If You Can’t Join ‘Em, Admire ‘Em: A Dozen Inspiring Chain Maille Jewelry Designs

Just because I can’t do chain maille, it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of it, right?

When someone on our Facebook feed posts a photo of some new chain-maille creation or I see a new piece in one of our wire magazines, my first thought is usually, “Wow.” I’m so impressed with the patience and skill that goes into creating chain maille jewelry. I love the mixture of wire and–what is it? physics? gravity? magic? some combo of the three?–that makes all of the humble jump rings cling together in just the right way to build an amazing chain maille weave or even a shape, like flowers, snowflakes, balls, and stars.

The folks at Blue Buddha Boutique are the ones most often teasing me with their fancy weaves. Their design team‘s creations have gotten even more eye-catching recently with the addition of rubber rings in gorgeous colors, plus fashionable effects like ombre coloring in what was already an amazing chain-maille creation. (Instructions and kits for their projects can be found on BlueBuddhaBoutique.com.) A quick search on Etsy is also a great place to be inspired by what chain-maille artisans are creating all over the world. Here are some of the chain maille jewelry designs that have caught my eye this summer.

This drapey Egyptian revival golden chain maille and mesh necklace looks like a museum piece. This statement piece was made in the 1920s and is offered by The Deeps on Etsy. Now here’s a chain maille design I think I could handle. Shaggy Loops (from Blue Buddha) is an ideal weave for beginners (or the impatient, like me) because it’s loose and fun, not structured and precise like most chain maille weaves.
A variation on the Shaggy Loops chain maille design above, I love the Hammered Shaggy Loop chain maille bracelet handmade by 13penguins in Argentium sterling silver. Here’s another chain maille design I think I could sit still for–the Basic Coiled Choker from Blue Buddha. I love the texture that the purple rings create on the larger golden ones, as well as the color combo and size contrast.
The rubber rings in these chain maille designs from Blue Buddha add such a pop of color and whimsical feeling to chain maille designs that might look a little stern or serious in pure metals. The Rubber Helm Bangle (left) reminds me of a high-fashion designer bracelet I saw in a magazine recently. The Latticework Flex Bracelet (right) is unique in that the weave closes in on itself, making it stretchy and requiring no clasp.
I’m simply in love with the colors on this Coiled Bracelet from Blue Buddha, and like the coiled choker above, the texture created by the small rings makes me want to make this bracelet right away. As I learned in a chain maille experiment last year, scale makes all the difference in the look of a weave sometimes, as in this Super Chunky Mobius weave from blackbirdmaille.
I like the classic turquoise-and-copper pairing made fresh again in this chain maille bracelet by OKCCreations. Great use of turquoise rondelles! Recycled jewelry and chain maille jewelry usually aren’t two things you’d put together–unless you’re jillmccp, who made this Web of Circles chain maille necklace using rings she crafted from recycled drink cans. Brilliant!
Both of these chain maille designs had me buzzing, because they remind me of beehives and honeycombs. The Japanese 12-in-2 V-necklace by DeepWatersJewelry (left) is made with hand-cut bronze rings. Though it says beehive to me, WearableMiscellany says the Japanese 12-in-2 chain maille flower necklace (right) was inspired by 1970’s macramé.

Learn to create your own amazing wire jewelry designs (including chain maille) with Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine. You can get six years’ worth of wire jewelry making instruction, inspiration, eye candy and more in our exclusive and convenient Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine collection, available in CD format or as an instant download.

P.S. It’s time for our last birthday giveaway of the year, sigh! Have you entered to win the flat lap machine with glass grinder upgrade package from Hi-Tech Diamond?

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