Monday, December 17, 2012

Floating Crystal Chainmaille Necklace

This necklace was featured in one of the beading or wire magazines several years ago; sorry - I can't be more specific than that - can't find the pattern anymore.

It uses 16g sterling silver rings, which are fairly large, and each unit "captures" an 6 mm Swarovski cube. I chose indicolite (one of my favorite colors). The crystal cubes appear to float in the weave, so it is called a floating crystal necklace.

I was so crazy about this look that I cut more rings, and made a matching bracelet and earrings.

Then the trouble started - the crystals don't want to stay where you put them.

They stay for a little while, but then they start to slip out of their "cages", sliding into the unit below them (gravity-wise) - and the more time they have, the more they make their escape! They turn sideways just a tiny bit from the position they are supposed to maintain, and can actually slip through 5 or 6 cages in one move if the cages below them are already empty. (I actually watched it happen)

About a week after I made this necklace, I decided to wear it, and discovered that almost all of the crystals had slipped out of place. I tried to manipulate them back into position without deconstructing the rings, but that didn't work. Weird, because the little chainmaille cages obviously weren't the tight fit they purported to be.... but anyway.

I toyed with the idea of taking it apart and re-doing it, but figured it would probably just do the same thing again, so why bother? So I ended up just taking it apart, and recycling the rings and crystals into other projects.

I followed the patterns instructions exactly - same gauge, same ID (inner diameter) -  not sure what the problem was. The crystals appeared to fit quite snugly into the little "cages" - and I really believe that if I had altered the AR (aspect ratio) at all, the cubes wouldn't have fit anymore.

Sigh ... I really loved this idea!


Halinka said...

This is really beautiful.I am very much impressed with this necklace.The crystals are 'closed' in the chain-tunnel made from metal,circular elements.Seriously fantastic idea.Real jewel.Love it very much.
Merry Christmas and Fabulous New Year-
-Halinka- said...

That is a really nice pattern and necklace
Your a real inspiration

Christine Altmiller said...

i am so bummed for you. this is so beautiful and a fantastic idea. too bad it didn't work out.

Cranky Bird said...


I remember this pattern, or a very similar one.
The beads were strung on a coated wire, inside the chain links.

I was disappointed they used beading wire to keep things in place.
Now I know why.

Looking at this, I think you can do the same.

{To make this work, you MUST use SOLID links for the two links that lie flat, facing (mostly) the top and bottom. You'll have to use open rings for the two that face (mostly) towards your body}

This will allow you to string the cubes as follows:

Go OVER the TOP edge of the solid top most ring (between the place where the 4 rings that join the cube units meet - If you can. It will look a bit nicer this way).

* Add a cube bead.

Go diagonally, from the top edge - like a back slash on a computer keyboard = \ , DOWN, and UNDER the NEAREST BOTTOM edge of the NEXT solid bottom most ring,

Then thread your needle up to the top, diagonally, towards the next 2 inward facing rings (like the forward slash on a computer keyboard = / ).

Go UP and OVER the TOP edge of the solid top most ring, that sits ABOVE the Bottom ring you just went under, but go OVER the edge on the FAR side of the solid top ring. *

{Your making a V like stitch for each cube bead added}

Repeat from * to *

This should trap the cubes on a diagonal slant AND they will stay in place.
This also leaves an empty space between each cube bead where the inward facing rings sit, just as your picture shows,

< Another way to explain this.>

Your trying to thread the coated wire, over the edge of the solid top ring, down (inside one unit), add a cube, then continue, under the bottom edge of the following solid lowest ring.
When you go back up, you go between the rings that are facing towards the body, then over the top of the next solid ring that faces up, leaving an empty space.

The solid rinds will stop the thread from escaping thru the small gaps split rings have.

The beads get added on the down side of the V, and the up side is inside the empty space of the inward facing rings.

I hope trying to say this a couple of ways will make sense to you.
I think you can get the look you want, it's just takes time and patience, which you seem to have.

I like your tilted cubes and hope you will try this.
I'd love to see the results.

If I was wrong and you want a bead in every two ring area, that can be done, but it would make your necklace very stiff.

Good Luck !

Genny said...

I frequently do and teach Open Roundmaille. I use 4.5mm 18g awg rings and 4mm round crystals. I put a crystal every two rows of weave. They stay put nicely. Another option is Turkish weave. This weave has a very definate "pocket" for the crystals to sit in. Let me know if you need more info. Genny