December 14, 2008

Chain Maille Bracelet - Take 2

Did I mention I'm hooked on chain maille right now?

Here's the same chain maille design as the one for my brother Steve but in a smaller size:
35 big rings in 14ga SS, 5mm ID, flattened and dimpled; 138 20ga SS jump rings, 4mm ID; clasp and 2 rings (one as catch ring) are also 14ga; total length 6 7/8", width is just under 1/2".

This bracelet went a little faster than the first one, but not by much, the most time consuming part is still making jump rings since I'm trying different sizes again. Last time, it felt like throwing darts in the dark (about a total 8 hours of darkness); this second one has better clues to follow, but still just clues.

So here's my question:
If one insists on making everything from scratch, any handmade jewelry will take longer time to complete, and will most likely cost more than what the market will bear. But does the idea of "handmade" jewelry or the appreciation of "craftsmanship" carry less weight if we swap in some machine-made elements into the final piece? I hope not, cuz I love working with wires, but I'm not about to saw silver nuggets and draw wires myself, been there, done that, got myself burned a few times, didn't enjoy it. So I'm going to continue buying silver wires for my "handmade" jewelry. But if I go a step further and buy those nice and neat jump rings that are machine-made, and make another bracelet out of them, is it still handmade, or is it just "hand-woven", or does the combination of machine and human make it some kind of Cylon Skin Job (hee hee)?

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