I have got the bug for making chain maille jewellery – big time! I have been experimenting with lots of different chain maille designs and will share some of these with you.
Since I managed to find a source of the required jumprings so that I didn’t have to make my own like my friend Elena (see my earlier post for some of Elena’s beautiful pieces) life has become so much easier for me to pursue this interest. Elena makes all her materials from scratch from copper or silver wire but the movements caused havoc with my neck and shoulders and, to be quite honest, I found that part really boring (clearly I’m not a purist). I much prefer to simply purchase the starting material from the wonderfully named Weave Got Maille and start creating to my heart’s content – that’s the bit that I love.
I purchased a book that focused specifically on the different chain maille designs themselves and have been quite astonished at the variety of patterns that you can make simply by linking circles of wire together. I’ve been making bracelets to start with just to compare the designs and see what they look like.
My favourite so far is the Byzantine (or Birdcage) design and there are all sorts of simple variations you can make by spacing the basic design units apart using a pair of rings either straight or twisted together. I’ve also made this as a necklace (and another on request as a present) and it looks stunning as a classic piece of jewellery.
There is another similar design called the Turkish Round that uses more rings to form a fatter circle.
The Full Persian (or Foxtail) design uses larger rings and has a quite distinctive V-shaped pattern along it. And the Half Persian variant is pretty much as the name says: half of the design of the Full Persian; it makes quite an interesting pattern (and can look effective using 2 different colours) but it is my least favourite of all the designs I’ve tried as it doesn’t sit very nicely when the bracelet is on.
The Box Chain design is also called Mermaid’s Tail and you can certainly see why when it is made using a range of blue colours.
The very basic 2-in-2 Chain can also look quite stunning – for a variation use thicker gauge wire.
Perfect for gifts
You can make bracelets using jumprings made of Artistic Wire® (copper wire that is enamel coated in a wide range of colours including gold) for a very reasonable price and they don’t take too long to make. Having a few ready-made to give as gifts has been wonderful and they are always well received.