Full Persian Whoops and Fix

19 10 2012

I knew better. I have a ring size calculator and notes from previous projects, and I didn’t pay attention.

The problem:

I wanted to make a sterling silver full persian bracelet to replace the silver plated bracelet I’ve been wearing for about 6 months. When I dug through my supplies, I found a coil of 18 gauge sterling silver wire. I figured I would use it, so I happily made the 4.5 mm rings I knew I needed. I needed about 250 rings, and I used up all my 18 gauge wire making them.

Here’s the bracelet I want to replace:

Full Persian sparkling in the sun

The rings didn’t work. The rings were way too tight to make the weave. After about 5 rings, I simply could not weave in any more rings. That was odd, I thought. I looked at my notes and swore at myself. I needed 20 gauge, 4.5 mm rings, NOT 18 gauge.

Full Persian requires an aspect ratio of about 5.5 or greater. The rings I had just made had an aspect ratio of 4.4. No wonder it was too tight. I swore again. I had just cut a lot of sterling silver (which isn’t cheap) to make rings I didn’t need.

If I had paid attention, I would have either (1) waited until I had 20 gauge wire or (2) made 5.5 mm rings, which would have given me the aspect ratio I needed.

  • 20 gauge wire, 4.5 mm inner diameter = 5.6 aspect ratio (close enough)
  • 18 gauge wire, 5.5 mm inner diameter = 5.4 aspect ratio (also close enough)

What to do? Maybe I could use them some other way.

The solution:

I flipped through my project notes again and saw the specs for box chain. Box chain needs an aspect ratio of around 4.5 or greater. I thought about making a byzantine chain, but that needs an aspect ratio of about 3.7, so using these rings would make a sloppy, loose chain. So I’m making a box chain.

  • Full persian = 5.5+ AR
  • Box Chain = 4.5+ AR (almost exactly the rings I made)
  • Byzantine = 3.7 AR

Box chain is not the bracelet I wanted, but better the box chain than waste a lot of sterling silver (which isn’t cheap, as I mentioned). The rings would be just about perfect for box chain.

  • Full persian: 5.5+ aspect ratio (20 gauge, 4.5 mm inner diameter = 5.6 AR)
  • Box chain: 4.5+ aspect ratio (18 gauge, 4.5 mm inner diameter = 4.4 AR)

The reason I’m doing this, anyway

Why am I replacing the current bracelet? It is (or was) silver plated. After wearing it nearly non-stop for about 6 months, sometime under very harsh conditions, much of the silver has worn away. Here’s the full persian bracelet (in current condition) and the sterling silver box chain I’m making. You can see how the silver plate is wearing off the top chain.

Top: OLD plated full persian. Bottom: New sterling silver box chain

Here’s a close-up version to show how much wider the box chain is than the full persian. Both have 4.5 mm rings (18 gauge box, 20 gauge full persian).

Sterling silver box chain vs. OLD silver plated full persian chain

Now I have another problem: not enough rings. The box chain has more rings per inch, and 250 rings only made about 6 inches, not the 8 inches I wanted. This means I’m heading back to the jewelry supply store for more 18 gauge sterling silver wire. This makes me unhappy. I use very little 18 gauge sterling silver. In fact, the piece I used to make this bracelet was probably a year old.

I still plan to make a sterling full persian chain when this one is done. I’ll get the 20 gauge sterling silver wire I need.

In any case, the box chain should look pretty nice when it’s finished and tumble polished. I’ll post pictures when it’s done.

UPDATE 10/21/12:

Something I just learned. If you make a box chain with under the recommended 5.5 aspect ratio, the rings don’t overlap evenly.

As seen in the pictures above, the rings will overlap on 2 opposing sides and tuck inside on the other two opposing sides. In the bottom picture, the top and bottom rings fold over on the outside, and the rings facing the camera are tucked inside. As such, instead of a square cross-section, they make a rectangular cross section–it’s wider one way than another. Still looks very cool, just a bit different.

Also, I went by the jewelry store: no luck on 18 gauge silver wire. They only had a scrap remaining, about 0.25 ounces, or about 4 feet. It wasn’t enough to finish the box chain, so I didn’t get it. On the other hand, they did have plenty of 20 gauge. I bought an ounce of 20 gauge, half-hard sterling silver wire and made the full persian bracelet. I’m wearing it now. It’s sexy.

You can see the sterling silver full persian bracelet here.

UPDATE 11/1/12:

The sterling silver Box Chain bracelet is done. You can see it here.




One response

21 10 2012

How nice of you to make yourself a sterling bracelet! I always curse at myself for the dumb things I do. Thanks for sharing your smarts on chain maille!

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