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Byzantine Bracelet

Susan Midlarsky demonstrates how to weave silver jump rings together to form this Byzantine bracelet.

Materials and Tools:

power drill
size 31 knitting needle
rotary tool or flexible shaft tool
diamond cutting bit
bowl of water
safety goggles
dust mask
stainless steel mixed shot
6' of 22-gauge soft sterling silver wire
dish soap
flush cutting wire cutters
metal file
needle nose pliers
jump ring tool
lobster claw clasp
16-gauge silver wire
round nose pliers
2 round beads
2 bead caps
didymium glasses
Moretti rods in clear blue, light green, clear, green, white, clear purple
light green stringer
metal pick
lamp work torch with fuel
steel mandrel
bead release
fiber blanket
annealing kiln
diamond bead reamer

Figure B


Floral lampwork bead

1. Prepare mandrel with bead release, allowing time to dry.

2. Light the torch and make a base bead with clear blue glass.

3. Apply dots and lines with light green glass (figure B).

4. Pull dots and lines into the vines with cold stringer.

5. Encase vines with clear glass.

Figure C

6. Apply three green dots at equal distances from each other around the bead. These will be the centers of the flowers.

7. Apply five white dots around each green dot. Melt them down mostly into the bead.

8. Add a clear purple dot on each white dot (figure C).

Figure D

9. Heat each flower and plunge the center with a metal pick (figure D). This will pull the dots into flower shapes.

10. Encase flowers, making sure to cast glass over the flower centers to make a nice bubble in the center.

Figure E

11. After the glow has disappeared, place the bead in fiber blanket until cool, then batch anneal, or anneal directly in kiln if possible (figure E).

12. Clean the bead after it has cooled with diamond bead reamer and water.

Figure G

Jump rings

13. Place the knitting needle in a drill chuck and tighten.

14. Wind wire around the needle to start it. Check the direction that it turns to make sure it will wind.

15. Holding the wire in non-dominant hand, turn the drill on a very slow speed to wind the coil of wire onto the knitting needle. Wind two to three inches of coil at a time (figure G).

16. Remove the coil from the knitting needle.

17. Put on a facemask and safety glasses.

18. While holding the coil with needle nose pliers, dip the rotary tool into water for lubrication. Caution: Do not drip water into the motor.

Figure H

19. Following direction of tool rotation, gently allow the rotary tool to cut into the coil (figure H). Don't allow it to cut through the pliers.

20. Separate jump rings as they are made.

21. Use flush cutters or a file to remove any remaining burrs.

22. Put jump rings into tumbler with shot. Cover shot and rings with water. Add a drop of dish soap.

23. Run the tumbler for about an hour to de-burr and polish rings.

24. Open the tumbler and run water into it until it becomes less foamy.

25. Pour out excess water without spilling any shot pieces.

26. Place a towel over the tumbler opening and drain the remaining water.

27. Place a towel on the counter and spill out shot onto it, spreading it to dry.

28. Pick out rings from the shot.

Figure I

Byzantine woven chain

29. Measure wrist using a piece of string to indicate the wrist circumference.

30. Place the string against a ruler to determine the bracelet's length.

31. Using pliers and a jump ring tool, close the two jump rings by twisting and pushing the ends of the rings together.

32. Add two more jump rings to this pair, then two more for a total chain of three pairs of closed jump rings (figure I).

33. Hold first pair of rings. Fold down top pair of rings over either side of the middle pair.

34. Pushing apart the rings you folded down, push up and together the middle rings. Push a new ring through the newly created hole.

35. Add another ring to this new ring.

36. Add a pair of rings to the new end of the chain, then another pair to the end of that.

37. Repeat steps 33-36. Congratulations, you've completed one segment!

38. Keep weaving until you've made a length of chain that is about 1/2 inch shorter than half the total wrist length.

Figure J

39. Make another chain segment that's the same length as the first one (figure J).

40. To make the pendant, cut a 3 inch length of 16-gauge wire.

41. Make a wrapped loop using the round nose pliers on one end. Cut off excess wire.

Figure K

42. Put on one round bead, then bead cap, then lamp work focal, then bead cap, and other round bead (figure K).

43. Make wrapped loop on other end of pendant. Cut off excess wire.

44. Attach pendant to chain segments by opening rings on one end of each segment and closing them through the wrapped loops.

45. Add a clasp to one end of the bracelet.

46. To add length, make an extender chain by adding single or double rings to the other end of the chain.

47. Clasp chain closed around wrist. Enjoy wearing your silver Byzantine bracelet!

Susan Midlarsky from Waltham, Mass., is a talented jewelry maker and dedicated middle school teacher with a continued quest for knowledge. Once she even drove all the way to Ohio just to take private lessons from one of the most respected lamp workers in the country! She shows how to make a stylish Byzantine woven chain with a lampwork glass bead pendant.


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