Saturday, November 5, 2011

What to Do with Weak Chains?

By on Saturday, November 05, 2011 11 Comments

linked chain, snake, ball styles
Reader Question
Marsha : Pearl,  I have a question for you.  I have problems finding quality chain for the silverware pendants that I make. 

I have been buying silver chains on a spool or card from places like Blue Moon or Fire Mountain and the small links come apart.  I don't want my chains to break, that makes me look bad even though I didn't make the chain.  People want the smaller links too, not the larger ones.  


Do you have any suggestions? I don't know if I should be buying from a certain place at higher price??  I am really confused about this  Does anyone else have this problem?  

I agree with Marsha. Quality is certainly an issue but there are also limitations to fine chains. The wire gauge used has to be fine and therefore won't be as strong.  Consider slightly bigger links which use thicker wire.

My solution to this perennial problem though is to offer other chain alternatives which still look dainty but are more robust.  The snake chain as well as the ball chain shown above are my two favorites.  If you're up to the work, try making viking knit necklaces with 28-30G wire (see link below).

What's your solution?


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11 comments:

  1. Viking knit is a good choice but does add a lot of work hours to a piece. This is one of the reasons I use leather now.

    I have also found Fire Mountain's quality to have gone downhill recently. I just had to return the pin findings I bought from them. they were of such poor quality, they could not be used. Much of what they offer is made in China and is just poor quality. I did notice that Rio Grande now tells you where everything in their catalog is made so that you can make a conscious choice of where to buy from.
    Making loop in loop chains is also another option but that adds time as well if you are trying to keep prices down. Loop in Loops though can be stunning.

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  2. Yes, FMG's approach is offering low cost prices which unfortunately translates to poor quality too.

    Loop in loop chains are even more laborious to make. But they are lovely as you say. For other readers who might be wondering what these are - see this tutorial here :

    http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.cgi?key=8975

    Many people I find still prefer a metal chain to leather or cord so like Marsha, I buy ready made chains too.

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  3. Ya...lot of people do prefer metal chains to leather and wire/cord crochet which I offer then at times. But not many realise that well made chains are expensive,and they dont want to pay much for a pendant on a chain but complain when the chain is big/clunky or breaks down if its too dainty.

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  4. You can buy chain with soldered links in bulk, and put your own clasps on. The little loop on the clasps is usually stronger than an unsoldered link or jump ring and will open.

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  5. Thanks for the heads up on FMG. I noticed the decline in quality, too. Off to Rio Grande...

    By accident I discovered something that works with people's willingness to buy the better quality chains. I display a poor quality and a better quality side by side with a little, fun sign that invites people to handle the chains and see why one costs more than the other. It works!

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  6. Thanks Leslie for the wonderful suggestion! I presume these are a little more expensive but might be worth it.

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  7. What a neat idea, Cate! Must try that sometime.

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  8. I find that rolo chains are stronger than curb of cable chains, because the links are generally as wide as they are tall. It also gives the chain a more solid look!

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  9. Excellent suggestion, Isette! I'll check out rolo chains the next time I order.

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  10. Some people prefer to use their own chains. They know how much they cost that way. Offer just the pendant with out a chain and then offer a separate chain.

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  11. Another great suggestion! I am tending towards providing an inexpensive cord necklace with a pendant but make sure the bail is generously sized so people can swap out.

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