Want to learn how to make a Byzantine Chain Choker for your next handmade jewelry project? The choker is a close-fitting necklace, worn high on the neck, and this sleek and sexy jewelry project is easy to make. Even better, learning the procedure lays the foundation for all manner of other jewelry projects.
Also known as a “Birdcage Choker,” this Byzantine Chain Choker looks expensive, but if you go at it the DIY Projects way, the whole project is very easy on the wallet.
We are making a two-color Byzantine Chainmaille Choker for this tutorial so that it is easier to see how the rings interconnect. However, you can simplify this procedure into one color, or make it as colorfully complex as you want.
DIY Jewelry Making | Byzantine Chain Choker
This is a companion video to go along with this tutorial. It shows the steps of chain weaving from multiple angles, and will help you if you get confused on your first couple of attempts. Don't worry, it gets easy once you get the hang of it.
Supplies needed to make your Byzantine Chain Choker
- 3 yrd coil of 16 gauge Silver jewelry wire (made into about 60 jump rings, see below)
- 3 yrd coil of 16 gauge Gold Jewelry Wire (made into about 60 jump rings, see below)
- ALTERNATIVELY, you can just buy pre-made jump rings, but that's not how we roll at DIY Projects.
- Magnetic Jewelry Clasp
- Round Nose Pliers*
- Flat Nose Pliers*
- Wire Cutters*
*Pliers are optional if you have pre-made jump rings from the store, though you will want jewelry tools such as these if you plan on making jewelry regularly. Otherwise your fingers are going to hate you.
Step 1: Lay out your jump rings
The first step is to get your jump rings in order. Jump rings are the little rings that serve as the connecting “glue” for all manner of jewelry projects. If you've never made jump rings before, you can buy them pre-made at any craft store, or (even better) you can make your own. We have a wonderfully simple tutorial on how to build a Jump Ring Mandrel here at DIY Projects, which is an easy tool that will have you pumping out jump rings in no time.
For our two-color choker, we are going to need four separate piles of jump rings at the ready:
One is of our gold jump rings with the rings pulled open, one is with our gold rings with the rings closed.
The third is with our silver rings pulled open, and the fourth is with the rings closed.
The number of jump rings in each pile will vary based on how big you want the choker to be. We went ahead and put 50 jump rings in each pile to be safe, which was more than enough. We can always use the leftover rings in future projects.
Step 2: Put gold onto silver
Take four closed silver jump rings and slip an open gold ring around them. Once it is on, close the gold ring.
Step 3: Add another gold
Now take another open gold ring and slip it around your four silver rings. This will give you four silver rings with two gold rings around them.
The reason we do this in two steps and don't just try and loop both gold rings over the silver in the same step is because it is simply easier to close the gold rings one at a time. You can certainly do them both at once if you have very dexterous fingers (and better eyesight than we do).
Step 4: Arrange your initial link
Take you initial 6-ring link you have made and organize it as shown. As you can see, it runs two silver, two gold, two silver. Man, what would we do without pictures?
Step 5: Add a little scrap
Take a small piece of scrap wire and wrap it through the two silver rings on one end of your initial link. It doesn't matter which end you use. You do this so that, as you build your weave, you will always know which end to work on if you drop it or set it down for awhile. Trust us, it's worthwhile to do. Going forward you are going to IGNORE the scrap end and only work on the non-scrap end of the weave.
Step 6: Prepare initial link for weave
Take your 6-ring link and hold it from the sides so that the free end of weave faces up (see below). Notice how you are pinching those two bottom silver rings. Let the top two silver links rest on your fingers as shown.
Step 7: Attach a gold ring
So loop the new open gold ring through just the silver rings. It's a little tricky…
Step 8: Repeat
Now take another open gold jump ring and do the exact same thing. If you did it all right, your weave will now look like this:
Step 9: Second Weave Part I
To continue our two-color system, you are going to do essentially what you just did, just in reverse color order. If you flip the weave over so the scrap is hanging down (see below) you will have the two gold rings you just put on facing up. Remember, that scrap end will not be touched till much later, so don't put anything on that end.
Instead, go ahead and put a silver jump ring through those two gold rings.
Step 10: Second Weave Part II
Then attach another silver-to-gold ring in the exact same section as you just did.
Step 11: Second Weave Part III
And then two more gold rings to those silver rings, one at a time, same as before.
Step 12: Second Weave Part IV
Now, just like you did for the first weave, hold the chain in your fingers so the last two gold loops fall to the side.
Take another silver ring, and feed it through the golf rings via the opening in-between the two silver rings, exactly as you did when you started the weave previously.
Then add one more silver-to-gold ring in the exact same place, and it should look like this:
Step 13: Figure out how long you need to go
Continue with that sequence until the weave is long enough for your needs.
When we made our choker, the length we needed worked out to about 12 inches long, but you can make yours as long as you want. You can use a cloth measuring tape if you have one, but we just measured our model's neck with good ol' fashioned piece of paper first to get the length we needed.
All you need to do is mark the strip where it intersects on the back of the neck.
And then lay it out next to your choker chain project:
Step 14: Add First Half Of Magnetic Clasp
Once your Byzantine Chain Choker is the desired length, you need to finish it off with a magnetic clasp. The magnetic clasp we are using only has an attachment hole big enough for ONE jump ring, so place one jump ring through the two rings that currently mark the end of your weave.
Then feed that single open weave through your magnetic clasp and close the ring.
Step 15: Add Second Half Of Magnetic Clasp
Now remove the scrap wire from the end of your first weave series. Remember that end? Wow, we haven't seen you in forever. Take off your scrap wire and thread ONE jump ring over your first two rings.
Thread that single jump ring through the other end of your magnetic clasp.
Voila! A beautiful two-color Byzantine Chain Choker.
Here's the video again of how to do the weave chain. Master than, and you can make a choker as big as a city block if you want to!