Chain Mail Jewellery & Accessories by Angie Mack

Posts tagged “aluminium

UV (Black) Light Reactive Chain Mail

I recently picked up some of these rings and didn’t waste much time trying out a couple of my favourite weaves. The top image is Dragonscale (which I love, despite being one of the most time-consuming weaves I know).

The rings themselves are anodized aluminium, with the same look as bright aluminium in any other light, but reacting with a pearl-ish glow when under black light – image of the same bracelet in natural light below.

The pigment is the same as any other AA ring, in that it will scratch off if you’re too rough with your pliers, you just won’t be able to see the damage unless you shine the UV light on it.

After the Dragonscale, I went for something a bit less time-intensive – the staple Byzantine, with purple rubber o-rings.

I wasn’t able to get the greatest shots of the pieces when under the UV light, but you can still get a good idea of what they look like in real life. I have a couple of slightly more interesting designs in mind to try with these rings, hopefully they’ll work and I can post pics of them soon.


Japanese Lace Chain Mail Slave Bracelets

These are something I’ve been intending to experiment with for quite a while using the Japanese weaves, as there’s quite a few different ways you can use it to form shapes and patterns.

I started with some very simple 12-2 flowers formed into webs, and while I think they look alright, it didn’t take long for me to start thinking of all these different ways to improve the overall look (that will have to come later, for now I’m just playing with the materials I bought, which was only in a couple of different colours).

As you can see, this is exactly the same design but with red rings in place of the lavender purple, but – naturally – one colour change can alter the entire tone of a piece, with the red and black combo having a more Gothic feel to it (perhaps just in my opinion!)

The first one I made was actually in pink and champagne (a bronzish gold tone), a colour combo based purely on the fact that I could then call the piece ‘Pink Champagne…’ Pink and gold does tend to go together well enough, but I think the pink might be a little too hot for the champagne.

I also wanted this one to be constructed entirely from rings, and rather than have a simple chain to loop around the finger, I went for a finger ring using an extra flower unit as the base. I’ve made a 12-2 ring before, but I used a small European 4-in-1 to construct the band, as it’s much thinner. However, I wore this for a little while and was happy to note the thickness of the ring band (which is as much as 5mm), doesn’t get annoying or feel obtrusive. (I do, however, prefer the simple chain. I’m not a big pink fan though, so perhaps it’s just a matter of there being too much pink in that one).

Because it looks a bit like crochet lace to me, I now have a dozen ideas for clothing pieces using the same weave (more things that will have to wait, until my budget is able to match my wish list, anyway).

I decided to use the leftover champagne rings to knock up a quick bracelet, which is a fairly common version of the weave I think, but I did end up quite liking it teamed with black.

Despite not being the biggest fan of aluminium for jewellery, I can’t help but be attracted to all the pretty colours and infinite combo possibilities.

Stats for these pieces:

  • Large rings are 16G 5/32″ or 1.2mm x 3.97mm ID
  • Small rings are 20G 1/8″ or 0.8mm x 3.18mm ID

Rainbow Dragonfly Chain Mail Bracelet

I’ve been working on a few new designs the last month or so, which I plan to post soon, but for the first post of 2013 I thought I’d go with something bright and colourful.

This piece is really centred around the clasp, which is one of those things I had to buy and then took me ages before I came up with an idea to use it. (I have a tendency to spend a lot of time just looking for interesting multi-strand clasps, then not quite knowing what to do with them to really set them off).

As it turned out, the bracelet is probably amongst the simplest pieces I’ve ever made, since the silver rings are closed and the weave is rather quick when two-thirds of the work is already done, not to mention they’re on the larger size, so less rings per cm (or inch).

The weave is European 6-1, and as you can see in the image below, the overall AR is quite high (the silver rings have an OD of 8mm and are about 1mm thick, and the anodized aluminium rings through the centre are 1.2mm thick with an ID of 6.35).

The overall effect of using a larger AR with this weave is that the rings take on a kind of zig-zag pattern when stretched out a little, as it is when worn – something which I think is quite effective with the multiple colours and I’m hoping to use that to my advantage with a peacock inspired colour scheme in the near future.



Not Tao 3 Choker (Green, Black & Silver)

The Not Tao 3 unit has always reminded me a little of the biohazard symbol (not an exact match, I know, but the similarity is enough for me), so when I saw the gas mask pendants I decided to combine the two for a choker.

While I did take a look at this tutorial for Not Tao 3, I din’t have rings in those sizes and also found it easier to construct the units in a different way, which I’ll try to get around to posting soon as I think it would work well for most Not Tao units. (These units use 1.2mm thick stainless steel rings with an 8mm OD, so an AR approximately 4.65, and just the standard AWG 18G – 1.2mm – 3/16’s, AR around 4. They aren’t super rigid on their own, but work well in a chain as they maintain both shape and a little flexibility).

