Making a Hand Forged Chain Necklace

Using a jump-ring maker, I form a lot of jump rings, for this necklace, 14 gauge Argentium silver wire.

Jump Ring making process

I use argentium, which is a type of sterling silver because it can be fused and also is somewhat more resistant to tarnish. It is, however, about 10% more expensive than regular sterling silver wire.

About 2/3rds of the jump rings are fused closed.

Using pliers, I stretch the fused round rings into oval shape

The oval links are hammered on a steel bench block with a small ball peen hammer. This both strengthens the links and makes them reflect more light after they are polished.

Two hammered oval links are connected with open jump ring. This round ring is then stretched into an oval and hammered.

Additional links are added 2 at a time….one oval link and one open round link….to the previous oval link, and the round link is soldered closed, stretched and hammered. I use solder when attaching the links to avoid melting previous links by heating them to fusing temperature, I continue adding links until the chain is of the desired length. A hook clasp is soldered to an end link.

The chain is placed in an acid “pickle” to remove flux and oxidation.

Finally the chain is polished using a rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot.