Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Those earrings..."

"...will be good for the holidays, huh?" my husband said.

I looked up at him, put down my pliers, took off my magnifying glasses, and blinked a few times.  He could tell I wasn't really in the room with him but was lost in Beadland--or more accurately, Ringland.

He tried again:  "You usually make a few chainmaille bracelets and earrings to sell at Christmastime, right?" 

I nodded.  "That's why I'm working on these--well mostly.  They're also just kind of cute."

He smiled.  He's a great guy.  "I'm also planning to make a Hodo bracelet or two and one in Garter Belt weave," I added.  "They work up pretty."  I know he's seen the bracelets and heard of both of those weaves (and he remembers the names), though I'm not sure he remembers what they look like.  But he's always so nice about what I make that I didn't really need to say any more, so I got back to work.

These earrings ARE cute, and they're distinctive to boot because of the oval rings.  I wish could say I created the design, but I didn't.  I learned the design from my friends at Chainweavers, one of my favorite online vendors of chainmaille rings and things (where I also got the cool sterling silver oval rings).  The earrings are a simple design to make if you know the Byzantine weave (or as we maillers lovingly call it, "Byz"), the most popular of all chainmaille weaves.  Each earring consists of three units of Byz and three oval rings (small, medium, and large), plus a Swarovski oval crystal.  The lightness and openness of the oval rings adds to the earrings' airiness.

For comparison, here is a photo of a classic sterling silver Byzantine weave bracelet:  

You can see how dense the weave is, with one "Byzantine unit" (can you see where they begin and end?) disappearing into the next, making one long sinuous round ropy bracelet.  This weave feels so good on the wrist (and around the neck when woven into a necklace)!  

And here is an oxidized sterling silver bracelet that I made in a weave called "Byzantine Rose," composed of alternating units of Byz and "rosettes" or "Moebius" elements:  

The Byzantine Rose bracelet is a little less dense than Byzantine alone, but not as airy as the earrings.  The crystals add a nice sparkle too.  

These crystal Byz beauties are 3-1/4 inches long and very lightweight and swingy. 💗

If any of you are interested in chainmaille in general or in learning the Byzantine weave or how to make these earrings, just let me know, and I can steer you to the right references to get started.  I basically taught myself with tutorials (as we all tend to do), but it's always nice to have a guide too.  :)

Thanks so much for reading--I'll be back again soon!



  1. Meridy these are beautiful! So intricate and delicate

  2. Thank you so very much, Sue! 💗

  3. I am always in awe with artists who master chainmaille. There was a time I did try something myself. After a lot of sweating, cursing (sorry), cramps in my hands and fingers I had to admit...this is not for me. Somehow my fingers are not meant to work with a lot of tiny rings. You, my friend, master it so well. These earrings are divine! Perfect for Christmas. But also for a fancy night out, for a bride or just because you feel like it.

  4. Aww, thank you, Janine! I honor your ability to appreciate an art that just isn't for you personally. I understand. I love and admire bead-weaving and have tried it several times--it actually has much of the same meditative appeal to me as chainmailling does--but I don't really think it's for me either. And to be honest, I don't work much with tiny rings at all, as they're just too fiddly, and my eyes aren't what they used to be either!

  5. My admiration! I might just manage one half inch - although I do like it. Beautiful earrings, with lots of movement.

  6. Thanks so much, Lindsay! I always appreciate your comments. 💗

  7. Meridy, you have to have incredible patience, and skill, to make these pieces. I don't think I've ever knowingly seen chainmaille units separated like that. They're beautiful that way. Airy, as you say, and very swingy and pretty. The bracelet you made, with the mixed weaves. . . . amazing. I know I will never learn this skill. I love seeing your pieces.