Once I’d made a few units, the first problem to solve was which way to link them together for a nice looking chain – obviously from the image, I went with a very simple 2-1-2 link between each unit, but I do have a habit of overcomplicating things from the outset and first tried to link two points together so that I’d ultimately have to link two to two, then one to one and so on….if that makes sense.

I also tested linking them so that every second unit had the point facing the other way so that it would take on a bit of a zig-zag pattern, but while that could work for a bracelet, it’s ultimately a little awkward for a choker.

I think this would probably look good with some neon green crystals set into the eyes of the mask, or possibly done in red. For an even more elaborate cyber punk look, I’d go for some green spikes attached all the way around.


Three Bracelets

The time since my last post has been a lot longer than I intended, but at least I have (mostly) put that time to good use. Along with learning new weaves, I’ve also been experimenting with different material and techniques.

As may be evident from previous posts, stainless steel is probably the most common material I work with, mostly due to the fact that (in my opinion), it’s the best material for the least outlay, so I thought I’d post a couple of things I’ve worked on recently that use some different materials.

The lighting wasn’t particularly great when I took this picture, but this is Dragonscale made from copper and stainless steel. I really like the look of this weave and immediately had a bunch of other ideas for using it, but have also found it to be one of the most time consuming and material-heavy weaves I’ve learned so far, particularly as the method I used (learned from this tutorial over at CGMaille) adds each ring one at a time. (I did look up a method for speedweaving Dragonscale, but honestly could not wrap my head around the instructions).

The copper rings I bought turned out to be less than ideal for chain mail (although they were advertised as such), which you may be able to see in this Byzantine bracelet.

Despite the flaws of the rings in this piece, the colour of copper seems to suit chain mail work – I favour it over brass and bronze at any rate.

Lastly, while still not quite a fan of gold as a colour, as well as becoming a little disenchanted with aluminium for anything other than decorative components in larger pieces, I made this bracelet in Australia’s official team colours with the upcoming Olympic Games in mind (as an alternative to those disposable rubber bracelets).

I had thought the colour combo was going to be a bit too garish to be passable as a piece of jewellery for any other type of occasion, but I was pleasantly surprised at the overall effect. I’m sure it still has limited appeal, but for my money is a bit more versatile than the silicone wristbands. (As a sidenote, I tried a couple of different Japanese weaves using these colours but they just didn’t suit as much as the butterfly weave).

Still all relatively simple and straightforward, but may give some inspiration to someone else out there.


Fun with Cherries – Chain Mail Necklaces

Cherries and cherry blossoms have been one of my favourite motifs or themes in jewellery for quite a while, so I decided to experiment with beads and pendants this week (although, technically I think the pendant is a plum blossom branch).

The necklace above is a choker which I decided to keep simple and primarily about pink. The chain is just a 1-2 pattern made from bright aluminium plus pink anodized aluminium mobius rosettes, with green anodized aluminium links where the pendant and bead clusters are attached.

The pendant is a relatively inexpensive component that I painted with a pink enamel (from mixing red and white gloss enamels). The bead clusters have a 6mm rhodonite bead and 4mm green glass bicones in various colours.

After that was done, I decided to take the concept a little further and try for something a little more elaborate and exotic, which resulted in this necklace.

This one is made from segments of European 4-in-1 weave (5mm stainless steel rings, plus 6mm rings), connected to pink, green and silver mobius rosettes (aluminium rings). I went for a true cherry colour with the bead clusters and used the same green mix for the glass bicones. I decided to include the emerald green butterfly beads to give it a bit of a garden aesthetic, if that makes sense.

The first one I think has more of a spring flavour to it, while the second a little more suited to winter.


Heart Pendant Necklaces – Beaded Chain Mail with Wire Work

Before I found my niche (so to speak) with chain mail, I attempted wire work and really didn’t do so well with it – it’s a lot more work, and requires much more finesse and patience, than I expected and I gave up on it quite quickly. Generally I wouldn’t be proud of that, but chain mail was the next thing I tried and while I didn’t get the hang of it straight away, my failure with wire work made me determined to stick it out with the mail. I’m really glad I did, as I love it more than any of the jewellery techniques I have so far learned.

The point, though, is that I have continued to not only admire the work I’ve seen done with wire, but wish I was somewhat competent at it so I can incorporate it into the mail. So that ‘s what these two necklaces were about. They’re nothing special, but they’re definitely a drastic improvement on my earlier attempts.

The first necklace is a simple beaded chain made with black anodized aluminium rings and white crackle glass beads (which I love), plus enamelled copper for the wire work, which I kept quite simple. The pendant is clear glass with a mirrored finish on the back, hence the warbled reflection of me an my camera – I’ve dubbed it the Ice Queen’s Heart.

The other one was quite a bit more work and uses ‘proper’ chain mail, with a stainless steel beaded Byzantine chain – the beads are black agate and smokey grey, translucent glass crystal.

I don’t think wire work will ever become a major component of my jewellery (I still find it a little daunting and frustrating), but I’m glad I persisted until I was satisfied with the result.