Turquoise and Elfweave Showcase Bracelet

My latest design, and I am super excited about it. I made a broad bracelet using Elfweave (stabilized), and then had a local Navajo jeweler build the centerpiece based on my design and with my Hubei Turquoise stone. The result is pretty amazing!

(See it in the Desert Chains Shop)


What are we looking at?

Chain

The design is Elfweave sheet, which means a continuous band of Elfweave. The chain is about 1″ wide. It does not have a clasp, so the chain is unbroken. It is made in 100% sterling silver. It’s a heavy chain, at 1.75 ounces. As you can see here, the chain has no breaks for the clasp.

Centerpiece

So, how does the bracelet clasp?

The box centerpiece IS the clap. The “tongue” slips into one side of the box and locks into place. It features minimal design to counterbalance the complexity of the chain and focus attention on that beautiful stone.

I have a friend who is a really great silversmith. After I bought that stone, I explained my design for the centerpiece clasp. He built the clasp and set the stone. I’m very pleased with how it came out.

The Centerpiece Stone

That cabochon on the centerpiece is Hubei Turquoise. I love the green and teal shades, with the golden brown matrix.

Hubei turquoise comes from the Hubei province of China. Most turquoise these days comes from China, and the very best comes from the Hubei province. There are only 2 primary mines in the region, and one of them closed recently! That stone will go up and up in value, I am sure.

By itself, the stone cost me nearly $200. (Actually, the first stone I picked out was nearly $300, but, well, I couldn’t justify the cost at the time. On the other hand, this stone is extraordinary. At 58 carets, it is slightly heavy.

SPECS

  • Weight: 3.5 ounces (quite heavy)
  • Length: 7.5 inches
    (However, the box clasp is long and doesn’t bend around the wrist–this bracelet will not fit a 7.5-inch wrist. It fits fine on a 7.25-inch wrist.)
  • Width: 1.25 inches

Durability

I welded all the rings near the clasp. The chain, itself, is strong, and I don’t expect that any rings will ever fall out unless someone really tries or catches it on something and yanks it hard. The rings at the chain ends are also strong, but welding makes sure, just in case.

On the other hand, it someone needs this re-sized, I will need to cut off all those rings on both sides of the chain.

The stone is the most likely component to take damage. It this bracelet gets dropped on the stone face, I suppose it could crack, just like any other turquoise cabochon. It cannot be repaired, only replaced, so let’s hope that never happens!

Plans for This Bracelet

Of course, I would love to sell this piece. It’s currently listed at $820. Resizing will be charged because of the materials and a lot of time.

However, if I don’t sell it in the next few months, this will be my 2021 State Fair entry (assuming we have one this year!).

Overall, this was a very enjoyable and satisfying project. I will likely make another one. Already, my wife wants one, but with a smaller stone. I plan to make several more, with a variety of stone sizes. I might make one with a square or rectangular stone, which would be great.

But this one is pretty amazing!

Super-fine Chain Bracelet

(Originally posted on my old web site in 2014)

For several months now (in 2014!), I have been wanting to make a micromaille JPL chainmaille bracelet. Micromaille is chainmaille that is typically at or below 3.0 mm inner diameter. It’s little. Very little.

The problem, however, is that I didn’t have any way to coil wire into rings that size. The smallest coiling mandrel on the Pepe Ring Maker is 2.5 mm. I have made some nice JPL pieces in 2.5, but I couldn’t go any smaller.

Problem solved! I am using a 2.0mm knitting needle in my Pepe wire coiler, and a spool of 22 gauge (AWG) wire. I just stick the needle in the crank, load some 22 gauge wire, and start winding coils. I didn’t know if I would be able to cut the coils into rings, but they cut just fine, thus leaving me with a nice pile of micromaille jump rings for a very thin chain. Continue reading “Super-fine Chain Bracelet”

2020 Chainmaille Jewelry Gallery

It’s almost impossible to believe. Five years have passed since I last made a video gallery of jewelry on Desert Chains. At the time, this site was “Chain of Beauty.” (Chain of Beauty still exists, by the way, but the website redirects you to here.)

We had a long weekend last weekend, and I took advantage of the time to create the 2020 video gallery. Lots of new pieces and designs.

So, with no further ado, here’s the 2020 Desert Chains jewelry gallery.

Music: “Between Us and Them” by Ulrich Schnauss. Listen to the entire piece on YouTube here.

 

Another Blue Ribbon

Well, I did it again. The judging for the 2018 state fair jewelry competition just finished, and I picked up another blue ribbon. That’s 4 years in a row now. I’ll post a picture of the bracelet with its ribbon once the fair opens and I can take the picture.

The Competition Entry Piece

This year, I entered an original design that combines 2 classic weaves, plus a little bead work. Here’s the piece:

Continue reading “Another Blue Ribbon”

Dragonscale for the 2017 State Jewelry Competition

I have my bracelet ready for the 2017 State jewelry competition, which will be held during the state fair. So far, I’m 2 for 2 with blue ribbons.

This year, I’m submitting a fantastic bracelet featuring the dragonscale/ mermaid weave. This advanced design has larger rings on the outside that face one direction and smaller rings on the INSIDE that face in the opposite direction, creating the appearance of fish (or dragon) scales.

  • For the outside rings, I used sterling silver (18 gauge, 6 mm inner diameter) rings. 
  • For the inside rings, I used 14k gold fill (20 gauge, 4 mm inner diameter) rings.

The final result is absolutely stunning! I’m really pleased with how the gold inside rings complement the brighter silver rings and give the entire piece a deeper, richer appearance.

I will submit the bracelet on August 26th and find out the results a couple of weeks later.

Wish me luck! I feel really good about this bracelet, and it would be nice to pick up another ribbon.

(One thing I want to do before submitting is to get my models back so I can take a few pictures.)

On a side note, I have a little of the gold fill wire left over. I’m thinking about making another lovers’ knots bracelet to use it up. It might make a nice Christmas present for my niece.