Sterling silver chainmaille bracelet by Linkouture

Learn how to make your own stunning Byzantine bracelet

the Byzantine chainmaille weave technique creates a gorgeous rope of interwoven rings.

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Depending on the size, type, and color rings you use, this jump ring bracelet can be both feminine and masculine.

chunky Byzantine bracelet with heart charm

This is the most complicated of the jewelry tutorials you’ll learn on Linkouture. While it can be a bit tricky to learn, once you have it down I guarantee you will fall in love with this weave!

Also known as Birdcage, Fool’s Dilemma, and my personal favorite, Idiot’s Delight, the trick to getting the Byzantine weave down, especially if you are using thicker rings or a heavier metal (such as stainless steel) is using the right pliers.

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Back in the day when I started to learn it, I was using chain nose pliers. I found that my hands were killing me, and I kept snagging the metal.

Don’t make the same mistake I did — invest in some good pliers. 

I HIGHLY recommend these flat nose pliers, similar to the ones pictured below, for any of my jewelry tutorials, but especially this Byzantine chainmaille tutorial. Your hands and wrist will thank you! 
two pairs of purple pliers with silver jump rings in the background

You can purchase the pliers on Amazon, or on Etsy from UnkamenSupplies.

It took me several attempts to learn how to make a Byzantine bracelet when I first learned this chainmaille technique, but once you have it down you can make a bracelet pretty fast.

Since it can be a bit complicated, you’ll learn how to make a Byzantine bracelet using different colored aluminum rings.

hands holding multi-colored jump rings

Also, it’s important to make sure you’re opening & closing jump rings the right way. I cannot stress this enough!

hands holding pliers

If you want the bracelet to look right, DO NOT open the jump rings like a clam shell. It makes the rings lose their nice round shape when you go to close them back up.

learn the right way to open and close jump rings so you can make your own byzantine bracelet.

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My bracelet is made from sterling silver jump rings. Aluminum is much softer than sterling (and much cheaper), so just a heads up that if you try this first using aluminum rings it will feel much different when you use sterling in terms of the pressure you use.

Chainmaille isn't just for sword-wielding Medieval soldiers -- it also makes for a stunning modern piece of jewelry. Learn how to make your own Byzantine weave bracelet with this DIY jewelry tutorial. it makes for a perfect gift idea for someone special in your life!

Now onto the tutorial so you can make one of these GORGEOUS bracelets for yourself!

pliers with silver bracelet

How to make your own stunning Byzantine bracelet

Sterling silver chainmaille bracelet by Linkouture

Also known as Birdcage, Fool's Dilemma, and Idiot's Delight, the Byzantine chainmaille weave technique creates a gorgeous rope of interwoven rings. It can be a bit tricky weave to learn at first, but it's quite addicting once you have the hang of it!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Difficulty Advanced Beginner

Materials

Jump Rings

  • 16 gauge 4.5mm inner diameter (ID) open jump rings in the metal of your choice OR 18 gauge 3.5mm ID rings
  • Two larger jump rings -- I used 16 gauge 6mm ID rings. These rings can be open or closed

Other materials

  • Lobster clasp
  • Heart charm (optional)

