Engineering the Multi-chain Necklace

by Judy Larson
Multi-strand necklaces are trending, and for good reason. They can be classic and elegant, or funky and bohemian. Here's some tips for putting them together to hang just right.
The design lines of a beautiful chain are disturbed when the clasp ends up in front at some time while being worn. With chunkier chains, the clasp can be part of the design and worn in front but with more delicate chains that is not usually an option. When wearing multiple chains became a trend, designers attached different lengths of chain together with one clasp. Needing only one clasp cut costs, but the greatest benefit was that the chains DID NOT TURN while wearing them.
These necklaces are usually made with two or three different styles and lengths of chains. The style and length of the chains is up to you. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the links of the chosen chains can slip on a jump ring.

What length chains should be cut? This really depends upon neck size as well as the neckline of the clothing the necklace will be worn with. The jump rings attaching the chains together along with the clasp will add about an inch to the necklace length. Because I was gifting the necklace and was unsure of the length needed, I cut a 16" chain and a 17½" chain. With the addition of the jump rings and the clasp, the finished connected necklaces were 17" and 18½" long. Adding a drop, such as a disc, shown, to one of the chains will add just enough weight to a chain to visually lengthen it.
Once you've chosen the length of the chains you want, cut them, remembering to subtract approximately 1". Lay the chains to be connected out on the work surface. Make sure the drop, if using one, is facing right side up. Check through your stash of jump rings to find one that will work with the style and size of the chains. Connect the chains on the left to the extender chain, if using one-see below. Connect the chains on the right to the clasp. Here is where you have a decision to make. Some designers feel that a break-away link (open jump ring) is necessary. If the jump rings are strong enough to not pull apart easily, you may not feel the need to solder them. I decided to solder my jump rings because the chains in my necklace are strong enough that if pulled by a baby or snagged and pulled on clothing they won't break, but delicate enough that if caught on something and yanked forcefully, they will break.
Judy Larson's Engineering the Multi-chain Necklace - , General Education, Design, engineering a multi chain necklace
Judy Larson's Engineering the Multi-chain Necklace - , General Education, Design, engineering a multi chain necklace
To make a multi-strand necklace more versatile and easier to wear with different necklines, add a 1' to 3" long extender chain so length can be changed to work with different necklines. When using larger round link chain as an extender, make each link slightly oval to make it visually smaller to fit the scale of the chains but still able to be used with the clasp.
Pro Tip: Adding a small decorative charm to the end of an extender chain will give it a more finished designer look.
Judy Larson's Engineering the Multi-chain Necklace - , General Education, Design, engineering a multi chain necklace
Judy Larson's Engineering the Multi-chain Necklace - , General Education, Design, engineering a multi chain necklace

Materials

Gold Filled Cable Chain 1.8mm - 10 Feet
C4-122U
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $74.20
  • Gold Club Price: $55.65
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Gold Filled Cable Chain 10.5mm - 10 Feet
C4-127U
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $218.40
  • Gold Club Price: $163.80
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Gold Filled Cable Chain Flat 3.8x4.9mm - 10 Feet
C4-124U
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $196.60
  • Gold Club Price: $147.45
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Tools

6.5 Inch Long Flat Nose Pliers - Pack of 1
G2-74
  • G2-74
  • Lesson Quantity: 2.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.87
  • Gold Club Price: $7.40
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design