The De-tangler

How to Untangle a Necklace

 A while back I ordered a wholesale supply of sterling silver chains to use with new pendants. I usually pay close attention to the details, especially when ordering a new item. The picture looked exactly like what I needed at a great price. Wrong!

When the order arrived the chains were as fine as hair. They seemed to tangle as you watched. Or maybe a gremlin had fun in my studio during the night!

I got rid of most of those chains at a yard sale, but before I did, I learned how to untangle metal chains and other things that seem to get knotted together. Here are 2 methods:

  1. Put some baby powder in a zippered plastic bag.
  2. Place the chain(s) in the bag and close tightly.
  3. Coat the chain(s) with the powder by shaking the bag.
  4. When you remove the chain from the bag, the knots are much easier to untangle. They sometimes just fall loose by themselves. No kidding!
  5. Rinse to remove the baby powder.

Next Step:

  1. Lay the tangled mess on a flat uncluttered surface, such as the kitchen table or a desk. Use a cutting board or mat to protect the table top, if necessary.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of light and magnification.
  3. Optional: Put a drop of baby oil on the knot to help the chain slide more easily.
  4. Start with one little part on the outside edge of the mass. Find an end if you can, and start there.
  5. Use 2 straight pins. One is to hold the center of the knot. The other is to tease the strands away, loosening the knot and untwisting the chains as much as possible. 
  6. Work your way around, gently loosening and untwisting as you go. “Gently” is the operative word. Pulling too hard, of course, can make the knot tighter.
  7. You will eventually find an end which will allow you to make more progress. 
  8. It's a tedious process. Patience is the key. If you find yourself frustrated, just walk away for a while and then come back.

I found this great video from Arden Jewelers that demonstrates the process, plus some ways to keep chains from tangling in the first place. Thank you Angelo!


My Sterling Silver Pendants are now available with your choice of chain length. Your order will include an 18 inch sterling silver snake or box chain, but you can select from 18 to 36 inches. And they hardly ever tangle!