I have some handmade bracelets I made years ago. I learned how to make these from a book that showed how to make loop n loop style links. I modified some of them to work with what I had. The last image shows a bangle bracelet that I learned how to make while living in Lao P.D.R. So let me explain how I made these because I will probably only ever make another as a hobby or when I have a lot of spare time. First the tapered woven bracelet.
This woven bracelet I made from scratch. I mean that I did not order the wire from a jewelry manufacturer and then build it. I took fine silver coins. That’s .999 fine silver. It’s best to work with fine silver because it’s softer and will weld a lot easier for this style of bracelet. Believe me when I tell you these links go through a lot to be woven together and that softness or malleability goes a long way. So I melt the coins down and pour them into an ingot. I then roll out the silver into a square ingot. As I roll it through the mill the square ingot slowly becomes longer and longer. I have to re heat the silver to a glowing red color to anneal it every time it passes a few times through the mill. Eventually it becomes smaller and smaller in diameter. I then reach a point where I can then start pulling it through draw plates. This rounds out the now wire and I can continue the process of drawing and annealing the wire until I reach the desired thickness or diameter of wire I need. In this case for the tapered bracelet I needed a lot of sizes and I had to stay organized especially once I started to make the rings. So the next step was to make all the little rings that would get woven together. Once I make them I have to align each seam and weld (not solder) each seam together with a torch.
Now to start weaving. I next have to crush the circle with pliers in order to push them through the other links that I’m creating. Once I push one end through I have to un crush it and round the end back out for the next crushed or flattened link to pass through. With all that abuse I have to anneal it every now and then otherwise at times the welded seams break from all the stress put on them. When that happens I have to back track a few links to remove it and then continue on to make the bracelet. As you can see this tapered bracelet had to be organized to keep matching sizes on both sides so it could taper and also be even once the desired length was reached. No small task.
Next I had to build the end caps. They were also handmade from scratch. After rolling out some small sheet I made the caps and also domed the very end of it. I also made the little pieces and soldered them on for decoration. The clasp was no different. I had to hammer the end out or draw it out to a point so I could then curl the hook. After the end caps get soldered on the woven bracelet I have to polish it. After polishing I used a technique I learned in Laos to darken it with bees wax. Again, so much work is involved that I probably will never make another. Fun, but time consuming and only for enjoyment.
The other bracelet or bangle bracelet was also made in a similar way or at least the wire making was the same. Then I use a solid piece of silver to make the bangle and use twisted wire that is wrapped around it to create the pattern you see. I love how they turn out. I will probably still make these bangles as long as I purchase pre-made wire to work with.
There are other styles of loop n loop bracelets. I learned how to do the woven or crochet version with silver wire while staying in Laos. That is also fun to make. They are made of one wire and it can be round or flattened. This is usually made with thinner wire so it can be crocheted easier. The thicker ones are best to be done the traditional way as a true loop n loop style as I explained above.
So where did this originate? I’ve read that it is of Greek or Etruscan origins, but that is a whole different story that you can do a little research on.
So there you have it. A wonderful craft that is fun to do. I truly love making wire and it’s fun. It is very time consuming though and I can only leave that for special relaxing time away from business. If you are a purist then these few bracelets are just that. From scratch. The future will force me to be less pure from scratch and start using factory made wire which makes me sad, but also enables me so sell them at a more affordable price. Comments are welcome.