The Byzantine chain is a jewellery mystery with its name and origin remaining unknown but most signs indicate a very ancient root. Despite its age, the Byzantine style stands the test of time thanks to its unique ornate design.
Although Byzantine is the most common name for this chain it can also be found under a slew of other names including Birdcage, Idiot’s Delight as well as the King’s Braid chain. The chain’s many names are probably testament to its age and widespread manufacture. Because of how antique and traditional the design looks it truly evokes a regal feeling, a modern byzantine chain wouldn’t look amiss around the necks and wrists of emperors and empresses of ancient empires.
From the outset the chain does look quite intimidating but really the process is quite simple when it’s broken down. In order to create this chain four rings are closed together and another two are added. The rings at the end are then folded back leaving a gap for the rings next to it to open and allow two more rings around the folded pair. Once the final addition is closed another set of 4 can be added and folded in the way in the opposite direction. With this the weave is complete and the intricate patterning is created. The end result is a chain where each link passes through 4 others, which is why it is also known as a 4 in 1 chain.
If you have a couple of jump rings lying around maybe give this one a go yourself, but it will likely prove a fairly meticulous process.
Byzantine chain is naturally heavier than most chains due to how many links are involved in its design but it can be made lighter or heavier depending on what metal is used and the size and weight of rings involved. Small links make an intricate puzzle of a chain, larger ones offer a bold and loud statement.
We can’t stop you from doing what you want with your chain but the Byzantine doesn’t really need any additions like pendants or charms, it’s an eye-catching piece by itself. Additionally a striking visual difference can be achieved by weaving the rings tightly together for a more closed chain or leaving more space between them for an open design. The chain can even sometimes be found in a graduated style with rings becoming larger in the centre of a necklace. While the heavier weight of the chain paired with its bold patterning make it a natural choice for gent’s jewellery the potential for variation in design means that it succeeds as a stylish option for all.
Available in a range of styles and sizes in sterling silver and 9ct gold, visit 925jewellery.co.uk for the full Byzantine collection.