Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Byzantine by gauge - explained!

In my shop (and from other chainmaillers) you will find listings for specific weaves, like the ever-popular byzantine chain. What you may not realize is that not all byzantine chains are the same. I've noticed some maillers don't always say what the size of the chain is, and that's hard to tell from photos.

I usually list my byzantine (and other chains) by wire or ring gauge -- what this means is the diameter of the wire used to make the rings that are woven together to make the finished chain. Each chainmaille weave has a ring size (wire gauge to inner diameter of the ring) that is ideal for creating that weave, so in essence, each weave can be made in different sizes depending on the wire gauge of the rings! Confused yet? Let's take a look at some photos.

steel & 10k gold byzantine chain
This first photo shows a gold and steel byzantine chain. But how thick is it? It's hard to tell from the photo, which is clearly trying to show the pattern in a close-up way.

bronze & half-round sterling silver byzantine chain
The next photo shows a bronze and sterling silver byzantine chain. Does it look similar to the size of the steel and gold one? I'd say so. But if you guessed that they were about the same size, you'd be so very, very wrong!

Here's a photo I took recently to show the size difference in byzantine, starting with the thickest one I make (14 gauge). The order is this:  14 gauge, 16 gauge (shown in a hybrid barrel form), 18 gauge, and 20 gauge.

Byzantine size comparison (14 gauge, 16 gauge, 18 gauge, 20 gauge)

From the last photo (above), you can see that the last 2 chains are the two in the photos from earlier in this post. The steel and gold is 18 gauge, while the bronze and sterling are 20 gauge. I also like to give the cross-section thickness of each chain:  14 gauge has about a 3/8" thickness (almost a half inch thick!), while 16 gauge is a little more than 1/4". 18 gauge is about an even 1/4" thick, and 20 gauge is about 3/16".

So, the next time you're about to buy a handmade piece of byzantine chain, you might want to stop and make sure it's the thickness/size you want! ^_~