Snake chain is a flexible metal cord frequently used in pendant necklaces. The length of a necklace is very personal, and you may wish to shorten the length to suit your tastes. Snake chain necklaces have a non-adjustable clasp soldered to each end, so to shorten the necklace you will have to use jewellery making skills to attach a new clasp to the end once you have shortened the necklace.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wire cutter
- Soldering gun
- Soldering paste
- Clasp with end cap attached
Measure the necklace to decide how short you want to make it. Put on the necklace and use permanent marker to mark where you want it to fall. Remember to account for the additional length of the clasp.
Clip the necklace to this shorter length using wire cutters. In most cases you only need to shorten the chain on one side, as this decreases the overall length. An exception would be if a pendant is in a fixed position in the centre of the necklace, which requires the necklace to be symmetrical.
Make sure the new clasp is compatible with the necklace. If you have kept the original clasp on the side of the necklace that you did not shorten, make sure it fits properly into the new clasp. Use a clasp with an end cap to seal off the chain so it cannot unravel.
Prepare your work space for soldering. You will be applying heat to your necklace, so work on a solid, nonflammable base like a brick or metal surface. Put on heat-resistant gloves and protective eyewear.
Apply soldering paste inside the end cap. You can use a toothpick, or apply it directly out of the applicator. The soldering paste will act as a glue when heated, bonding the materials together.
Heat the end cap with the torch. Keep the torch 6 inches from the surface. After a few seconds, the soldering paste will turn silver, and the solder has been formed. Allow the metal to cool.
Wash the clasp with soap and water to remove residue left behind from the solder.
Tips and warnings
- If these techniques are above your level of skill, you can also take the necklace to a jeweller.
- Take appropriate safety precautions before soldering.
- The heat from soldering sometimes causes discolouration in the metal.
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