Is chainmaille a link from the past? Absolutely! It was developed as body armor by the ancient Celts to protect warriors in battle long before the 5th Century. Chainmaille was created from either iron or steel. Open rings were usually made from metal wire. Closed rings were made by either punching a hole in metal sheet (with the outer edge then being trimmed) or double punching out a sheet of metal. The open rings were usually closed by hammer welding. Plate armor began to replace chainmaille in the 14th Century.
Today, chainmaille continues to play a very important role in many different venues in life.
Artisans have found chainmaille to be an extremely versatile art form utilizing unique weaves and techniques. Gold, sterling silver, gold-filled, titanium, niobium copper, anodized aluminum, stainless steel and colored neoprene rings (very light in weight) are used to create stunning jewelry pieces, some incorporating gemstones, for both men and women.
However, the use also continues today in protecting woodworkers, butchers, and animal handlers. I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention the wonderful protection chainmaille creates in shark-bite resistant wetsuits. The 4 in 1 chainmaille pattern is utilized in these instances due to its incredible density and protective cover against sharp objects.
Chainmaille also has a recreational use among people involved in war reenactments as well as unique attire in the fashion industry.
Anyone a Monty Python fan? Who can forget the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Due to the extremely low budget of the film, the knights wore water-soaked wool military sweaters. The weight of the water pulling the yarn apart made the sweaters look like real chainmaille from a distance!
If you find that you would like to create your own chainmaille heirloom, be assured that there are many tutorial websites available along with ready-to-make kits. All you would need are a few tools and the passion to create!