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S Link Medallion

The S-Link Medallion Necklace is the perfect marriage of wire work and chain maille. This exclusive design by Patti Bullard of Wired Up Beads, inspired by a unique arrangement of traditional S-Links, is both elegant and visually intriguing. The chain of the finished necklace measures approximately 18 inches long, and the medallion centerpiece measures 1.5 inches square.

Materials

Safety Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.

Step 1

Clean and straighten a 2-foot length of 1.3mm diameter,soft round sterling silver wire . This may be accomplished by applying gentle pressure while pulling the wire through a Polishing Cloth .

Step 2

You will need to cut 8 lengths of wire to make the S-Links. Always starting with a flush cut end on your wire, measure and flush cut each piece of wire carefully to a precise length of 2 7/8”. Rather than marking your wire with a permanent marker, you may find it is easier to make accurate cuts by holding the wire on a ruler as shown, then flush cutting the end of the wire with your CHP Flush Cutters .

Tip

Maintaining precision in regard to the S-Links’ size and shape is particularly important to the success of this project. It is helpful to make at least 4 “test” S-Links from 16-gauge copper wire, so that you can make sure that they are turning out uniformly and the proper size. For this project, finished S-Links should measure approximately 7/8 of an inch long. The small loops on each side of the S-Link should be almost opposite each other. If the S-Link is too long or short, cut another piece of wire, adding or subtracting approximately 1/16”.

Step 3

Using light taps with a chasing hammer 4oz  on a steel bench block , gently flatten each end of the 8 pieces of wire. Take care not to lengthen or distort the wire by over-hammering. Make sure that each end is flattened in the same direction as shown. Smooth any sharp edges with a flat metal file (cut 2)  or a Handy File.

Step 4

To make the S-Links, first you will need to make a loop on each end of the 8 wires. Grasp the flattened end of a wire as shown and coil it around the small jaw of the Medium Wubbers Bail Making Pliers , making a complete loop. Repeat this on the other end of the wire, making sure that you curl the loop in the opposite direction.

Tip

To make a small loop that is perfectly round, place the wire in the jaws of the Wubbers Bail Making Pliers so that the end of the wire is even with the edge of the jaws as shown. If the wire extends past the edge of the pliers before starting the loop, then the loop will be elongated rather than round.

Step 5

To finish shaping the S-Links, you will form two large curves on each wire. With a small loop turned toward you and held snugly down against the smaller jaw of the Medium Wubbers Bail Making Pliers, begin to roll the wire around the larger jaw of the pliers as shown in Photo 1. Continue rolling or curving the wire until the back of the loop touches the wire. The S-Link should now look like Photo 2 above. Flip the wire around and repeat on the other end to finish forming the S-Link.

Step 6

To complete your S-Links, gently flatten each end using a dome-faced chasing hammer. Holding the S-Link with a pair of Classic Wubbers Bent Nose Pliers , lightly tap the end of the S-Link to flatten it slightly, taking care not to over-hammer or distort it. You will notice that the large curves of the S-Link will begin to open slightly as you hammer. Using a pair of Classic Wubbers Medium Flat Nose Pliers , move the wire in a “back and forth” motion, gradually moving the S-Link back into a closed position.

Tip

Using a highly polished chasing hammer and steel block will help reduce the finishing work at the end of your project. The polished surfaces of the hammer and steel block will burnish the sterling as you work, leaving it with a clean and shiny finish.

Step 7

To form the medallion, choose the 4 S-Links that are the most similar. If one of the 4 S-Links is slightly shorter than the others, it will work well to place it in the bottom position on the medallion. It is especially important that each of the side links be the same length. Arrange the S-Links into a square shape, making sure that all the small loops are turned in the same direction as shown (i.e., the small outside loops all curve to the left as you move around the outside edge of the medallion).

Step 8

Open one of the 11.5 mm jump rings. Place 8 of the round, 4mm sterling beads  onto the jump ring, then close it. Lay this beaded jump ring into the center of the four S-Links that will form the medallion.

Step 9

Taking care to maintain the proper positioning of the S-Links as you work, use a 3.5mm jump ring to connect the small loops of each of the S-Links to the beaded jump ring. There should be two beads in-between each of the jump rings.

Step 10

Connect each end of the S-Links to the adjoining S-Links with 2 of the 4.5 mm jump rings, using a total of 8 jump rings to form the medallion.

Step 11

Lay the medallion down on your work surface, placing two more S-Links so that one end of each adjoins one of the top corners of the medallion. The small loops on these S-Links should face opposite directions, with their placement being mirror image relative to each other.

Step 12

Using 2 of the 4.5mm jump rings, connect the S-Link that is being added on the left side of the picture to the adjoining end of the link running across the top of the medallion. Then, connect it to the end of the S-Link forming the left side of the medallion using two more 4.5mm jump rings.

Step 13

Connect the S-Link that is being added on the right in the same fashion as used in Step 12.

