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Fleur de Link necklace

Fashion perfectly bound wire links in this flower-inspired chain.
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Tired of wearing the same chain or slide with every pendant in your collection? This classy wire-wrapped chain gives you the perfect excuse to step beyond the ordinary. Fit for any occasion, it can be dressed up or down depending on the focal element you choose. The pendant is connected to a central jump ring, so you can easily interchange it with other centerpieces.

Curvaceous wire tendrils give this design a lively, playful feel, and the entire chain is created using only 18-gauge wire. The finished chain is soaked in liver of sulfur for a dark patina that gives the strand its vintage character. Saving the best for last, you’ll add a pendant of your choice using a wrapped-loop connector.

The 18-inch (45.72cm) necklace shown above is made up of four major elements: six two-link units, one clasp, a centerpiece unit, and the pendant (stone). These segments are all joined with handmade triple split rings and jump rings.

SUPPLIES 

  • Sterling-silver wire: 18-gauge, round, half-hard, approximately 140 inches (3.6m)
  • Sterling-silver wire: 22-gauge, round, half-hard, 2–3 inches (5.08–7.62cm)
  • Stone or bead with drilled hole large enough to fit 22-gauge wire (or other pendant of your choice)
  • Hook (optional)
  • Cylindrical forms, 6mm and 7mm
  • Roundnose pliers
  • Chainnose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Jeweler’s saw
  • Wooden bench pin or workbench
  • Files or sanding tool
  • Soldering materials (optional)
  • Liver of sulfur (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the Connectors

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PHOTO 1

Make eight triple split rings

(PHOTO 1)  Make a 6mm-diameter triple split ring by coiling a 2 1/2-inch (6.35cm) piece of 18-gauge wire around a 6mm cylindrical form three times. Begin and end on the same side of the form and trim any excess wire. Repeat this step to make a total of eight triple split rings. Set them aside.

Tip!
If you use roundnose pliers during this step, take into account the tapering of the jaws. In order to get a coil that doesn’t taper, you’ll need to draw a line around one jaw of the pliers and consistently slide your wire to that spot before wrapping each coil.

Make nine jump rings

Form nine 7mm-diameter jump rings using 18-gauge wire by first coiling a 9-inch (22.86cm) piece of wire around a 7mm cylindrical form nine times. Then use a jeweler’s saw to slice a line down one side of the wire coils to create several jump rings. Set them aside. For a better understanding of this process, see Get a jump on jump rings, at the end of this article.

Create the Two-Link Units

Cut and shape the wires for one unit

Cut two 3 1/2-inch (8.89cm) pieces of 18-gauge wire. Bend one of the pieces in half around the thick part of a roundnose pliers so that it forms a U shape. Bend the other wire in half into a sharp right angle using the edge of a chainnose pliers. Slide one triple split ring onto the U-shaped wire.

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PHOTO 2

Bind the wires together

Hold the right-angle wire against the U-shaped wire so that the right angle is about 1/2 inch (1.27cm) away from the base of the U and resembles a backward L. Grasp across both wires using chainnose pliers, positioning the pliers a few millimeters to the left of the right-angle bend (PHOTO 2).

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PHOTO 3
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PHOTO 4
Wrap the free end of the right-angle wire (the wrapping wire) around the other wires three times, ending on the same side where you began (PHOTOS 3 and 4).
Shape decorate coils
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PHOTO 5
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PHOTO 6
There should now be three wire ends sticking out from the binding wrap. With each of the outside wires, use roundnose and chainnose pliers to form two outward-rolling coils (PHOTO 5). Kink the center wire slightly to one side using chainnose pliers (PHOTO 6).
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PHOTO 7

Form the center wire into a large coil with an interior loop large enough to accommodate a jump ring (PHOTO 7).

 

Form the second link of the unit
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PHOTO 8
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PHOTO 9

Cut two more 3 1/2-inch (8.89cm) pieces of wire; form a U shape with one of the wires and a right angle with the other as done before. Loop the U-shaped wire through the triple split ring of the link from Photo 7 (PHOTO 8). Now finish making the link by adding a binding wrap and forming the decorative coils (PHOTO 9).

Repeat. Make a total of six of these two-link units.

Form the Clasp

Make the clasp pieces 

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PHOTO 10
(PHOTO 10) Use a 5-inch (12.70cm) piece of wire to create a U shape. Do not slide a triple split ring onto the U-shaped wire. Use a 3 1/2-inch (8.89cm) piece of wire and position a binding wrap 3/4 inch (1.91cm) away from the base of the U-shape (rather than 1/2 inch [1.27cm] away). This creates a longer U-shaped loop. Bend the U-shaped loop around a cylindrical form to create a hook.
For the adjoining piece of the clasp, make the first link of a two-link unit without adding a triple split ring. The hook end of one clasp piece will slide into the loop end of the other piece. Do not attach them yet.

Create the Centerpiece Unit
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PHOTO 11

Form the centerpiece unit

(PHOTO 11) This looks similar to the two-link units you made earlier; however, the second link is not looped through the triple split ring of the first—the two links are formed independently. While forming each link, slide a triple split ring onto the U-shaped wire before completing the binding wraps and decorative coils. When finished making both links, connect their triple split rings with one jump ring, which will carry the center drop.

Assemble and Apply Finishing Touches

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PHOTO 12

Assemble the necklace

Position three of your two-link units in a horizontal line with the coiled ends touching. Connect the three units by linking their large coils together with jump rings (PHOTO 12). Repeat with the remaining three two-link units (do not connect the second strand to the first, however).
Position the centerpiece unit between the two strands you just made and connect it to them using jump rings.
Connect one clasp piece to each end using jump rings.

Solder the jump rings closed (optional)

Patinate the necklace (optional)

Use liver of sulfur to give the necklace an antiqued look. If you choose to do this, patinate the piece of 22-gauge wire from the next step as well.

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PHOTO 13

Attach the center drop

(PHOTO 13) Cut a 2- to 3-inch (5.08–7.62cm) piece of 22-gauge wire. Form a small coil on one end of the wire. Slide a stone or bead of your choice onto the wire until it rests against the coil. Create a wrapped-loop connector around the center jump ring of the necklace. Cut the remaining wire tail for a clean look, or coil the tail and drape it over the front of the stone for added embellishment.
For a more easily interchangeable pendant, attach a second jump ring or wire hook to the center jump ring. Attach your pendant to the second jump ring and carefully open and close the ring to interchange pendants. If you choose to attach a hook, simply hang your pendant from the hook.

Get a jump on jump rings

Want to learn how to make a whole pile of jump rings in just a few minutes? Read on for an easy and economical method every wireworker should know.
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Determine what diameter jump rings you’d like and find or buy a cylindrical form of that size (a straw, pencil or pen, metal rod, wooden dowel, etc.). Tightly coil a length of wire around the form until it resembles a spring, making sure neighboring loops are touching. Wrap the spring in masking tape to hold its shape. Draw a straight line down the center of the taped spring and remove it from the form.
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Create a small groove in a wooden bench pin or workbench using files or sanding tools. Brace the spring against the groove and cut along your drawn line using a jeweler’s saw.
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Remove the tape to release the jump rings. Shape them slightly using two pairs of pliers.
Have a question or comment? Please contact us at editor@FacetJewelry.com
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