I do a combination of making my own chains, cutting up sterling cable
chains and adding larger forged links and tweaking commercial chains.
For my lower-end work, I use commercial chains. For stand alone
chains, I would cut up cable chains, add various sized jump rings and
forge them to get more unique loop necklaces. I will also remove the
super tiny clasps on commercial chains and put much larger clasps on
to make it easier on my clients. Last, since I teach so much, I’ve
given up trying to make anything in my studio, and just knit wire
into Viking chains while in class. Now, I have a bunch of single
color, tri color and 8 color Viking knit chains I just have to finish
them off into complete necklaces.
I also buy vintage bronze/brass chains, finish off the ends, add
clasps, and sometimes send them off to be silver or goldplated.
Personally, I love making chains for it gives me time to solder.
Brazing is one of my most favorite things to do, so I look for an
excuse to braze as much as I can. No wonder I love to lampwork glass
beads in my spare time.