It’s been quite a long time since I last worked with sterling silver, in fact almost a year to the day, so I decided to test out a new Half Persian variant (if you can really call it that) and add some niobium into the mix, which I haven’t used before.
This is just HP 3-in-1 in two different ring sizes, but same wire gauge (19G – 1mm thick). The sterling silver rings are 5.75mm ID, and the niobium are 4mm ID.
I tend to forget how pretty sterling silver is, and the niobium was much nicer than I was expecting (they are rainbow coloured, which I chose owing to being the only one that came in 4mm ID, and because I originally planned to incorporate a volcano Swarovski crystal cosmic ring, which seemed to match well….that didn’t quite work with the rings sizes I had, but will try again next time!)
Niobium was quite different to work with than I was expecting (I don’t know why, but I thought it was going to be soft and heavy, like copper, but it seemed to me more like a cross between the silver and aluminium, in that it has the springiness of silver, but the same slight brittleness as anodized aluminium).
Anyway, I was quite pleased with the result and I’m hoping I can work with both metals a little more.
I’ve been wanting to experiment with square wire rinsg for a while and finally got around to buying some recently. I’ve pretty much just stuck with a few of the more basic chain weaves, just to get a feel for how it looks.
The bracelet pictured above is a single strand of European 6-in-1, with square copper and round stainless steel rings (a colour combo I have come to really like). Somewhat frustratingly, most of the places I’ve looked at to buy square wire rings don’t give you any dimensions for them other than wire gauge, which can make it difficult if you’re looking to mix and match rings with other materials. I pretty much just took a stab in the dark when I bought mine, since I had no specific intentions for them and just wanted to experiment.
In the end, I made a few bracelets – the one above, plus a Half Persian 3-in-1 and Byzantine in copper, then a Half Persian 4-in-1 in brass (that last one isn’t quite finsihed, so no pic of that just yet).
The square shape of the wire seems to make the closures a little more noticable for a saw cut ring, but it’s still fairly minimal and either way the seams can’t be felt – I’ll hopefully have the resources to do a nice Japanese 12-2 weave with square wire rings soon.
This is a project I’ve been meaning to attempt for a while. I definitely didn’t want to follow or copy someone else’s design (at least not intentionally), so this was something I just let develop as I wove.
There’s nothing particularly flash or elborate about it, although at one stage the European 4-in-1 patch was beaded – which looked great except for when the piece was actually being worn.
I used three different weaves for this – Half Persian 3-in-1 for the wrist section, European 4-in-1 for the triangular patch and ring, plus a simple 2-1 chain with rings in graduating sizes to connect the ring to the bracelet.
All of the rings are stainless steel, with 4 different sizes used – 7mm OD for the Half Persian 3-in-1 and the European 4-in-1 segment attached to it. 7mm, 6mm and 5mm rings for the 2-1 chain, with 4mm connecting rings, and 5mm rings were used to make the ring (which are about 20 gauge or .8mm, so the finished ring is quite fine and comfortable to wear).
With this particular design, there’s not too much room for including adjustability so it would generally have to be custom-made.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but when I was editing the above photo I couldn’t help but think without the ring attached it would be really easy to make this design into a g-string. Not sure if there’s a market for chain mail g-strings…at least probably not in winter (stainless steel can be a bit cold – you can see it’s winter in Australia by the goosebumps on my hand in the main pic!)
This tutorial has a lot of images – please be patient if it takes a few moments to load.
Although I don’t recommend attempting a Half Persian weave for the first one you learn, I decided to make 3-in-1 my first tutorial for a few different reasons – the main one being that it was the cause of a bit of frustration for me for a little while and I thought that if I made a tutorial while I am still very conscious of each step (rather than waiting until it became second nature), it might make for an easier-to-understand tutorial for those who may be grappling with it.
I will try to keep the steps as basic and thorough as I can so that it may hopefully still be used by complete beginners, but this tutorial does assume some basic, prior chain mail experience (opening and closing rings etc). I’ve also made it quite image-heavy in the hope that being able to see the progress from different angles will help make things clearer – NB my photography is not quite up to scratch (it’s extremely difficult taking photos of things I need two hands to do), which is another reason my explanations are as detailed as I could make them.
First up, requirements.
- 2 pairs of flat nosed pliers (essential for any mailler – ensure they they do not have any teeth and that they are comfortable to use).
- A bunch of rings – the amount you need will depend on the project you have in mind, but it’s always good to have more than you need. For this tutorial, I am using 18 gauge (1.2mm thick) 3/16s. 3/16 refers to the inner diameter, which is roughly 4.75mm. This makes the aspect ratio just under 4. I’m using aluminium rings in two different colours in order to make what I’m doing easier to see, with the new rings added into the step tinted gold. I strongly suggest using aluminium rings to learn this weave as it is soft enough to get a decent closure with one hand.
- Patience – it doesn’t matter how easy someone makes something look, learning something new always involves a little trial and error plus practice. (Whenever I get frustrated with a new weave I’m trying to learn, I set it down and do something else for a while).
Start with at least 6 open rings and 7 closed rings. You may wish to open/close more than that in advance, but I recommend at least that many so that you don’t have to interrupt the weave before it becomes stable.
Place two closed rings on an open ring and close it.
At this point, you need to arrange the rings the correct way. Turn the two rings to the right, so that they overlap and the ring on the left is above the ring on the right, as pictured.
Now you need to take hold of the right-most ring (fingertips is fine) and twist it downwards – basically flip it vertically 180° so that the top of the ring goes to the bottom, but ensure that it is still underneath the left-most ring.
It should look like the picture below.
You can see that each green ring faces one another with an inward slant, a bit like this / \
Now we need to add the next set of rings.
You can see that where the two lower (green) rings overlap, there is an ‘eye’ shape. You now need to pass a new ring through that eye without passing through the silver ring.
To make this step easier, I keep hold of the start of the chain so that I do not lose the arrangement. I place one closed ring on an open ring, then pick it up with my pliers.
Ensure that you have gripped the open ring in a firm and comfortable way, and that the pliers are positioned in a spot that will allow you to manouvre the new, open ring through the set of rings you have arranged.
The open ring is attached from the right and comes up through the eye. Most importantly, you need to ensure that it does not pass through the third (silver) ring. The following two pictures show the new ring added – the first one without the closed ring attached, the second one with the closed ring attached.
Here is the same stage from a top-down view. Remember that while I am actually doing this, I hold the start of the chain so that the arrangement isn’t lost.
The next step is to get that ring closed. Continue to hold the chain so that you keep the rings in the correct position, then using either your pliers or fingers, rotate the open ring so that the opening is in a position where you can use the pliers to grip both sides.
Position the pliers at each side and squeeze just firmly enough to get the ring closed.
This doesn’t have to be a perfect closure, just good enough to continue working on the chain – you can go back once it’s stable and neaten the closures. Also, once you have a clear idea of how this weave is formed, you’ll have a better idea of how to keep it that way and can then use materials that will have to be closed using two hands.
You should now have a set of rings that looks like the picture below.
If the new, closed ring on the end is in the incorrect position like mine is, you will need to re-position it so that it’s underneath the ring before it. You may also need to flip it 180 as you did with the first one so that it has the right slant. Once everything is in the right position, it should look like this – I’m showing it from three different angles so that you can see the arrangement as clearly as possible.
Adding the next ring set is slightly trickier than the first ring set, as the eye that you need to pass the new ring through is a bit more condensed because it has more rings at each side.
Again, while continuing to hold the arrangement of rings so far firmly in place, pick up another 1 open / 1 closed ring pair. The process is exactly the same as the previous step, it’s just that the eye opening will be a little narrower. Again, it’s important that the open rings you add do not pass through anything except the two rings that form the eye. Once you’ve passed the new ring up through the eye, you should have something that looks like this.
And when correctly arranged with all rings in the right position, it will look like this.
I close this ring the same way I closed the previous ring, keeping hold of the chain so that the arrangement isn’t lost.
You can see the pattern quite clearly now, and at this stage I would consider the chain stable enough to be set down. If you don’t feel confident to do that just yet, another ring set or two will definitely make the chain stable enough. From this point onwards, it is simply a matter of adding ring sets until the chain reaches the required length, and you can now quite safely let the chain go and use two hands and two sets of pliers to close the newly added rings.
When your chain has reached the desired length, you finish it off by simply adding one last open ring without putting a closed ring on it.
I hope this tutorial has helped you learn this fantastic and very versatile weave – if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about this tutorial, please feel free to leave a comment – I’ll respond as soon as I can.
This weave proved to be a little difficult for me to learn, primarily due to the unstability of the ring arrangement when first started, as well as misunderstanding exactly where each newly added ring goes.
I’m really glad I finally got the hang of it, though, because it’s a great looking weave and very versatile.
The green and silver bracelet is made from 18 gauge 3/16 aluminium rings, (1.2mm thick, 4.75 inner diameter), so have an AR of 4.
The silver chain is made from stainless steel with a wire thickness of 1mm and an ID of 5mm, so this one uses an AR of 5.
I’ve decided that since this has proven to be the most difficult for me to learn thus far, it’d make the best weave for me to use for my first tutorial – hopefully that works out the way I think it will! Look out for it in a week or so.
Next up for me to learn is Half Persian 4-in-1. I’ve been putting it off as most tutorials start with lines like ‘one of the more difficult weaves‘, but it’s also a really attractive weave so fingers crossed it doesn’t take me too long to learn.