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Modifying a Pre-made Jewelry Chain to Work with Pendant Findings
The pendant findings for our bling jewelry were not designed to work with pre-made chain. Unfortunately, the loops in most pendant findings are small and were designed to work with chain that was made specifically to hold that pendant, with the clasp added after the chain was threaded through the loop in the finding. The problem in most cases is that the loop in the pre-made chain that the clasp connects to is too large to fit through the loops in the pendant finding. On this page we will discuss several techniques for modifying a pre-made chain to accommodate pendant findings with smaller loops.
Our first proposed modification is to use Bent Closing Pliers to squeeze the end loop in your pre-made chain to change the shape of the loop from round to oblong or oval. As shown at right, these pliers have grooves cut in the jaws of the pliers to enable them to easily grip the loop without slipping. If you don't have bent closing pliers you can use chain nose pliers, but you will need to be very careful doing this with chain nose pliers because it will be easy for the wire loop to slip. Once you have re-shaped the end loop, you will find that it will be easy to thread the end loop through the loop in a pendant finding as shown below.
The above approach is the easiest and preferred approach. Where, for whatever reason, this approach won't work for you, here are several alternatives that all involve removing the end loop by cutting it off. After you have removed the end loop you will find that it is easy to thread the chain through the loop in the pendant. Once the chain is in place, you will need to replace the end loop. Shown below are several ways to replace the end loop.
Our first alternative is to use a jewelry making finding called a split ring to replace the end loop. In the picture shown at right, a piece of wire has been used to hole the split ring open so that you can thread the end loop of the chain onto the split ring. This same approach can be accomplished using Split Ring Pliers. Once you have completed threading the split ring onto the end loop in the chain, the finished chain will appear as shown at left. Please remember that you need to thread the chain through the loop in your pendant finding before you add the split ring.
Our second alternative is to add an open jump ring to the end of the chain after you have threaded the chain through the pendant finding. Jump rings may be purchased pre-made, or you can make a jump ring as described here. Using a jump ring may be the easiest solution to modifying a commercial chain, but because the jump ring is open, it may also be the least desirable because a hard tug could cause the jump ring to open. The technique for opening and closing the jump ring can be found here. This technique uses bent chain nose or chain nose pliers.
Our final alternative uses jewelry wire to make a catch on the end of your chain. This catch would appear as shown at left. Making this catch is a relatively simple process of making two wrapped loops on the end of your chain, after the chain has been threaded through the loops in the pendant finding. 22 gauge wire is recommended for making this catch. You will need about 4-5 inches of wire. The technique for making a wrapped loop is described in detail here. The steps in doing it for this application are shown below.
In step 1, you make a 90 degree bend in your wire using your bent chain nose pliers. In step 2 you make a loop in the wire using your round nose pliers. In step 3 you thread the loop onto the end link in your chain (after the chain has been threaded through the pendant finding.) In step 4 you grasp and hold the loop in your wire with bent chain nose pliers while you wrap the wire around itself two times. In step 5 you cut the excess wire and then squeeze the cut end of the wire flat. In order to squeeze the cut end flat you will need to hold the loop with your bent chain nose pliers while you use your chain nose pliers to squeeze and twist the cut end of the wire. In steps 6, 7, 8 and 9 you make a second wrapped loop, cut the excess wire and squeeze the cut end of the wire flat.
We have discussed four approaches for modifying a pre-made, commercial jewelry chain to fit into a pendant finding with a small loop. Please choose the approach that matches your skill level, your available tools, and your jewelry making supplies.
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Last modified: January 19, 2010
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