2. Mobius Flowers Earrings

An introduction to chainmail

by Marilyn Gardiner


This is the second in a series of earring projects at a beginner level. Each different “chainmail weave” used in an earring can be extended or adapted to a bracelet, an anklet or a necklace—or maybe a belt—or perhaps even a tieback for drapes—let your imagination be your guide. And many of the projects can be enhanced by adding beads in a variety of ways.

Along with this month’s project, Mobius Flower Earrings, I’m going to touch on how to describe the wire used and the jump rings themselves. This is a bit more complex than it first appears so, if you are interested in learning more, you could do further reading!

Mobius Earrings Once you have made the earrings, it’s easy to make more Mobius “Flowers” and link them together to make a bracelet, or even a necklace—see the photos below.


First, the wire used to make the jump rings comes in different “tempers”, from dead soft, through half-hard, to hard. I like to use half-hard wire because it gets harder as it is coiled and made into rings, and it gets harder still as the rings are tumbled to clean and polish them. My goal is to have rings that won’t pull open.

Wire comes in different thicknesses—and describing the thickness, or diameter is an “interesting” topic—or should I say a “frustrating” topic. The wire for this month’s project measures 1.0 mm in diameter. Here is a chart with some useful information about gauges. Look at the row for 18 gauge—under AWG you’ll see that the metric equivalent is 1.0 mm. Soooo, when you buy rings you need to clarify which system of measurement is being used (AWG, BWG, SWG), and whether the number is in inches or millimeters.

Chainmail Weaves

This Japanese 6 in 1 chainmail pattern has its roots in Japanese armour from the middle ages. The Japanese weaves look best with small rings for the vertical connector rings and large rings for the horizontal rings. Both rings can be doubled up, as in this project, for a tight, stable weave.

Jump Rings

The size of the ring is typically measured by the Inside Diameter (ID). If you think about it, the wire was coiled around a metal rod (or mandrel) and then cut with a saw into rings—so the diameter of that rod is pretty close to the inside diameter of the resulting rings. Seems logical, but of course, just to make things difficult, some companies sell their rings by the Outside Diameter! Buyer beware!

And just to confuse things a bit more, some companies measure in fractions of an inch, others use decimal inches, while still others use plain millimeters.


The large jump rings are made from 1.0 mm diameter (18 gauge) round sterling silver wire.
The inside diameter (ID) of the rings is 6 mm.
Quantity: 12 rings

The small jump rings are also made from 1.0 mm (18 gauge) sterling wire with an ID of 4 mm.
Quantity: 8 rings

1 pair of earring findings
• french wire, • post, • lever-back, • clip on

Tools Required For This Project

2 pairs of smooth-jawed jewelers’ pliers

Both pairs could be chain nose pliers, or one could be chain nose and the other one could be either flat nose pliers or bent nose pliers (where you would use the curved part to grip the jump ring). My preference is a pair of flat nose pliers and a pair of tapered flat nose pliers, both with padded handles.

See the previous project for more information about pliers.

How to:

To Open a Ring

Use 2 pairs of pliers to hold the sides of a jump ring with the opening at the top (12 o’clock).

Hold the ring steady with your non-dominant hand while you rotate the wrist of your dominant (writing) hand, twisting the pliers tip towards your body.

Never open up the loop by pulling it side to side—you won’t get it back into a true circle.


To Close a Ring

Use 2 pairs of pliers to hold the sides of a jump ring with the opening at the top (12 o’clock).

Pull the ring ends back together by rotating your wrists and exerting a bit of inward pressure. You may hear a “click” as the ends meet.

The goal is to have the two ends lined up exactly, with no space between them.

Move the ends back and forth by small amounts to adjust the fit. If you go a bit past where they are even, they will spring back and match exactly.

Spend the time to close each ring carefully—this will be the mark of a professional finish to your work.



The Mobius Flower Segment

A chain mail Mobius ball is a ball of rings where every single ring goes through every other ring. The “flowers” in this bracelet are Mobius balls made with 6 rings of the larger 6 mm size. The flowers are linked with a series of paired rings in a smaller 4 mm size.

Mobius Segment


Step 1

Close one large ring and open 5 large rings. Open 4 small rings.

Insert a large ring through the closed large ring and close it. Slide the 2 rings together so the top of ring #2 lies behind ring #1. Keep holding…

Step 1

Step 2

Put ring #3 through the centre of the first 2 rings, close it, & slide it sideways so the top of ring #3 lies behind ring #2.

If you MUST set the cluster down, do it carefully so the order of the rings stays the same. I have been known to drop it on the floor, and I’ve found that it’s faster to start the cluster over from scratch than try to put the rings back in the right order.

Step 2

Step 3

Put ring #4 through the centre of the first 3 rings, close it, and slide it sideways so the top of ring #4 lies behind ring #3.

Step 3

Step 4

Follow this pattern to add rings #5 and 6. This completes one mobius ball or flower.

Step 4

Step 5

Insert a small ring through the centre of the mobius ball. and close it. (Now the cluster is secure & the rings are locked into position!!!)

Add a second small ring.

Step 5
Step 6
Insert 2 small rings into the previous small rings. This is the partial segment for one earring. 

Repeat Steps 1 to 6 to make another segment for the second earring.

Step 6

Step 7

Now it’s time to join the two segments to the earring findings.

Carefully open the loop on an earring finding. (Remember to use 2 pairs of pliers and open it the same way you would open a jump ring.) Slide the open loop around the two top rings and then gently close it.

Finish the second earring the same way.

Mobius Earrings

Variations: A Bracelet

Here is a bracelet to go with the earrings. Each mobius flower is linked with 3 pairs of rings. It is completed with a special flower box clasp with onyx petals.

Mobius Earrings & Bracelet

Variations: A Necklace

This necklace features another bead from my collection of heart beads (lampwork and polymer clay) that I interchange, depending on what I’m wearing that day. <grin>

This one was made by Kirsty Naray, a talented beadmaker from the Toronto area.

The longest dangles, next to the lampwork bead, have a single small 4 mm ring at the very bottom. On that ring is a silver bead in a convex cylinder shape from Riverstone Bead.

The length of this one is about 15 inches.

Mobius Necklace

The Perfect Clasp

I found a round, sterling box clasp with faceted onyx petals set in the top. To open the clasp you press down on one of the onyx petals—it sits on top of the tongue that slips out of the box clasp.

The round shape and flower-like appearance seemed to be perfect for this bracelet.

I really believe that the quality of a clasp (or other finding) should match the quality of the rest of the project.



Irene From Peterson has written two books that include chainmail projects. Her first one is titled Great Wire Jewelry; Projects and Techniques. It includes an excellent selection of chainmail projects. The Single Flower Chain has mobius balls made from only 3 rings.

The book is translated from Danish to English and is published by Lark Books.

You should also check out the website Maille Artisans and Chainmail Basket because they have a wealth of information about chainmail.


Copyright 2005 Marilyn Gardiner.

All Rights Reserved.