I love the look of chainmaille (duh) but necklaces can be a bit daunting to make. For one thing, all that silver (or copper!) adds up in cost, making a simple chain necklace out of most people’s price range. And while I love working on maille, 16-18″+ of Byzantine weave gets a little boring!! Finally, there’s the weight…unless you use micro-rings, you’re going to have a necklace that could double as an anchor if you are ever out in a boat and forget to bring one along.
This week, I found a solution that solves for all of the above – and it looks great too! I’d really love to wear this with an open color blouse…any color will do, since all you’ll see is the silver of the Byzantine weave!
Leather and Chainmaille Choker
1.5mm Greek Leather – 22″ (for 16-18″ necklace)
Sterling silver lobster clasp
Sterling silver soldered jump ring (I used 4mm)
20-22g sterling silver wire (round, dead soft or half hard)
Sterling silver jump rings for chainmaille weave
Cut leather in half.
Fold one piece of leather in half, so you have a loop at one end. Use the 20-22g wire to wrap the loose ends together tightly. Add the clasp to the wrap and rewrap to secure. Use a pliers or crimper to secure the ends of the wire. Run your fingers over the wire to ensure there are no ends poking out!
Repeat with second section of leather, adding the soldered jump ring instead of the clasp. Add one 5/32″ 18g jump ring to the soldered jump ring for easier fastening.
Begin your chainmaille weave, using one of the leather sections as your anchor. I made a Byzantine weave, using 5/32″ 18g jump rings. Try a 2-in-2 weave if you are just starting out, or a Jens Pind Linkage if you feel daring!
The leather sections total 11″, so make your chainmaille long enough to finish the length of the necklace. My necklace is 17″, so my chainmaille section was 6″ long.
Attach the end of the chainmaille to the second piece of leather.
To finish the leather, I wrapped the 20-22g wire around the loop end (nearest the chainmaille) 3 times, and secured the ends. The loop is now tight enough that the leather doesn’t look sloppy, but loose enough to allow the maille section to move a little with your body.
I also think this would look great with the chainmaille oxidized, but keep in mind that you’ll want to create your chainmaille section OFF the leather, oxidize, tumble and then attach the rings to the leather sections.
You can easily adjust the leather length for a shorter or longer necklace. I also think the black Greek Leather would look great with copper – just substitute copper jump rings and wire!