I’ve been trying to expand the line of accessories I make and wallet chains was something suggested to me by someone else (which I’m thankful for as I know absolutely nothing about men’s fashion accessories and wallet chains never would have occurred to me). I can see these type of items have the potential to be quite diverse, so I’m glad to have something for men other than jewellery that I can experiment with.
The first two I made are just simple, unadorned chains – the one up top is a stainless steel box weave, which was one of the first weaves I learned but haven’t used it before as I didn’t find it particularly attractive for jewellery. It’s a rather quick and easy chain though, and I quite like it for this type of accessory.
The second one was a weave I’ve never tried before – Captive Inverted Round, in stainless steel and brass.
This weave really frustrated me. The technique is so simple, at the very least in theory, but I fumbled with it consistently and struggled to develop a fluent technique (usually, when I struggle with a new weave, after I’ve learned how to do it properly it doesn’t take long before I can construct it without making errors or fumbling with ring placement, but I found no matter what I did, the captive rings were always precariously positioned and prone to slipping out of place while I tried to put the outer rings back into place, making the weave more time consuming than it really should be – for me, anyway).
Still, as I had originally intended to have two captive rings in the cages but didn’t have enough brass rings (plus it made the chain a little stiff and I don’t like weaves to get the better of me…), I decided to make a necklace using copper rings in place of the brass.
A slightly smoother process, but those rings remain slippery little suckers! For this chain, I used 7mm OD stainless steel rings (1mm thick), and 5.6mm OD copper rings (supposedly 0.8mm thick, but I think they were actually slightly thinner).
I’ve been wanting to make a piece using this weave for a while and finally got around to it last week. I thought the pictures I had seen looked quite masculine, but I think mine turned out a little more on the feminine side – possibly due to ring size.
I used 20 gauge wire for both – the large rings are bright aluminium with a 5mm ID and the smaller rings are jewellery brass with a 3mm ID (ARs of 6.25 and 3.75 respectively). I’m not sure how much smaller I could have gone with the brass rings, but the outside rings are a little loose and flip outwards, giving the units a bit more of a lacier, or flowery, look than I expected (the tutorial I followed to learn this weave is here, and if you check it out, you can see that the weave looks a little more masculine when held together as shown in the CGI images – which, as this is only my second attempt at the weave, I’m not 100% sure is actually possible, but my result may be due to the springback of the brass rings used as they were definitely the recommended size otherwise).
The great thing about Camelot is that if you learn this weave, you basically learn 3 weaves – the basis is Helm (although Helm would have two rings through the centre of the larger rings), which builds to Celtic Visions before becoming Camelot, so a really good way to expand your repertoire.
This slight variation on the standard Byzantine weave probably has an official name, but I’ve been referring to it as honeycomb due to the pattern created by the larger rings.
I spotted a wide cuff bracelet using the same technique (one large connector ring to join Byzantine strands) and decided to give it a go by sight. The bracelet I was working from had used rings not much larger than the rings in the byzantine segments, but I had a bag of mixed brass rings that needed to be used for something, so this is the end result.
I used 6mm stainless steel rings (1mm thick, so an ID of 4mm and AR of 4). I’m not too sure what the size of the brass rings are, but at a semi-educated guess I’d say they’re 18 gauge (1.2mm) with an ID that’s roughly 7mm.
After figuring out how to construct it, I suspect this can be done with connecting rings of almost any size that is either equal to or greater than the rings used for the byzantine segments, as long as the gauge isn’t too thick to pass through the ends and sides. Obviously, it may not work very well with rings that are too large, unless you wanted an even lacier look.
I’m starting to warm up to using gold-toned material, though I think my preference will always be silver. Brass looks great but seems to be highly susceptible to being marked by the pliers, so not a material you want to play around with too much.
I finished this off with a simple gold-tone toggle.