About Chainmail

History

Chainmail was originally invented as a type of armour, and was generally in common military use between the 3rd century BC and the 14th century AD. There are still some beautiful examples of highly decorative armour, however it is only in recent years that this ancient art has been extended into the realms of jewellery and home wear.

There were several different weaves used for armour, with Europe and Asia developing different styles, and now hundreds of weaves for jewellery and other purposes have been developed by people in 3 main families – Japanese, Persian and European.


Important Things to Know About Chainmail Jewellery

  1. Never use household cleaners, detergents or cleaning agents that contain abrasives or harsh chemicals such as ammonia or chlorine. These can cause damage to colour finishes and to the metal as well.
  2. Wearing your pieces while swimming in pools is not recommended, due to the presence of chlorine and other harsh chemicals.
  3. Pieces should NEVER be put in your mouth due to the risk of choking.
  4. Your chainmail is not a toy and should not be given to children to wear or to play with. Rings are not welded so can be pulled apart if enough force is applied. The ends of an opened ring could scratch or even cut skin. If a child swallowed rings, stones or other pieces that make up your jewelry, it could result in serious medical consequences.
  5. Even though some of these pieces are made of metal they are still delicate; treat them as you would treat any fine piece of jewelry.
  6. When you are not wearing your piece, it is recommended that you keep it secured in a cloth bag or in a separate box, as it will help to protect your piece from damage.
  7. Although chainmail was originally used to prevent injury during battle, these pieces will not afford you protection from injury. If you are looking for “combat ready” pieces, there are craftsmen who specialize in this. If you cannot find someone contact me: I may be able to direct you to someone.

Chainmail Materials

These are the main materials that I work with. I can also work with hypoallergenic Titanium and Niobium, as well as precious metals such as gold, gold-fill, and sterling silver on request.

(Anodised) Aluminium

This comes in either bright (unanodised) or coloured (anodised) aluminium. It is available in a wide array of colours and sizes, making it perfect for jewellery that stands out and is comfortable to wear. The main properties of aluminium (usually shortened to BA (Bright) or AA (anodised) are:

  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Will not tarnish, corrode, or oxidize.
  • 2/3 the strength of steel.
  • 1/3 the weight of steel.

Important notes to care for your aluminium jewellery:

  • Clean with hot soapy water like washing up liquid, do not use strong acids or bases as it will affect the coating.
  • Do not polish, polishing will not make it brighter, only hurt the coating.
  • Harder metals will scratch the color so be careful when storing your jewellery.
  • Colours may vary slightly from photo. The rings are dyed in batches and some variation occurs.
  • Colours may fade slightly over time.
  • Some people may notice a black rub-off where the BA touches their skin. (How much of a rub-off may depend on the acid content of your skin; several people who have reactions to copper also react to aluminum.)

Stainless Steel

Don’t think that this is just for men – steel can make some beautiful pieces for everyone. It is comfortable to wear, but with a lovely heft that reminds you that you’re wearing it. I wear a stainless steel bracelet every day and it’s still as beautiful as the day I wove it. Stainless steel:

  • Will not tarnish, corrode, or oxidize.
  • Cheaper than silver.
  • Very strong and durable.
  • Very easy to care for.

Important notes to care for your steel jewellery:

  • Simply clean with hot soapy water.
  • Be careful around heat sources as steel can heat up quickly.

Bronze/Copper/Brass

If you have an allergy to nickel, do not wear bronze – most people who have allergies to nickel have negative reactions to bronze. These metals are all connected – bronze and jewellery brass are both alloys of copper with tin and zinc respectively. These metals oxidise to a beautiful patina, but can also be easily cleaned if you wish them to stay bright. These three metals:

  • Tarnish quickly, but can be cleaned (and the tarnish can be aesthetically pleasing)
  • Are quite soft, with copper being very soft.

Important notes to care for your bronze/copper/brass jewellery:

  • Brass and bronze can easily be cleaned with a commercial cleaner like Brasso.
  • Copper can be cleaned with commercial copper cleaner or add a bit of salt to some lemon juice and dip your jewelry in to soak for a few minutes. Once clean, rinse with water and dry well.
  • Harder metals will scratch the color so be careful when storing your jewellery.