Instructions

  1. Close one of the large jump rings so that the sides are flush with one another (you know it’s closed well when it makes a nice click and the two ends are flush). hands holding pliers
  2. Attach two of the 4.5mm jump rings to the large ring hand holding jump rings
  3. Attach two more 4.5mm jump rings (pictured in red) through the ones you just added. Pliers holding multi-colored jump rings
  4. Now is where it starts to get a little complicated. (If you're anything like me, this step will take many attempts and will likely cause you to throw down the rings and groan in frustration). Fold over those last two jump rings you just added (in this case, the red ones) so that they meet the large jump ring. The second two rings you added (purple rings) will now be at the top. In your non-dominant hand, open up those two purple rings with your fingers so that they make a V. Make sure there is a space between the red rings and the large silver ring. I find it helps to use your dominant fingers or the pliers to help get it in position. hands holding multi-colored jump rings
  5. With your dominant hand, take another 4.5mm ring (shown in green) and loop it between underneath the folded over red rings and above the large silver ring (it should go in between the V of the purple rings). pliers holding multi-colored jump rings Here's what it should look like if it all went right from two different angles (and if not, just keep at it until you get it. I promise you, it WILL happen eventually!) colorful jump rings woven together You'll notice that the green ring is underneath the red rings and above the silver ring.
  6. Repeat it with another 4.5mm ring -- you should find it WAY easier this time! hands and pliers with multi-colored jump rings Now give yourself a pat on the back and do a happy dance if you've made it this far!
  7. Ok, time to move on. Take two more 4.5mm rings (shown here in purple) and loop them through the last two rings you just added (shown in green). hands weaving jump ringshands weaving jump rings
  8. And add two more (shown in red) to those last two (shown in purple). pliers holding multi-colored jump rings
  9. And, we're back to the tricky step, which this time around should be a wee less tricky since you've already done it once. Fold over those last two rings (shown in red) and make a little V with the previous two (shown in purple). I'll show you again. hands holding multi-colored jump rings
  10. Loop two more rings (shown in green) in between the purple rings, below the red rings and above the previous green rings. hands making Byzantine chainmaille weave Lather, rinse and repeat steps 6-9 until right before you have reached your designed length. Instead of adding in those two last rings in step #9, loop in the other large ring. Before you close it, attach you clasp (and charm, if you so desire). Close it up snug and ta-da, completed Byzantine bracelet. Woot woot!

Notes

  • I recommend purchasing your materials from CreatingUnkamen. They're a wonderful family-owned business.
  • I use about 150 jump rings to make a 7-inch bracelet with the 4.5 rings and about 180 to make it with the 3.5 rings)
  • Are you new to working with jump rings? In my FREE mini video course, Jump Ring Jewels, you'll learn the right way to open and close a jump ring and how to make a Mobius spiral. Click here register or go to www.linkouture.com/jewelry-making-basics.

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Want to make more jewelry with similar materials and supplies?

Check out these other chainmaille tutorials on the Linkouture blog!

    • Spiral pendant necklace — this necklace features a 5-ring Mobius spiral and will take you less than 15 minutes to make!
    • Simple spiral earrings — whip up a pair of coordinating DIY earrings that coordinate beautifully with this bracelet.
    • Spiral chain bracelet — the perfect tutorial you’re interested in learning a slightly easier jump ring bracelet

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sterling silver Byzantine charm bracelet with text overlay

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15 thoughts on “Learn how to make your own stunning Byzantine bracelet”

  1. I love the byzantine bracelet (chuncky look) and actually still have my Tiffany’s one that I bought years back before I was even dating Kevin. I also still wear it often here. Thanks for sharing how to make it with us 😉

    1. Oh, I didn’t realize Tiffany’s made a bracelet like this! I often wear the one I made 🙂

  2. Etsy is certainly something, isn’t it?
    I love byzantine. I don’t know that I’d have the diligence to do it myself. Somehow I doubt that. Although you really make it look so awesome and doable!

  3. THIS IS AWESOME! I have to pin this to share. You’re amazing for sharing.
    I hope you enjoy your time away. 🙂
    XOXO

  4. Ooh, I’m pinning this to do one of these days – maybe it will be a good project to do when I’m missing my girl this fall. Enjoy your week off – I’m off next week to visit the Mouse!

  5. Actually that doesn’t seem too hard, Maybe I’ll try it one day when I have different colored rings

    1. For getting started I definitely think it’s easier to get the technique down with different colors. Hope it goes well!

  6. Pingback: How to make a spiral chain bracelet

    1. Hi Paula! I usually buy my jump rings from Rio Grande, but I believe you need a business to order from them. I have included links to Beadaholique in the tutorial, though.

  7. Pingback: Short on space? Create a portable jewelry workstation

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