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Using used chain?

Hi Folks,

I have a bit of an ethical quandary, and wonder if I’m making too
much of it. A client recently approached me to make a setting for an
old coin and provided some silver he wanted to use in it. I’d
normally fabricate such a thing, but in order to use this “scrap”
silver, I’m going to do a casting. One of the things he brought me
was a perfectly useable heavy sterling chain. My feeling is the value
of the chain is much more than the silver scrap value.

To make matters worse, I just completed a series of parrot wing
chrysocolla pendants, and am having trouble finding varied and
interesting ways to carry them. One pendant is still waiting, and it
might actually look pretty good on this chain.

I don’t have an ethical problem substituting other scrap for the
chain in the customer’s job. Its just there as weight, with no
sentimental value. Where I do have a question is whether I can/should
sell the chain on a new piece without revealing its previously owned
status. I also resist using commercial chains on my one-of-a-kind
pendants… how much do you folks feel a commercial chain detracts
from the overall presentation?

Thanks in advance,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Dave, I would ask your client if he had any objections to your
substituting silver for his chain. Unless he has some sentimental
attachment to that paticular chain and wants it included in the new
piece, I doubt that he would have an objection.

If you are substituting your own metal for his chain, then you have,
in effect, paid for the chain and should have no ethical problems
selling it to someone else.

Joel Schwalb

Hi Dave

  how much do you folks feel a commercial chain detracts  from the
overall presentation? 

I feel that a commercial chain is fine, as long as it is one that is
suitable, both in strength and in matching the piece. For instance,
a Figaro chain (my favorite) may not be strong enough or the design
of the pendant may not artistically look good with a Figaro. I have
also found that if the majority of my pendants are sold separate from
a chain they sell better as many people have their own favorite
chains at home and don’t wish to pay for the chain. I a few pendants
are on chains, both handmade and commercial, and the rest are not it
also gives variety in your display both from a price and an artistic

As to melting a perfectly good chain, I think it a shame to melt
something of value. Having said that, I deal with a lot of people in
the metaphysics and most of them would not wear a used chain unless
they knew the person it came from. In a case like that I would clean
it carefully and if the person interested was into that stuff I would
give them the option of refusing the chain. Cleaning by the way is
both polishing it and sitting it over night on an Amethyst cluster
(to clean any negative energy out).

Hope this helps

Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady)
May your gems always sparkle.

Dave: How about leaving the choice of chain up to the customer.
Show them the pendant with the manufactured chain and with one of
your own fabricated chains, and see which one appeals more to them.


Dave, why not offer him the fair price value for the chain in
fabrication, casting grain and labor? The chain is for some reason no
use to him, but you see that it will go well with one of your
creations. A quick dip in hydrogen peroxide will rid the chain of any
gross dirt. If you’re concerned about the ethics of selling a used
chain, just be upfront about it: “This chain came to me by another
customer, but it was such a lovely piece, I didn’t want to destroy
it. I think it sets off the design of the pendant perfectly, don’t


I think it’s all in how you look at it… your parrot wing pendant
comes with a rare “vintage” chain… I myself wouldn’t sell it as a
new chain.

I also use machine made chains on my pendants, one thing that helped

was finally finding a curb or cable style chain (from downeast) and
liver-of-sulfuring the brand new chains, then polishing again, for a
more handmade look.

…as with all advice, you’ve got to consider the source! :slight_smile: