnose or bentnose pliers to coil each end of the wire toward the other, making three-and-a-half turns [PHOTO 2]. Leave approximately 3/4 in. (19mm) of straight wire between the two coils. 

Use the first coiled wire as a guide for coiling the remaining 24 wires, making sure your coils are uniform in shape and size.

You can also use a brass slide gauge or calipers to measure the coils, adjusting them as necessary to keep them consistent.

For a different look, use a planishing hammer to flatten and texture the coils.

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Make a U bend in the wire. Use round-nose pliers to make a U bend in the wire halfway between the coils [PHOTO 3]. Make the space in the center of the bend 3mm (1⁄8 in.) wide. Squeeze the wires 5mm (1/4 in.) from the U [PHOTO 4]. This will snug the wires while leaving space for another link to pass through the U. Repeat for each link.
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Bend the U into a hook. Use roundnose pliers to grasp the wire at the base of the coils. Bend the U over until it is parallel to the coils, creating a hook [PHOTO 5]. Adjust the wire so the hook is even on each side. Repeat for each link.

Connect the links. Thread the hook of one link under the coils and through the hook of another link [PHOTO 6]. 
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Continue until all the links are connected. If your chain is crooked, gently but firmly pull the chain, one link at a time [PHOTO 7]. This will help to define and straighten the chain.
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Shape the chain. Starting at one end, place your index finger underneath the chain to support it while pressing the coils down [PHOTO 8].

This will make a slight peak in the middle of the chain [PHOTO 9]. 

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Attach a toggle clasp. Open a 3mm-inside-diameter (ID) jump ring, and attach it to the hook at one end of the chain [PHOTO 10]. Close the jump ring. Attach two more jump rings, leaving the second one open. On the other end of the chain, attach a jump ring to the loop of the hook.
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Attach one half of the clasp to the jump ring on each end [PHOTO 11]. Close each jump ring. 

Attach 5–9mm ID jump rings to the toggle loop, if desired, so the fit of the bracelet is adjustable [PHOTO 12]. Tumble-polish or patinate the bracelet as desired.

Keep the coil going - make a pair of earrings!

1. Make three coil links as you did for the bracelet. Make a single-coil link by cutting a 2 1/2-in. (64mm) piece of wire. On one end of the wire, make a coil as you did for the coil links. On the other end, grasp the wire 5mm (1/4 in.) from the end, and bend the wire over the pliers to form a hook.

2. Connect the coil links to each other as you did for the bracelet. Attach the single-coil link by sliding its hook through the hook of the second coil link. Trim the excess wire with flush cutters.

3. Open a 5mm-inside-diameter jump ring and attach it to the hook of the top coil link. Close the jump ring. Attach another 5mm jump ring to the same hook and through the first jump ring. Open the loop of an ear wire, attach both jump rings, and close the loop. Adjust the links with your fingers as you did to shape the chain.

4. Make a second earring. Finish the earrings to match your chain.

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