Image: Fire Mountain Gems
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Chain Maille Jewelry
Chain maille jewelry is a meshwork made from interlocking multiple metal rings in various patterns.
The rings, called ‘jump rings’, can be purchased in packs or made from any metal wire using a pair of pliers. They’re also available in many colors in addition to copper, silver, or gold.
The manual technique is simple: you are opening a jump ring, adding it to the next spot in the mesh, then closing it. While that is simple, the beautiful patterns and multitude of variations for interlocking rings are the basis for the infinite ways of creating chain maille jewelry.
The only thing you need not included in the starter kit is a pair of pliers.
Minimal varieties of material needed – you can make many, many different pieces of jewelry from the same size jump ring.
Only need a small horizontal work surface area.
Opening and closing the jump rings repetitively can make your fingertips sore after awhile, until you get used to it.
Getting Started Weaving Beads
Only a few simple tools and materials are required, so getting started learning how to make chain maille jewelry is inexpensive. Great starter kits for making a bracelet like this can be found on Amazon:
Though not necessary to get started, this handy little tool saves your fingertips from the repetitive pressure from holding the jump rings as you open and close them:
Amazon is, of course, the easy answer on where to find more resources and materials, but other online bead jewelry suppliers like Fire Mountain Gems often have just as great prices and are easier to search because they are specialty suppliers for jewelry makers. They also are a great resource for project ideas and free tutorials.
I was introduced to chain maille by my son-in-law, who had friends that made actual chain mail accessories for medieval costumes. My son-in-law made mens bracelets, but I’ve found many colorful and surprisingly delicate, beautiful chain maille patterns for earrings, necklaces and bracelets. You can check them out on my Pinterest Board here.
It takes very little practice to learn how to open and close the jump rings. Start with a simple pattern, and you’ll have beautiful chain maille jewelry in no time!
Looking For More?
Check out our Pinterest Board of some amazing chain maille creations from master artists.
There are as many styles of jewelry making as there are styles of jewelry. You can learn more about each of them here: