Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chain Maille Book Review - Chained

By on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8 Comments

Many Rings Rule!
Part 2 of 2
Last December, I didn't actually review Rebeca's Mojica's first book,  Chained: Create Gorgeous Chain Mail Jewelry One Ring at a Time. The past post was all about how a jewelry book got published.

Her book deserves a review as Rebeca has done much to advance this branch of jewelry making. It's growing in popularity because the innovations and creativity of chain maille artisans like Rebeca have won over the people who thought chain maille as too masculine or too dull.

Although she does use beads in a few of the projects, Rebeca's forte is the extensive use of color via anodized metals. Not only do the design possibilities jump, the colored rings are like an in-built color coding system!

She uses Tool Magic (see link below) to coat the tips of her tools which allows her "to work faster without worrying about marring the rings or scratching off the color." I would add it's essential if you work with anodized metals especially aluminum because you can easily nick the coating no matter how careful or slowly you work.  I have some anodized rings from years ago which were abandoned in favor of solid metals because of this problem. So I finally bought Tool Magic and now love it!

Japanese Cross Pendant
Chained is the most thorough chain maille book I have ever come across.  Unlike other authors, Rebeca included imperial units for ring dimensions. Some chain maillers like myself seem to remember 3/16" easier than 4.8 mm! She not only rated the projects by skill level as many books do, but she also gave helpful time expectations. How to clean and care for chain maille jewelry including colored rings?  She's got that covered too.

Every step she illustrates is well thought out. When I attempted the Japanese cross pendant design, I spotted what I thought was a missed short-cut only to discover Rebeca broke it down to more than one step because it was much easier that way. Rebeca wanted her first book to be the definitive book for getting started with chain maille jewelry. I'd say she achieved her objective!

The choice of weaves, detailed instructions and loads of tips and tricks showed me the book was written by someone who can teach and teaches well. Rebeca concentrates on 4 easy types of weaves - Japanese, Byzantine, Helm and Coiled - with many variations of each.

These weaves are suitable for beginners and yet the more complex variations are inspiring enough for advanced ring weavers. I particularly loved the pretty combination weaves. The coiled chapter especially requires the use of many rings to give the illusion of coiled wire.


Unlike most book authors whose designs are only for personal use, Rebeca has generously allowed readers to use any of the designs to sell anywhere. I might well take her up on that as her book has been a wonderful source of inspiration for me.

I didn't have one of the ring sizes and had to adapt the design. Therefore here is the prototype of my interpretation of the Japanese cross pendant appropriately entitled "Kisses". I'll be wearing this pair soon, Rebeca!


Before You Go :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. I love Rebecca's book. I bought it after Christmas but I haven't had a chance to make anything yet. I was one of those people who found chain mail dull until I saw your previous post on her book. The pictures were enough to convince me to buy her book. I will be taking a course on anodizing metal in March, so I will definitely try some of her designs. Bring on the Tool Magic!!

  2. I will have to grab this book. I have been wanting to try the chain maille but have always found it to be intimidating.

  3. If you start from the beginning of the book with the simplest of the designs, and take your time about reading the directions, you'll soon learn!

  4. I guess I must have been hiding under a rock as I've not seen the use of colored rings in chain maille designs, or at least nothing as wonderful as these pieces of jewelry. Such beautiful designs! I think I'm in love with Rebeca's Japanese cross bracelet, the silver and blue are gorgeous together.
    It is also impressive how, since you didn't have one of the jumpring sizes called for in the pattern, you adapted it to come up with your own unique and very lovely design.

    Okay here's another book to add to my Amazon.com wish list. :)

  5. It really was a case of making do! And also understanding the constraints of the substitute ring size.

  6. A wonderful review for a wonderful book. It makes me want to run out and buy a copy... and there's one sitting on my bookshelf already. :)

  7. Talk about hiding under a rock, where can I buy colored jump rings in all sizes? I can't figure out the formula to adjust sizes.

  8. Several online suppliers sell colored jump rings - try Blue Buddha Boutique, The Ring Lord and Metal Designz. Ring sizes are very specific to weaves. Also check out International M.A.I.L. online - it is a useful site for chain maille enthusiasts.