Tuesday, 15 February 2011

How to make a rhinestone chain

*Instruktioner på svenska finns HÄR*

I'm not the one that came up with the idea to make rhinestones this way. The inspiration comes from a chain I bought at Panduro some time in the 90's, long before I became a beader. They don't sell this type of chain anymore, but making your own chains in the same style is very easy. All you need is chaton montés and jump rings in colours of your choice.

chaton montés (AKA mounted crystals, preset rhinestones etc)
jump rings

Tools: 2 pairs of chain-nose or bent-nose pliers.

1. Begin by selecting rhinestones and rings. Your preset crystals shouldn't have a flat back with channels -- so called rose montés -- as these will be impossible to link. You need to use chatons, pointed-back crystals with a different type of settings. Avoid stones larger than 6 mm as those settings often have holes on one two of the sides: you need settings with a hole on each of the four sides for this technique to work.

2. Test how big the jump rings need to be in order to fit the holes. Avoid rings in heavy gauges. Also, make sure the diametre is large enough for two crystals to move about on one ring. For my chain, I will be using 4 mm rhinestones and 5 mm (outer diametre) jump rings.

3. Open a jump ring. If you are unsure of how to do this, check out these instructions. You may need to open the ring quite a bit in order for it not to get stuck in the setting. Holding the ring in your chain-nose pliers, push the end of the ring through one of the holes in the setting. Keep pushing it carefully, exiting through an adjacent hole. If the ring get stuck before you reach the hole, wiggle it until you are in line with the opening.

4. Add a second crystal on the jump ring in the same way you added the first one. Be sure you flip the crystal so they both face the same direction. It's easy to end up with one crystal facing up and the other facing down...

5. Close the loop using two pair of pliers, the same way you opened it. You might have to grab the ring using just the tips of your pliers as it can be tight on space at this point.

6. Add another ring in the two remaining holes on one of the rhinestones as in step 3. Keep adding new crystals, one after the other, until your chain reached the desired length.

7. Your chain is now ready to be used in your jewellery designs. For a simple bracelet or necklace, just add a clasp -- or attach a short section of chain on an earwire for sparkling earrings.

By making your own crystal chains you have the advantage of being able to choose the colours yourself -- on the rhinestones and settings as well as on the jump rings. Use different colours of crystals or stick to just one nuance. Mix the colours according to a strict pattern or add them randomly. And why not use coloured jump rings for an unusual effect? You can also test mixing different size crystal settings.

In the beginning, I recommended you avoid settings with parallel holes, but there are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes you don't need crossed holes. Above, you can see a chain using mounted Swarovski hearts, linked together using 7 mm (OD) jump rings. (I got mine at Rings & Things.)

And as usual: if you've created something using my projects as inspiration, I'd love to see it. Post a link in the comments below or e-mail me if you want to show something you've made using my instructions.


  1. Your tutorial is an awesome inspiration! Many thanks for sharing. I would like to feature your designs at http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com/

    Kindly contact me here if you have a concern.


  2. I'm a huge fan of the Swarovski montees as you can see from this post :


    So I was delighted to come across your tutorial on how to make a chain from them! I will feature and link in a future post so others can come visit! Thanks for taking the trouble to write it in English! Pearl

  3. I'm glad to hear you liked it, both of you (yes, I know I've been bad at replying to comments lately...). It'd be an honour to see my humble little tutorial featured. Thanks!

  4. HOw beautiful, I had never heard of Swarovski montees until I read about your tut in Pearl's Beading Gem blog.

  5. I used your idea with the earrings on my Facebook Page below...I used 2 different sizes in the same colour...thanks for the inspiration :)


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