What do I need to add to my bracelet designs to keep them from falling off and being lost--my customers are asking and I want to be able to offer them a solution. Thanks.
Safety or extender chains are the ideal solution for keeping jewelry from falling off and being lost forever because they add extra security to the clasp. You can use a premade extender chain or make your own from any type of chain that complements your design.
Adding an extender chain to a bracelet:
Depending on the construction of the bracelet you are making, adding the chain so it is part of the design before finishing integrates an extender-chain seamlessly. You can use a premade extender chain with links on each end using the chain as-is as long as the cording fits through the links. Or, make a safety chain by adding jumprings to any length of chain suitable for your design needs. Make sure the chain is long enough so the finished design fits over the wrist as the length or opening of the bracelet will be fixed, like a bangle bracelet.
With your extender chain in hand, place the last link on one end of the chain onto the cording, then finish the end capturing the chain in place. Repeat for the other end.
You may find you need to add a chain after the design is finished or you have a customer that would like you to add this to a design they already own. Simply add jumprings to each end of a length of chain (making sure the chain is long enough so the finished design can fit over the wrist like a bangle bracelet) then connect the jumprings in between elements of the design near the clasp or to each half of the clasp itself.
There is another type of extender or safety chain which has a ring on one end and a clasp on the other. You can use a premade version or make one yourself by adding a jumpring to one end and a small lobster or springring to the other.
To use this style, connect one end to a fixed position in the design near the clasp, allow the design to be put on then clasp the other end to any spot on the bracelet, like the clasp. This safety chain can be shorter, given the ability to clasp it in place. This allows the safety chain to be removed easily when putting on and taking off the design.
Safety and extender chains also work great when creating a necklace or bracelet that needs to be adjustable. This gives your designs great flexibility when selling your work as you never know who the finished design might be worn by. It also allows the necklace to be worn at different lengths--a great selling feature!
- Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator