Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Byzantine Weave

Several weeks ago, bored with my bead collection, I went looking for something more interesting than chain to put between beads. I found a great tutorial (which I have since lost) on byzantine weave, which is a pattern for attaching jump rings together to make nifty 3D chains with a nice medieval luxury look to them. I promptly made a turquoise necklace (no photo yet) and some dangly earrings with lapis-colored howllite (pictured below - you can find a bigger photo on the product listing).

I happened to mention my weaving foray to the lovely Sharon Henry of Mana Moon Studios, who I'd just met through Flickr. She pointed me to The Ring Lord, a supplier of rings for chain mail. It turns out that these weaves require a particular ratio of wire diameter to ring diameter, lest the links just sag into a mess of disorganized rings when you lay the piece down. It doesn't matter so much for earrings since they're constantly under tension, but for a necklace or bracelet, having the right ratio counts. It's called "aspect ratio" by chain mail suppliers, and The Ring Lord lists the optimal aspect ratios for many weaves and provides a search feature for finding rings of a particular aspect ratio. At the time, I didn't understand this aspect ratio business yet, so I just stared at the vast array of rings and then fled in terror.

A few weeks later, though, I received a request for a bracelet to go with the Byzantine Pool earrings. Fulfilling someone else's jewelry desire is always a great motivator to me -- this is why I like doing custom orders. With the impetus to do a proper weave, I tore off to The Ring Lord to puzzle out this aspect ratio business. Once I understood, it was straightforward to select some fine silver rings of the prescribed aspect ratio. I chose 18 gauge fine silver rings with a 5/32" inner diameter. The company is in Canada, so the rings took two weeks to arrive, but they came on Saturday, and they worked fabulously! The links are nice and tight. If you're looking for these rings, products on The Ring Lord website don't have their own URLs, which is silly, but searching for "SXSFN18532" (the item number) will locate them.

I'll have photos of the bracelet once I get some daylight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OH, that's me!! Thanks so much for mentioning me and shame, shame that I didn't check this part of your blog sooner!

I have to say you definitely took it to the next level with the Ring Lord. We've ordered from them but had no idea about the ratios and search features - thanks so much, I'll pass the info along to D (my hubby)!