Byzantine Bracelet

You may have noticed, this is the second jewelry project I’ve made within a two-week time period. Why is that? Well, for one thing, you’ve gotta have something to do while you’re waiting for paint to dry, right? Chain mail is perfect for this! Except once you get into it, it becomes rather mesmerizing and meditative and before you know it, not only is your paint dry, but your dinner might be burning in the oven as well. In the past, chain mail never really appealed to me personally (though I’ve always respected and appreciated the process) because the finished pieces usually all seemed so . . . what’s the word . . . traditional. But then I ran across the work of Rebecca Mojica and she changed my opinion. She and her team of designers at Blue Buddha Boutique, create some of the coolest pieces from little metal rings that you have even seen. No, really. Usually you see chain mail jewelry in solid silver, copper, bronze or gold. Like I said, traditional. Rebecca’s designs often bring in colored anodized rings that really create a unique, modern—and often just more fun—look. Rebecca’s book Chained includes 22 projects—each offering you a chance to try out something new. The step-by-step photos in this book are incredible and really do let you achieve success with your very first attempt. Also, Rebecca does a great job of explaining the basics, such as opening and closing jump rings just right, the best way to hold your tools and your work in your hands, how to add embellishments to your projects, the pros and cons of different types of metals and a lot more. Now here is what’s really cool: At her online store, Blue Buddha Boutique, Rebecca offers a kit for every single project in her book! So if you want to try your hand at just one project, you’ve got it all counted out, packed up and sent to you in no time, and you can save the extra thinking for learning a new project. The project I’m sharing here is actually an adaptation from the Basic Byzantine Necklace project in Chained. At the end of the project in the book there are cool variation ideas and one of them was some earrings. So . . . I decided to make a bracelet and matching earrings in lieu of a necklace. (I also opted for different colors than are shown in the book because, well, I’m like that.) Before actually starting in on the weave of a project, Rebecca recommends prepping the rings you'll be using by opening all the ones that will need to be open for you to thread them through other rings and closing all the ones that you'll be able to just scoop up and thread on. Since I was subbing different colors in my project than the ones used in the book, I kept my sanity by labeling cups with my prepped rings with what they would be known as in the book. I really only needed this for a short while because once I got the pattern down it became much more easy and meditative and I no longer needed to keep referring to the photos/instructions. If you’re itching to try something new (and that seems to be very common in the fall when we turn our attention to being inside more often and making stuff), I recommend you check out Chained and try chain mail with a fresh approach.
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