About Jewelry Chain- About Ball Chain
by Judy Ellis
What is Ball Chain? A unique chain without links, ball chain can seem like a challenge to add to your designs. But there are a few ways to finish ball chain, and they're quite easy!
Ball chain, sometimes called bead chain or pelline chain, doesn't have links made of wire like other jewelry chains. Instead, ball chain is made of 2 parts: wire rods, and hollow beads. Each wire is inserted into the hollow bead, and then given a bend, so that the end of the wire is bent and won't slide out of the bead hole.

While ball chain is usually associated with non-high end jewelry, often made from steel in items like key chains and dog tags, there is ball chain out there in sterling silver and silver plate. It will give your jewelry a distinct look and finish, and if you make fun and playful jewelry, not concerned with looking like serious traditional jewelry, this would be a great chain to use.

Our chain profiles typically don't mention clasps, but the clasp on a ball chain is worth noting: there are two types of clasps typically used on ball chain, and one is significant because it cannot really be made by hand. You've seen this clasp on your key chains before: it looks a bit like a tube with a C-shaped bite taken out of it. The advantage of ball chain using this clasp is that it can be cut to any length, and the clasp will still fit on: you don't need to attach a finding to the other end. The clasp simply accepts the wire link and snugly holds the ball of each end of the chain, and this clasp is usually very secure. The clasp is also very low-profile, just a hair bigger than the chain itself, so the jewelry-maker can hang pendants with small bails on this chain.

The second style of clasp is a typical lobster claw clasp, as you can see in the pictures below. Each half of the lobster clasp is attached to the balls of the ball chain with a crimp cover-like finding that has a hole in it.
Judy Ellis's About Jewelry Chain- About Ball Chain - , General Education, Design, Ball Chain
Judy Ellis's About Jewelry Chain- About Ball Chain - , General Education, Design, Ball Chain


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WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
  • G15-20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design