Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review - Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry

By on Thursday, May 17, 2012 6 Comments

Combining two or more different jewelry making techniques is a sure fire way of coming up with novel designs. It's a tactic used by many innovative artisans. One of them is Laura Poplin who applied her metal and leather skills in concert with her love of making chain mail jewelry. The result is some really lovely jewelry and a book!

Unconventional Chain Mail Jewelry includes 21 projects covering 5 types of popular weaves. As this book is so novel in its approach the beginning of the book contains chain mail, leather and metal work basics. A 3 for 1 deal!

One great example of how the author teaches the combination approach is the Clichy pendant and earrings design.  Twisted wire is used to form the large hoops and the ends are soldered.  The familiar and ever popular European 4-in-1 weave is used to add the pearls and herkimer diamond (uncommon quartz crystal) dangles.  She then added a Japanese 12-in-2 weave bail.

The Oops weave or more correctly, an uneven European 4-in-1 weave adds informal fun for her Pontoise bracelet. This weave is less open than the more uniform version. So it might appeal to people who like a fabric look. Laura also uses leather pieces instead of metal ones for a number of her designs. As she pointed it, her designs do allow for interchanging the two materials depending on one's personal preference.

The Otobe necklace again is another design which combines 3 different disciplines - Japanese chain mail, metal work for the cloud element and wire work where the side drilled beads were wrapped.
It's easy to be inspired by all her designs. I could see myself using even purchased metal discs and punching holes for attaching the chain mail portions.  Does it have to be copper or bronze? Nope.

The book had inspirational designs at the end of each section. In a couple of sections, there was only one design so I was puzzled by the "Gallery" title to these pages. A gallery implies more than 1 piece. Perhaps the original intention was to have a Gallery section at the end of the book for all of them.

A small point really for a book that does a good job in making chain mail artisans think beyond just jump rings.


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



  1. Nice to see something different. Combining various techniques leads to something unique!

  2. It is not often that I see a book I want to purchase because of a few posted designs. This is one that I am ordering for sure. Laura's jewelry designs are fresh and updated and not like most everything else I have seen. Thanks, Pearl, for the review.

  3. Yes, her designs are not like most other people's. That's why combining techniques is so effective. Her designs are rich in detail and texture.

  4. Ditto! Will be buying this one!

    My husband's best friend has a life long interest in fashioning historical chain mail out of thrift shop finds. I think he may buy it, too!

  5. I love combining techniques, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for this book! Personally, I love bead embroidery and chain maille together. :)

  6. Now that is a wonderfully novel combination! Go for it!