Chain Q and A
This excellent jewelry making Q&A will teach you everything you always wanted to know about chain: styles of chain, length of chain necklaces, how to cut chain, safety chain for bracelets, copper, gunmetal and brass chain, and much more!
1. There are so many different styles of chain available. Do you have a resource that defines the differences between them all?
We have a Chain Glossary available that outlines the differences between all of the chain styles that we carry.
2. How do I decide on the length for my chain necklace?
First consider the look you want to achieve, as well as the neckline of the dress or top that will be worn with the necklace. A bead board is a useful tool for designing a necklace before taking the time to construct it. Following are guidelines for popular necklace lengths:
Choker: 14-16 inch
This length usually falls just above the collarbone, which displays a necklace beautifully on your neck.
Princess: 18-20 inch
This length is the most popular and is ideal for most women. Princess length can be easily dressed up or down. Its versatility accommodates many different styles of beads and techniques.
Matinee: 20-24 inch
Like the princess length, the matinee is a popular, classic choice. It’s an ideal length for a necklace worn over clothing or with a low-cut top.
Opera: 26-35 inch
A long, opera-length necklace offers many jewelry options. Wear it as a single strand, or double it as a choker-length necklace. Depending on the beads, this length might also work as a bracelet when wrapped multiple times.
Rope: more than 35 inches
This length hangs extremely low, sometimes just above the waistline. With such a length, you can make a multi-strand necklace or bracelet when wrapped multiple times.
3. What is an appropriate length for a bracelet made with chain?
An average bracelet length is about 7-8 inches including the clasp.
4. What is an appropriate length for an anklet made with chain?
An average anklet length is about 9 inches including the clasp.
5. Can I use scissors to cut my chain links?
We do not recommend cutting chain with regular scissors because the chain is metal and this will damage your scissors. We recommend that you use wire cutters.
6. I need to cut multiple pieces of chain all the same length, what is the fastest way to do this?
If you want to cut pieces of chain all the same length quickly and efficiently check out our beading technique for step-by-step instructions on cutting chain efficiently.
7. What is a safety chain?
A safety chain is a small piece of chain that you attach to the ends of a bracelet or necklace clasp. This will add extra security and will prevent the jewelry from falling off if the clasp unfastens inadvertently.
8. How can I make a safety chain for my jewelry?
You're going to want to use a piece of open cable chain. For a bracelet, use a piece long enough to allow your hand to pass through the unclasped bracelet. For a necklace, use a piece long enough to allow room for your head to fit through the unclasped necklace. Use jump rings or split rings to attach each end of the chain to each side of the magnetic clasp. Even if the clasp unfastens inadvertently, the chain will keep the jewelry from falling off.
9. What is an extender chain?
An extender chain is a piece of open cable chain that will adjust your necklace or bracelet to its desired length.
10. I've finished my jewelry and I've made the length too short, what can I do to make it longer without taking it apart?
You can add an extender chain to your jewelry to lengthen it. With an open jump ring attach an additional piece of open cable chain to one end of your jewelry, if you are not using a lobster claw clasp or a spring ring clasp on the other end; you can switch the clasp out and connect the new one (lobster claw or spring ring clasp) with an open jump ring. After this is done you can connect the clasp to the desired length of extender chain in the back. When constructing a chain necklace or bracelet you can avoid having this trouble by making sure that one end of the chain is longer than the other to use for the extender part of your jewelry. Another way extender chains are used is by adding chain to both ends of your piece. If you have a piece that is too short add the same length of chain to both ends using jump rings. To finish, add any clasp you choose for the ends of the extender chain.
11. The clasp on my chain necklace keeps sliding toward the front. How do I prevent this from happening?
If a clasp is too heavy for a necklace, gravity may cause it to slide forward. As a general rule, the clasp should be lighter than the necklace. When using chain, a possible cause is that the beads or components are not attached directly to the chain links. If the chain is strung through the beads or components in your necklace, they will tend to slide around, making it easier for the clasp to shift also. If all the pieces in a necklace are secured to the chain links, the clasp will stay in back. Another way to prevent this is to add a bead to a small piece of chain that you can hang from your clasp. The bead with chain will hang down the back of your neck weighing down the clasp so it won't slide forward.
12. Why does copper chain turn my skin green?
Copper can react with perspiration on your skin to form copper sulfate (the green discoloration). Loose-fitting jewelry is far less likely to discolor your skin than a tight-fitting piece because the copper needs sweat to react. To reduce the reaction with your skin, remove copper jewelry before taking a shower or washing your hands, and limit the time that the jewelry is worn. You may also use Jewelry Shield to keep the copper from coming in contact with your skin.
13. Will gunmetal or brass chain turn my skin green?
Brass, bronze and gunmetal's are copper alloys, so they could potentially discolor your skin, but they are not as likely to as pure copper is. To avoid this reaction, use Jewelry Shield to coat the clasp.
14.Why did my chain tarnish?
Tarnish is a layer of corrosion that develops on many metals, especially silver. Airborne chemicals including sulfur are the main cause of tarnish. Jewelry exposed to open air tarnishes more quickly than jewelry stored in a closed, acid-free container. Metals in more humid climates will tarnish more quickly then others. Tarnished metal has a dull, darkened appearance.
15. How can I prevent my chain from tarnishing?
FusionBeads.com offers many options that can help reduce tarnishing of your metal chains. Chain stored in stack jars, storage boxes or plastic bags will help reduce tarnishing. If you use a zip-top plastic bag, remove as much of the air from the bag as possible before sealing it tightly.