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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jewelry Making: How to Use an Extender Chain

Often times making jewelery for others is a game of guesswork: no one person's neck, ankle, belly or wrist is the same as another's, and here is where the extender chain comes into play. Or, perhaps you have outgrown a favorite article of your own, or miscalculated a new accessory's length. Here again, is the extender chain's chance to shine.

To begin with, choose a chain that is similar in size to the rest of your piece, and also matching your clasp.

When using chain, it is necessary to use a lobster claw or spring-ring clasp. Two inches is a common length for an extender, but again, this depends on the size of the jewelry, as well as where it is intended to be worn on the body. Three inches may be needed for a necklace, whereas only one for a bracelet, depending.

There are several ways to attach chain to jewelery, even without taking anything apart. The easiest is to use a jump ring, a tempered metal ring that can open or close. Again, chose a ring that is like-sized to the rest of your piece, and chain. Open the ring using flat-nosed pliers by moving the ends side to side (resist the urge to pull apart! Not only will it make closing the jump more difficult, but it creates a weak point in the metal). Another option is the split ring, a connector that looks like a miniature key ring. These can be trying to use, but do offer security as a split ring is unlikely to come apart.

If your piece is wire-wrapped, simply wire-wrap the chain to the end. Chain makes an excellent finish to such jewelry, as it continues the metal motif.

Feeling spunky? Add a bead to the end of your chain! This can be done by any of the above methods, and is a classy way to complete a unique piece of jewelry. Also, the extra weight of such a dangle can help keep the chain and clasp where they belong-whether behind the neck, or on the underside of the wrist.

Extender chains add versatility and style to almost any piece. Try it and see.

Learn more about this author, Cassandra Koslen.

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