E446 Antique handmade Link Chain Bracelet:


The chain is circa 1860 and is made of 9 karat yellow gold. Each link is 9 mm by 7 mm and each link is engraved on the front edge. The chain has its original period Spring Clasp. The length of the bracelet is 8 inches long.

Information on Chain making:
In the historical scope of jewelry, chain making by machine is a very new development. The time-honored chain making techniques used for centuries have endured, by the early 20th century it was rare to find jewelers willing to put in the laborious effort that handmade chains demanded. Today, regardless of the record-breaking high prices of gold, there is a renewed interest in reviving early chain making methods. A dedicated few luxury jewelry designers are embracing the time-consuming and labor-intensive methods of the past and adapting them to create elaborate handmade chains, often one link at a time.

One particular style that is enjoying resurgence is the classic loop-in-loop chain perfected during the epoch of ancient Rome. While tools and technology have changed greatly during the past two millennia, the basic process used in Rome circa 1 A.D. remains the same. A length of wire of a desired width or gauge is wound tightly around a dowel, the size of which is selected to give the wire links a specific interior diameter, thus determining the thickness of the chain.

Depending on the thickness of the wire, the coil is cut using either a jeweler’s saw or shears. Each individual link is then closed with pliers so that the cut ends are touching with no space in between. The precious metal purity will determine if the links are to be fused or soldered closed. Once closed, the links are formed with pliers into an oval by gently applying pressure to the interior in opposite directions, taking care not to stretch the metal. The oval links are then formed into a “U” shape and linked together. Variations on the classic loop-in-loop include doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the starting links by soldering them together in a cross or star pattern.  This technique results in a tighter, more intricate chain with little space in between the links.

Links made for the loop-in-loop chain can be formed into varying configurations with eye-pleasing results. One common method is to use two scribes at perpendicular intersections to fashion the individual links. Additional embellishments, such as flattening the ends of the links, a technique called planishing, can be done before the links are bent or folded. Other variations include fusing the ends of the links together to make a granule, then elongating and forming the links to create a chain with a granule inside each link.

Some designers will opt for including cast links in a handmade chain to achieve a preferred texture. Links can be cast to produce a wide variety of surface embellishments so that a handmade chain retains the designer’s aesthetic and harmonizes with other jewels in the collection. Cast links are typically cleaned either by hand, mechanical finishing machines such as tumblers, or a combination of both. Cast links can be assembled either by interspersing them among plain links or by joining them together. Handmade chains with cast links can be bold statement pieces. Plain links can be hammered to achieve a desirable finish. Hammering also can help conceal heat connections in the individual links, imparting a more uniform appearance while creating an attractive surface.

Another type of handmade chain is the woven chain, made by twisting a single strand of wire or multiple strands together.  In this method, very thin gauge wire is bent into a series of loops. The short end of the wire is bent across the loops and tightly wrapped around the middle of the loops. The loops are then adjusted with pliers to assure uniformity, and the long end is fed through one loop at a time, starting from the inside. A scribe is inserted into each new loop and the wire is pulled tight to give the woven chain an even appearance. The woven chain is often finished with end caps to conceal the twist ends.

It is not uncommon for a single inch of handmade chain to require hours of labor. While these methods may seem extravagant by today’s manufacturing standards, there is a growing appreciation among fine jewelry customers for the attention to detail and painstaking process that these chain making methods require. For many jewelry collectors, a chain is a mere afterthought; something from which to hang a pendant. But for discerning collectors, the handmade chain represents a tangible link to the illustrious history of jewelry, a connection to antiquity, and an appreciation of complex craftsmanship that refuses to disappear, even within a rapidly changing world.
This chain work bracelet is in excellent condition and strong to wear.

Price: $595.00