Step 14

Open two of the 11.5mm jump rings. Place 9 of the round, 4mm sterling beads onto each jump ring, then close it. The 9 beads will almost fill the jump ring completely, making it somewhat difficult to close. However, the large jump ring is big enough such that you may find it easiest to close it with your finders as demonstrated.

Step 15

Using 2 of the 3.5mm jump rings, attach one of the large beaded rings to the S-Link extending from the top left side of the medallion.

Step 16

Using 2 more of the 3.5mm jump rings, attach the other large beaded ring to the S-Link extending from the top right side of the medallion

Step 17

Taking care to place them in the same direction as the previous two S-Links added in Steps 13 and 14, attach the last two S-Links to the necklace with 2 of the 3.5mm jump rings. These S-Links should be attached to the large 11.5mm beaded jump rings so that 5 of the silver beads are toward the inside of the necklace, and 4 of the beads are toward the outside.

Step 18

To continue on with the chain portion of this necklace, you will need to make 10 beaded links. Cut 10 pieces of 0.8mm,soft round sterling silver wire  into 3” lengths.

Step 19

Make a wrapped loop on one end of each of the 10 wires. The Small Wubbers Bail Making Pliers  will make it easy to complete loops that are consistent and perfectly sized. With the large jaw of the Small Wubbers Bail Making Pliers closest to you, make a 90-degree bend about 1 inch from the end of the wire (Photo 1). Then, wrap the wire around the large jaw of the pliiers as shown in Photo 2. Reposition the pliers so that the small jaw is on the top side of the loop (Photo 3). With a pair of Classic Wubbers Chain Nose Pliers , grasp the very end of the wire and wrap it around about 2 times as demonstrated in Photo 4. Flush cut the wire, making sure that there are no sharp ends.

Tip

Because of the small diameters of the jaws, the Small Wubbers Bail Making Pliers are rated for use with wire that is 20-gauge or lighter. To help extend the life of your pliers, grasp the wire as high in the jaw as possible, especially when using 20-gauge wire. If making a coil, start high in the jaw, moving the coil toward the end of the jaw as you work. Using this method, you can make a coil that is longer than the length of the jaw of the pliers.

Tip

To quickly and easily smooth down the trimmed end of your wires when making loops, use the outside, rounded opening of a pair of regular sized Crimping Pliers.

Step 20

Place 3 of the 4mm sterling balls on each of the wires with the wrapped loops.

Complete each beaded link by wrapping a loop on the second end of the wire. To start the loop, place the jaws of the Small Wubbers Bail Making Pliers close to the last bead, leaving just enough room to make a 90-degree bend in the wire. If you hold the Small Wubbers with the large jaw closest to you as shown in Photo 1, the small jaw will serve as a convenient way to measure the length of the space needed to make about 2 wraps. After making the 90-degree bend, reposition your pliers so that the large jaw will be on the top of the bend. Wrap the wire over and around the large jaw of the pliers to form a loop. Reposition the pliers so that the small jaw is placed on the top of the newly formed loop as shown in Photo 2. Wrap the end of the wire around about 2 times as depicted in Photo 3. Flush cut the wire, making sure there are no sharp edges left behind.

Step 21

Close 20 of the 4.5mm jump rings and open 44 of the 3.5mm jump rings.

Using 2 of the 3.5mm jump rings, connect one end of each beaded link to two of the closed 4.5mm jump rings. Each beaded link should now have 4 jump rings attached to one end as shown in the photo.

Step 22

You will now build 2 lengths of chain, one for each side of the necklace. Using 2 of the 3.5mm jump rings, connect the end loop of a beaded link to a pair of the 4.5mm jump rings that were added in Step 21. Continue this process until each section of chain has 5 beaded links. Using a 3.5mm jump ring, attach a section of chain to each of the last two S-Links added in Step 17.

Step 23

To make an S-Hook Clasp, you will need a 2” piece of 16-gauge sterling silver wire, flush cut on both ends. Lightly flatten each end of the wire with a dome faced chasing hammer. Using the small jaw of the Medium Bail Making Pliers, make a loop on each end of the wire. Different from the S-Links, the loops will need to be facing the same direction to make an S-Hook Clasp.

Step 24

Place the small loop snug against the small jaw of the pliers as shown, and proceed to make a larger loop as if you were making an S-Link. Lightly hammer just the large end of the S-Clasp. Using 2 of the 3.5mm jump rings, attach the S-Hook Clasp to the left side of the necklace.

Step 25

To finish your necklace, open and attach the 9.0mm jump ring directly to the beaded link on the right side of the necklace.

Step 26

Once your S-Link Medallion Necklace is completely assembled, it is time to polish it. You may hand polish it with a Polishing Cloth. To produce a flawless shine and to make your necklace feel silky smooth, it is recommended that the S-Link Medallion Necklace be tumble polished. When tumble polishing, begin by brushing the pendant thoroughly with a  Soft Brass Brush  to even out the surface of the metal. Then, place the piece in a rotary tumbler and tumble 4 to 6 hours.