Frequently Asked Questions - Jewelry

Questions about the jewelry and how it is made

Chain maille (also spelled chainmaille, chain mail, or chainmail) dates back to about 300 B.C. as a light weight armor that resists piercing and slashing. It was used in many cultures including the Celts, Romans, Europeans, Persians and Japanese. Chain maille is still in use today for things like butcher gloves and shark suits - as well as jewelry.

Chain maille is created by taking metal wire rings and linking them together in various patterns. These patterns are called weaves. Where stability is crucial - like in butcher gloves or shark suits - the rings are soldered or riveted closed to ensure they do not break open when force is exerted; however, jewelry rings are normally not closed this way. This greatly reduces the time to create the jewelry and also makes it easy to modify in the future.

The thickness of the wire used to create the ring is called the gauge - the same as with electrical wire. The higher the gauge the thinner the wire. Typical wire gauges are 14g, 16g, 18g, and 20g - though lower and higher gauge wire is available.

The ring size is the inner diameter - the diameter of the hole of the ring - and is usually roughly measured in fractions of an inch - 3/8", 1/2", 7/16", etc - though the actual measurement can vary. One 1/2" ring may be 0.561" while another may be 0.483".

The ratio of the ring's wire gauge to its inner diameter is called the ring's aspect ratio (AR). AR is very important in chain maille because it determines how loose or tight the weave is - each weave has its own optimal AR with a range that can effectively be used.

We guarantee our jewelry for life as long as proper care and maintenance has been practiced. We are not responsible for damages due to abuse or neglect. Please make sure you are familiar with care & cleaning instructions provided in this FAQ.

We are confident you will love the jewelry Amy creates for you, but we understand when it's just not what you expected. Within the first 30 days after you receive it, based off delivery confirmation, let us know why you are not satisfied by emailing [email protected] or calling 630-909-8334. You will receive store credit for the amount you paid, though the piece must be in like new condition to receive full credit. You will be responsible for shipping costs back to us and ensuring the piece is safely shipped - we recommend using USPS Priority Mail in a small flat rate box.

Within the first year we will make minor adjustments - such as small resizes or changing the clasp type - for free. You will be responsible for shipping costs back to us and ensuring the piece is safely shipped - we recommend using USPS Priority Mail in a small flat rate box. We cover the shipping costs back to you.

Standard lengths are:

17-18" Will reach the collarbone
20" A few inches below collarbone
22" At or above neckline
24" A little below the neckline
30" Below the chest

For larger necks, use the next length up.

If you have a seamstress tape measure, wrap it around your neck to a comfortable fit. If you don't have a seamstress tape measure, take a piece of yarn or string and wrap that around your neck to a comfortable fit marking the point where the end touches itself. Lay the string straight next to a ruler and note the length. 16" is a standard choker size. 17-18" for larger necks.

If you don't have a set of ring sizers, the best way to measure is to go to a jewelry store and have them measure your finger.

If you have a seamstress tape measure, wrap it around your wrist snugly, note the length and then add 3/4 of an inch to that measurement. If you don't have a seamstress tape measure, you can take a piece of yarn or string, wrap that around your wrist snugly, note where the ends meet and add 3/4 of an inch to that measurement.

Chain maille pieces are woven together one ring at a time. Using nothing but pliers, Amy opens each metal ring weaves it through other rings, and then meticulously closes it.

For many pieces that use crystals (such as Andromeda) or seed beads she hand creates the eye pins to attach them to the chain maille. She makes these out wire, pliers and a mandrel to ensure each loop is consistent.

Amy makes use of interesting stones (as in Jupiter), gems and corals (as in Coral Sun) that she finds at trade shows. Because these usually have no bails, and sometimes not even holes, she freehand wraps these using half hard wire to include in the piece.

Because Amy can make all these findings by hand it allows her to come up interesting and elegant accents as well (as in Spirit of Egypt).

Amy spent many years seed bead weaving, and every now and then she likes to go back to it (such as the Easter Flower). These are created by carefully weaving seed beads together, 1 tiny seed bead at a time, with a small needle and strong thread.