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12/18, 14/16, 18/18 trace chains...?

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  • 12/18, 14/16, 18/18 trace chains...?

    Hi everyone, I love making jewellery and I'm looking for a nice looking sterling silver trace chain. Can anyone please tell me what does 12/18, 14/16, 18/18 trace chain means and what is the difference between them?
    Many Thanks

  • #2
    I'm glad you asked this cos I have terrible probs getting the right chains. Can anyone HELP with how the sizing works and what different chain types would help. eg. what is 'trace' chain - i assumed it was fragile/not very strong??

    C'mon someone - please help.

    Claire x


    • #3
      I would love to know the answer to this too!
      I tend to half ignore this when buying chain although I do know 12/18 is smaller than 18/18 although I don't know what the numbers mean.
      Trace chain is just a style, the way the links are created and fixed together. Other styles are belcher, rope, figaro . . . etc

      Cooksons give you the actual dimensions of the chain, the width and length, so you can figure out how large or small it is.

      They also sell ready made chains if you don't want to make them up.

      You can get chain in lots of places though, it's just handy to have somewhere which tells you the actual dimensions.

      I'm sure someone else who knows a bit more about this things can help you a bit more!
      Last edited by ShinySilver; 25-08-2008, 02:11 PM.


      • #4
        Thanks for your help Shinysilver - it's a start .

        Looks like we're the only 3 out here that work with chain - after all you don't find many jewellery peeps around these days - - !
        Claire x


        • #5
          Yeah, you might be right


          • #6
            Looks like no-ones gonna play. Thanks Shinysilver.

            Claire x


            • #7
              Perhaps no one really knows the answer . . . it's just been done like that for so long and no one wants to admit they don't know what it means!!



              • #8
                Hmm I don't know 100%, but maybe its the same as the numbers that go with Gold Filled items??....

                "Gold fill is usually referred to by numbers ie 14/20 or 12/20. The first number is the carat of the gold layer, the second refers to the amount by weight of the gold in relation to the base layer. In these examples the gold layer is 1/20th or 5% by weight."

                (from Palmer Metals)

                Perhaps the numbers refer to the make up of the Sterling Silver? *shrug*
                My Website:
                Twitter: EndevaJewellery


                • #9
                  You could be right Endeva. I have no idea!!

                  Oh well, I'll just have to keep ordering them chains and hoping one day I'll get the hang of it!!!!

                  Claire x


                  • #10
                    Explanation of chain sizes, eg 12/18, 14/16, 18/18 etc

                    Hello all, happy to help re the chain sizes!

                    The numbers that relate to the size of the chain (not to the make-up of the sterling silver - sterling is always 925, ie 92.5% silver, though the alloys that make up the other 7.5% can vary).

                    So, for example (from Cookson's website):
                    12/18 Trace- 12 = gauge wire in inches/18 = links per inch

                    The links per inch gives you the best indication of size (especially if you don't have a wire gauge chart handy!)

                    Hope this helps, and happy jewellery-making to all!

                    Sarah Jane
                    Metal clay, silverwork, design & jewellery business tutor at the Sussex Jewellery School