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Review - Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry
Dylon Whyte's book, Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry : Timeless Techniques with a Twist published by Lark Books is a gorgeous primer on doing jewelry quality chain mail pieces.
The introduction is well written and covers the tools you'll be using and the materials and how best to pick beads to design jewelry with. The focus of this book is using pre-made jump rings, and he provides sources and sizes for all the projects in the book. He explains gauge and inner and outer diameter, then explains basic chain mail weaves and techniques.
Chain mail is time consuming. There is a lot of repetitive motion. He offers tips to make it easier and suggests you take breaks as needed.
The projects are lovely. You will need to read the instructions as well as look at the diagrams, but he's color coded the diagrams to show which rings are closed, which you're adding, and which rings are from the previous step.
My one issue with the projects is that they are not laid out in order of difficulty, so you'll have to read the instructions for each and decide if you're ready for it. But don't let that intimidate you, some of the simplest projects, built around plain cable chains are stunning and success with those will give you the confidence to go to a more difficult project.
The projects use a variety of ring types, from the sterling and gold filled you'd expect to make jewelry from, to more unusual materials like using neoprene rings to add color and stretch to designs. He has a guide in the back of the book for materials used and where to get them.
I know a lot of people have been very interested in chain mail lately, and this book is a nice one to add to your library if it's something you've ever had an interest in making chain mail jewelry, or if you simply want to be able to make your own chains.
My favorite projects in the book range in difficulty. The very easy and wearable Gypsy Cuff Earrings, the slightly more difficult Möbius Knot Bail, and the definitely have to take it one step at a time Bronze Age Bolo tie which features a Byzantine weave chain and a donut bezeled in chain mail.
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