What is chainmaille?
Chainmaille is armor, jewelry, or a variety of other pieces made by connecting individual metal rings to one another in a specific pattern. Each ring is opened and closed using pliers, and the name comes from the French word for “mesh”: maille.
What kinds of metal do you use?
I use a huge variety of metals! The vast majority of my pieces at anodized aluminum and stainless steel, but I have worked with and can get rings in things like titanium, niobium, copper, bronze, and even precious metals.
What’s the best metal for me?
That question depends a lot on your preferences, needs, and budget! If you have any questions or want a custom order please don’t hesitate to contact me and I can talk you through to make sure you get what’s right for you! Below I have listed some of the metals you may see in pieces on the site or at an event, but I’m happy to discuss any others you may have interested in.
Anodized aluminum is lightweight, comes in a variety of beautiful colors at a great price, and makes beautiful jewelry. Very few people are allergic to aluminum and it's a really popular choice-- most of my pieces are anodized aluminum (for color) and stainless steel (for weight and strength). Over time the color can wear, especially in 24/7 pieces.
Stainless steel has great weight to it (that’s why I often mix it in with aluminum), is strong and durable, and great for 24/7 collars. Most people can wear stainless steel (even many people with nickel allergies, since the nickel content in the grade of stainless I use is so small) and it’s one of the most popular metals.
Titanium is lightweight and strong, it also makes great 24/7 collars, comes in stunning colors, and can be worn by many people with metal allergies. Depending on your skin and body chemestry, the color may be affected, and over time the color may wear off. The price can be significantly more than some other materials, but it can be worth it!
Bronze is similar in weight to stainless and is a lovely color. It will patina over time and change color with wear—that is perfectly normal and considered part of the beauty of the metal. Because bronze contains copper it can occasionally turn the skin green, depending on your body chemistry.
What should I look for in chainmaille and an artist?
Chainmaille isn’t something all of us are always super familiar with, how can you make sure you’re getting a good quality piece! There are a few things you can ask about or see in photos that can help you find a good quality piece!
Closures—Look at how well the rings are closed. Are the ends properly butted up against each other with no gaps? Are they meeting without one end sticking up above the other? Even rings with small gaps in the closures can potentially work their way open enough to come apart or catch your hair, and you don’t want that!
Rings—Do the rings look like they’re in good shape? You shouldn’t be able to see any marks or nicks from the pliers, the color on them should be smooth with no gaps or variation, the rings shouldn’t look warped or twisted.
Sizing—When you purchase a handmade piece you usually want it to fit well! And with chainmaille (especially if your piece is a softer metal) you want to make sure it’s not so tight that it’s pulling and putting extra pressure on the rings. Regardless of who you’re purchasing from, it’s worth it to ask if you can order the piece to a custom length to make sure it fits you perfectly!
Responding to needs—this mostly depends on your personal preference, but you may want to consider if someone is willing to respond to questions or concerns you have, if they are knowledgeable and willing to explain what and why they’re recommending a metal or weave, and if they ask you questions about what your needs are to make sure you’ll get the best piece for you.