Chainmaille. No, Not Spam or Medieval Armour

Pictured above is the most ridiculous necklace I’ve ever made. Almost half a pound of pure copper woven by interconnecting roughly 1200 individual rings one by one. That’s what chainmaille jewelry is, tiny metal circles that can only connect to each other one way interlinked thousands of times with thousands of different combinations.

You can imagine that’s a slow, tedious, and repetitive process; sometimes one that demands blood if your pliers slip. It’s also a process that can create some of the most diverse, unique, and beautiful metal jewelry. I myself first started locking rings seven or eight years ago, but it’s ultimately a process that goes back much much further than that.

Remember this?

It’s exactly the same as this:

This being one of the bracelets I’ve made, it’s not something you’d wear into battle as we used to with chainmail armour. Well you could, but you probably wont. However, it is made from the same technique that originally created the armor pictured, and it’s not fragile either.

The dichotomy there between armour and jewelry is why this form of chainmaille is so incredibly diverse. A piece of it could easily be worn as part of a heavy metal band outfit, or by a bride at a wedding.

You’ll also never find simpler jewelry. Which I know doesn’t make sense with the diversity or the sometimes delicate and complex appearance. Think of a chain, that’s all it is, circular rings linked together. And there’s only so many different ways closed circles can interlock with each other.

The impossibility of this complex simplicity is ultimately why chainmaille jewelry is unique, it’s a metallic illusion. That ridiculous necklace at the top of this post is made using the easiest most basic beginner’s weave, byzantine; also known by names such as “Fool’s Dilemma” and “Idiot’s Delight” for how it can trick you into thinking it’s complicated. You can watch this video below to see exactly how simple the process of making byzantine chain is:

Alternatively if you wish to see more of my work like the piece below or get some of it for yourself click here.

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