Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2020

Gold Chains

The Intrepid Wendell has expertise in chain making.  Gold, silver, and platinum are pliable – almost magically so. Since the earliest recorded history, their flexibility has inspired humans to weave chains using links of these precious metals.  Worn to display wealth, show love, protect from evil, and to decorate, gold rope chains and gold link chains are a highlight of any wardrobe.

Handmade 22kt yellow gold chain

Every January, we travel to Vicenza, Italy, where the latest technology in mechanized chain making is displayed.  We see wonderfully precise machines from Italy and Germany forming gold and silver into high-quality chains at many inches per minute.  Popular items like tennis chains and Cuban link chains made by German and Italian technical equipment are stunning.

Handmade sterling silver chain

Precision has its virtues, but well-made handcrafted items can be even more luxurious, especially if made according to age-old traditions. The Intrepid Wendell offers gold rope chains that are made entirely without 21st Century tools.  These chains begin as either ingots or coins that are alloyed to the desired karatage and then hand-drawn into wire.  Using special knitting needles, the chains are woven by hand.  Oftentimes, the person knitting the chain will say prayerful devotions, literally weaving prayers into the finished product.

Antique silver chain with bauble charms. After many years of wear, the metal feels almost as smooth as leather.

The weavers are borne from a tradition of proud, yet nervous, royals. By weaving complicated and elegant chains out of the metal in their treasuries, they were sure of two things: They would be the fashion icons of the realm and they would never be separated from their wealth.


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