Jewelry Tinkering – Chainmaille and Charms

When I first got into Wire Work for jewelry making, one of the first skills I learned was how to make basic jewelry components. Things like necklace closures, earring pins, bales and the like. One of these components was Jump Rings, which are typically used for things like attaching pendants to cord necklaces, adding charms onto chains, making chains or links, and so on.

Jump Rings are easy to make, you just take a stiffer gauged wire, wrap it tightly along an even tube/dowel/mandrel. I have been known to use almost anything, even pens, if it is the right size, and evenly cylindrical. Once you have a Coil, you slide it off carefully, maintaining its tightness, and then take snips, and cut it straight along the whole coil. You will end up with a bunch of tiny rings.

The coiling part of this video is pretty much how I do it, just without a clamp, but I might try that some time with a higher gauged wire, like what he uses.

I don’t use wire cutters to cut my coils, as they tend to have only one sharp, tapered edge, and then the other side is straight. This causes your Jump Rings to have a weird little piece missing, so I like to use snips, either tin snips or sheet snips(for metal sheets).

Brokedown Vanity - Jewlery Tinkering - Chainmaille and Charms

Why the need for making your own jump rings? well you can get different sizes, use different gauges, and use different metals. Finding pre-made packs can be hard if you want 5 different sizes in say 3 different colours.

Why the need for all the sizes and all the colours? Well along with their practical purpose, Jump Rings are also really useful for making Chainmaille.

One of my favourite chainmaille stitches is the Helm Weave. Normally it is used as a chain, or as part of a big piece, say for a vest. I learned how to do it in the round, which makes shapes that remind me of celtic symbols. These are called Helm Circles sometimes, and you can keep them as a circle, if they are tightly woven, or you can make a looser fit, and they can turn into bead caps, almost.

Pictured Above: Circular ones are the Helm Weave in a Round, The Flowery ones are the Helm Flowers. I added on a Clock Arm to the one, as a charm almost.  The little whirls are called Rosettes. You can make chains out of them, or just add things onto them to make them into charms or earring dangles.

Here is an example of how to Helm Weave. Since I was working with very small rings, I only used a single jump ring as a spacer, but I do have the front and back doubled up.

I couldn’t really find a tutorial on exactly how I make the Helm Weave in a Round. The one above is sort of like mine, but not exactly. Once I figure out Youtube a bit more, maybe I’ll do my own tutorial.

I will update this with pictures, once I figure out how to even take them and make them make sense, or with a speed lapse video maybe, of me doing it. I haven’t learned video editing yet, so I am reluctant to try to do an actual tutorial at this point. I’ll figure something out for you all though.

Here is how to make a Rosette. They are super easy, are simple and look really pretty, at least I think so.

Brokedown Vanity - Jewlery Tinkering - Chainmaille and Charms - Storage

I normally make a bunch of stuff in a batch, and to keep it all together, I normally just stick a safety pin in all the rings. This keeps them together and doesn’t make a big mess of them in my storage case, until I figure out what I want to do with them.

I am thinking all the Helm Circles will be kept as pendants, the Helm Flowers I might make as earrings or pendants, still haven’t totally decided. I kind of want to make either a charm bracelet or earrings, with the Rosettes. They would make cute wine dangles too, but I don’t drink wine, or have wine parties, so it would be sort of useless for me, haha.

I hope you enjoyed this one! I do like sharing this part of my life, it has never been a thing many people have known about, other than those I have made gifts for.

‘Til Later


2 thoughts on “Jewelry Tinkering – Chainmaille and Charms

    1. Thank-you. As I sort out all my stuff into my new office/project room, I have been finding things, and just want to play. I’ve never really had a place to share this sort of thing before, so I find it rather fun.


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