Silver-Gold Dragonscale WIP

25 08 2012

I’m about 1/2-way through my next piece: a “gold” and “silver” dragonscale chainmaille bracelet. The large rings are silver plated, and the smaller, inside rings are brass–making this look like silver and gold.

The bracelet is done! See the dragonscale bracelet here.

Silver and gold bracelet in progress

Dragonscale is also known as “mermaid” weave. With inner and outer rings facing in opposite directions, this weave gives the appearance of scales. Hence, the name “dragonscale” or “mermaid” chainmaille weave. (Maybe it should be called “mermail”!) You will rarely see jewelers making this weave–it is the most time consuming weave I know, even using speadweaving techniques.

I’m very impressed with the combination of silver and gold colors, which, surprisingly, is new to me. In fact, I’m so impressed that I’m considering making another bracelet, just like this one, in sterling silver and 14/20 gold-filled wire (see this post on gold-filled wire). However, I will probably make this bracelet in sterling silver and gold-fill only when/if ordered. Even using gold-filled wire, the total material cost will be pretty high.

I’m pleased by the ring size combination.  (Silver rings: 6 mm ID, 18 ga. Brass rings: 4 mm ID, 20 ga.). This bracelet is quite flexible, and yet it holds its pattern well. Also, I’m making this dragonscale bracelet narrower than my previous dragonscale bracelets. I have made them with rows of 4 and 3 rings (see this bracelet for comparison) , but this bracelet has rows of 3 and 2 rings, giving it a more refined, less in-your-face look.

Why am I only 1/2-way through this bracelet? I’m out of silver rings AND saw blades! (Dagnabbit!) On the last batch of rings, my saw blade must have cracked because it lost a piece of the edge about the size of a small fingernail clipping. The resulting rings had pretty bad burrs that I had to hand file. Now, I have no more silver rings and no way to make any.

That was my last spare blade, so I ordered 2 more from Contenti (which is where I order many of my supplies). Normally, I replace a blade when it starts to get a little dull and leave burrs. Although I had cut maybe 1,200 rings with that blade, it was still pretty sharp. I haven’t actually broken a blade in a long time. I kicked myself when I realized that I didn’t have any spares, and I ordered replacements immediately. They should be here on Monday or Tuesday, and I’ll be able to make rings and finish this bracelet.

I’m very eager to see the final silver and gold bracelet. I think it will be beautiful!

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