Sterling Silver Chainmaille Jewellery, Handmade in Kent
The weaves in the European family are typified by a style where they expand and contract in one direction, but not the other. It is believed to have originated by the Celts in around 400BCE, from a type of armour known as “Ring Lamellar”, a basic armour where wrought iron rings were sewn edge to edge onto leather. The European chainmaille family is designed to be heavier and allow less mobility than its Japanese counterparts due to the weapons and fighting style it was designed to protect from – large, crushing weapons were more common in Europe and therefore a heavier weave was needed to protect from these types of weapons. The European style, specifically the European 4-in-1 is the type of armour most people imagine when thinking of chainmaille. Several of the pieces in the collection utilise a variation of the European style to achieve their look - notably the Box, Interwoven, Kings Chain and Helm.
One of the oldest forms of chainmaille, the Japanese style dates back over 3000 years. The Japanese refer to Chainmaille as “kasuri” and this family’s style uses a basic flat box structure or hexagonal grid pattern.
The Japanese chainmaille style is typically designed to be more flexible than the European chainmaille. This is due to the different fighting styles by each culture and the weapons the maille was supposed to protect injury from. Japanese fighting styles used light, fast weapons where mobility was a prime concern and thus the protection needed to enable a greater range of movement. The Japanese set utilises this form of chainmaille along with the Flower pendant and earrings.
A misleading name for a family of beautiful weaves, there is no evidence that the “Persian” family of weaves were ever used in Persia. It is believed that their name is a nod to their intricate patterns rather than a result of their history. This style of chainmaille is based on a “stacked” ring orientation. The construction of Persian weaves is similar to European weaves except that the rings become stacked and form pairs of rings, resulting in a different flow and a thicker, much tighter weave. The Half Persian necklace and Bracelet sets along with the Full Persian necklace and bracelet set plus earrings utilise this style.
"Chainmaille" vs "Chainmail"
The name comes from the French word maille. The most common spelling for the chain is chain mail, but sheets are still referred to as maille. Many artists feel that the spelling chain maille or simply maille (even though it is a modern name for it) is truer to the origins of the art and helps distinguish it from chain mail letters. Some believe that since mail or maille literally means a sheet of chain adding chain to the word is redundant. All variations are basically accepted as a matter of common usage.
Mobius designs are denoted by style where each ring passes through every other ring. The Knot Pendants and earrings are examples of this style along with the Celtic Twist set.