Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The link to their website (below) is no longer active.
Chainmaille jewelry: A piece of jewelry made of numerous (small) metal rings, interlinked together [by hand] to form a pattern.
14 months ago, when I started to learn to create chainmaille jewelry, most [mainstream] people didn’t know what chainmaille jewelry is … and the ones who know about it are either jewelry designers or a people who are into Renaissance-themed festivals.
But … out of sudden, I started to see chainmaille jewelry pretty much everywhere: E.g. in several high end department stores in the U.S., in various contemporary/”bridge” online stores (incl. ShopBop), in a Forever 21 flagship in Tokyo , & in Hermes boutiques.
When I saw that Hermes incorporated chainmaille jewelry into its handbag designs, I knew that the image of chainmaille jewelry will no longer be the same. More & more people will notice chainmaille jewelry when they see them. Also, many people will start to appreciate it & see it as a work of art that demands the patience, perseverance, & dedication of its creator.
I created my first chainmaille jewelry in September 2011. That summer, I had a severe leg injury. I couldn’t move my leg. I couldn’t go out. When I finally got sick of playing video games & watching DVDs all day, I decided to find something more productive to do. So, I randomly browsed the internet to find some free tutorials … and then … I saw this e-book in Amazon.com:
I checked the book‘s sample pages, and I thought that it’d be fun if I can make the items I saw in the pages. Plus, it didn’t look so difficult.
I had some leftover stainless steel wire I got from Ace Hardware & some free electrical pliers & a wire cutter I got many years ago from Newsweek (those free gifts upon magazine subscription).
[ In case you want to know how come I had a length of leftover wire: I used to major in Transmedia Art back then when I was a college student ]
So, anyway … I made my own jump rings by coiling the wire onto a chopstick. I then cut it lengthwise, and used those free electrical pliers from Newsweek to create my very first chainmaille jewelry. I didn’t look so pretty, but I’m hooked. So, I asked my husband to get me some more wires & made so many more not-so-pretty chainmaille jewelry.
Well,actually, the pieces look pretty good from afar, but if you look at them closely, you’ll notice that the edges of my home-made jump rings are not so neat & that I used permanent markers & spray paint to color those jump rings (>_____<).
This is how the piece looks like if you look at it very closely
One day, I broke my wire cutter … I, of course, can easily get another wire cutter… but I started to think that may be it was time to use professionally made jump rings … like the one I saw in the Kindle Book, for example.
It took me days to decide which size of jump rings I should get … but it worth the time I spent.
Oh, by the way, I decided to buy better pliers as well … the ones that are created for jewelry-makers. The electrical pliers are too large and clunky for jewelry-making purposes.
Notice the instant improvement? (By the way, this is my very first original design)
Not so bad, but not ground-breaking either.
That summer, I spent roughly 14 hours per day creating chainmaille jewelry. So, even though it’s been no more than 14 months since I learned my very first chainmaille weave, I’ve already have more than 3,500 hours of chainmailling experience.
This probably is the most well-known chainmaille weave in existence. It’s called European 4-in-1.
The size(s) of the jump rings you use will determine the end look of the weave. This is the same weave the creator of the million dollars Hermes Nausicaa Sac Bijou (above) & the maker of this $14 Forever 21 necklace I saw in Harajuku use.
Which … happens to be the same weave Citrine by Stones incorporate to create this statement necklace:
But, there are many more (thousands, I heard) chainmaille weaves out there.
This weave (called the box weave) happens to be one of my favorites:
(This, by the way, also happens to be the very first chainmaille weave I learned)
This is weave I used to create these pieces:
Quite a versatile weave, isn’t it?
My other favorites are the Open Roundmaille Weave (the smaller ones you can see on both sides of the center part of the necklace) & this weave I invented by accident (the center part of the necklace):
This month, I’m going to blog about chainmaille every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.
Want to create your own chainmaille jewelry? (Chainmaille earrings and bracelets can make excellent stocking stuffers / Christmas gifts~)
I’m planning to write several tutorials and several tips & tricks (with tons of informative pictures) I learned through trials & errors these past 3,500+ hours.
Not sure whether chainmailling’s for you? My detailed tutorials (and the pictures that accompany them) might help you to decide.
Also, next week, I’m going to hold a chainmaille starter kits giveaway. The winners are going to be selected at random. [I will post more about this next week]
[P.S. Tomorrow, I’m going to write about my most recent outdoor photoshoots & post the pictures of my jewelry & headpiece new designs. There will be a lot of pictures I’m excited to share with you. Here are several of the (cropped) off shots. What do you think?]