I make chain maille jewellery, so it's only fitting that I write a little bit about its history, and origins.
The origins of the word mail are not fully known, The first attestations of the word mail are in Old French and Anglo-Norman: maille, maile, or male or other variants, which became mailye, maille, maile, male, or meile in Middle English,
According to the maille Artisan's International league, there are over 1500 different chain maile weaves... it will remain to be seen if I ever get that far! but from those eye boggling numbers, the majority fit into three weave categories : Persian, European and Japanese
Many archaeologists believe that chainmaille was invented by the Celts as rusty masses were found in Celtic graves, dating as far back as 400 BC, well over 2500 years ago......
Mainly used for protection in battle, chain maille jackets and tunics were made using alternate solid rings and riveted rings, mainly wrought iron and then later in steel.
Modern day uses are now a lot smaller, however still used for protection from butchers using chain maille gloves and divers in full suits to guard against shark attacks, not forgetting the ever popular re-enactments.
Industrially, chain maille sheets or curtains are sometimes used to protect workers from shrapnel and shards.
Maille has remained in use as a decorative and high-status symbol with military overtones long after its practical use has passed. It is frequently used for the epaulettes of military uniforms and still used in this form by some regiments of the British Army.
Maille is popular now as sculpture and jewellery, especially when made out of precious metals or colourful anodised metals., more commonally than not made from aluminium, steel and copper and bronze.
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