Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review - Creative Chain Mail Jewelry

By on Thursday, November 03, 2011 5 Comments

Chain mail or chain maille as I prefer to spell it, is definitely becoming really popular. There used to be such a dearth of books on it.  Not any more.

The latest book I received from Kalmbach is Creative Chain Mail Jewelry, a compilation of nearly 30 projects from both Art Jewelry and Bead and Button magazines.

As the title suggests, it is an inspirational book merging together ideas of how to make chain maille more colorful and fun to do. The addition of beads, colored and rubber rings and some simple wire work goes a long way.

Shown here are some of the projects from the book. The pdf preview and index has bigger pictures. 

There is a good range of projects to suit different skill levels.  The knot bracelet for instance, can be tackled by beginners.

The selection of projects also covered variations using popular weaves.  For example, if you like shaggy loops, they've included it in the ruffled earrings project.

Experienced chain maille enthusiasts might find some of the simpler projects unremarkable. However, there are lovely inspirational gems like the asymmetrical necklace.  Or the technically challenging one like the Heracles knot necklace which is a combination of soldered Heracles (Hercules or love) knots and short Byzantine links.

One of my favorites from the book is John Wik's clever bezel. He not only incorporated the cord into the design but the "gem" is a guitar pick!  Another was Miachelle DePiano's tubular chain maille necklace where she converted a flat European weave into a 3D one!

Often the hardest part about doing chain maille is the start. So I was delighted with the tip in one of the projects which uses sticky tape and a mandrel to hold the beginning rings in place. Brilliant!

I suspect utter beginners will struggle with some of the directions as chain maille is harder to learn from a book format.  Also bear in mind there is usually more than one way to start a weave so what is shown in a particular project may not be the easiest way.  I found there just weren't enough pictures to properly illustrate the method of starting a Full Persian weave using a pin in one project but it was clearer in another  using short lengths of wire.

Overall,  if you had a go with chain maille before and are looking for more ideas, then this book should be on your list.


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



  1. This book looks awesome! I love chain maille, and I love dressing it up with sparklies. :)

    I'm not sure if Mr. Sequin and I have this book in our jewelry library. If not, we'll have to get it!

    We do have Chained by our very good friend Rebeca Mojica of Blue Buddha Boutique, though, which is another amazing book.

  2. *lol* I remember the day when I tried to start a half persian bracelet.....I almost killed myself and wanted a third hand. And yes, chainmaille seems to get more and more popular. Even my classes fill up quicker. Although I like more the "traditional" look, the book looks good.

  3. Yes, I agree Chained was excellent too. It's in my past review list!

    Yes, Dagi. I well remember the very first time I tried chain maille and couldn't figure out how to do a byzantine!

  4. Chain maille is my favorite jewelry making technique!
    So glad I found your site and all the posts with tutorials and link to chainmaille books!
    And big thanks - it's from you full persian tutorial that I learned, after several unssucessful tries, how to make it. Now that I looked through more of your posts I found it and remembered :)

    Oh, may I add a link to your site on my blog?

  5. Absolutely Gaby! I would be honored. Glad you found my tutorials and book reviews!