Thursday, 21 June 2012

Chainmail Love

Chainmail or chainmaille has been around for a very long time but has become increasingly popular in recent years not just because of the growing interest in re-enactments , but also because of its versatility in jewellery & fashion. Created simply with jump rings which can be of all types of material, not just wire (eg; rubber) & a whole variety of thicknesses & sizes.

You can buy pre-made jump rings with neatly sawn off ends, but if money is an issue then you just make your own jump rings by winding wire around  any regular tube eg: a nail, pen or knitting needle provided it is the size that you want. You then snip through along one side creating independent rings with standard wire cutters, although this will give a slightly slanted cut to your ends. Using a jewellery saw will give a neater finish to that when you close the jump rings they shut together more closely.

I discovered chainmail a couple of years back by seeing an article about Dylon Whyte who is an avid chainmailler. At first attempts, I nearly gave up as it is very intricate, time consuming & fiddly! However, being myopic I soon learnt to lift my specs up on my head & open & close those tiny links using my very good near vision! Investing in narrow ended pliers & good lighting is also a must! 

The oldest piece of chainmail is thought to be some 2700 years old. It has been found in the graves of 5th century Scythia & also Celtic warriors. It's recognizable strength was  utilized at its peek in the middle ages with armour. However, it is still used now for protection eg: butchers gloves, shark protection suits.

The most recognisable pattern is the European 4 in 1 which is exactly as it says - 4 rings through each one ring. However there are many other weaves now used in jewellery, such as byzantine, persian, dragon scale etc. Many can be seen at the site.

It was being used in jewellery as early as the Roman times & by early Egyptians. Wearing chainmail jewellery gives you a wonderful feel of travelling back into those times of hero knights & warriors, hidden treasures & ancient spiritual connections.