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Ring Size (and in particular aspect ratio) is one of the more complex and yet most useful concepts for a chainmailler to develop. Understanding how ring sizes work for different weaves will give you a knowledge base to come back to again and again when starting a new project, troubleshooting, or developing your own weaves.
Please Note: It is important to understand that not all suppliers measure jump rings in the same way and due to the precise nature of chainmaille, measurements and sizes are not easily interchangeable. The information in this section deals strictly with Blue Buddha jump rings.
Our jump ring sizes consist of a letter (or letters) followed by a number. The letter in our ring name refers to the inner diameter of the ring, and then number refers to the wire gauge. The letters go in alphabetical order with size B being significantly smaller than size X. Wire gauge is a bit counter-intuitive to understand as larger numbers refer to thinner wire (i.e. 20ga wire is much thinner than 14ga.)
Stay tuned for a video which will further explain our ring names!
To understand exactly what the letters mean, please refer to the chart below. Letter A rings are smaller than B, which are smaller than C, and so on. The letters refer to the size of the mandrel that the raw wire was wrapped around. To find the exact inner diameter (ID), after springback, of each rings we sell, look at the base metal stats & uses and the sterling silver stats & uses pages in the supplies section.
We adopted our lettering system from chainmaille artisan Spider (who now uses a different system) because we discovered that many people find it easier to understand that a sequence of increasing inner diameters is F, G, H rather than 5/32, 11/64, 3/16.
If you prefer to refer to our rings in fractional inches or millimeters instead of the letters, it's no problem. Use whatever system you feel most comfortable with. All of our ring pack labeling includes conversions so that you don't have to memorize that F = 5/32" = approx 4.0 mm.
The chart below only goes to size T (3/8"), but you can view a complete Inner Diameter Conversion Chart (PDF) with IDs in 64" increments, from 1/64" to 1" and their metric equivalents. (Having trouble opening the file? Try downloading the latest version of Adobe® Reader®)
|B3 Name||Mandrel Size
The gauge refers to how thick the wire is. Different numbering systems are used, depending on the type of metal. Overall, though, as the gauge number decreases, the thickness of the wire increases. (In other words, in the same metal: 24ga is always thinner than 22ga, which in turn, is thinner than 20ga.).
The table below shows the wire diameter of the rings we sell in Sterling Silver vs Base Metal (Aluminum, Brass, Bronze, Copper and Stainless Steel).
Many serious maillers prefer to use wire measurements instead of gauges so that others know exactly what the wire size is. When calculating the Aspect Ratio of your rings, you must convert the wire gauge to either mm or inches to match the units of the rings ID. Your results won't be accurate if you try to plug wire gauges into the AR formula!
| Precious Metal (AWG)
0.081" 2.025 mm
|0.104" 2.64 mm|
|10||0.102" 2.588 mm||0.128" 3.25 mm|
When purchasing jump rings elsewhere, it is important to note how they are measured, as every supplier does it differently. Most places measure the inner diameter of the ring, however a few use the outer diameter. Some prefer inches, some are metric and others combine both systems! Adding to the confusion, wire gauges are not consistent. Some suppliers use AWG for all their rings while others use SWG for all their rings. Most, like Blue Buddha, use a combination of the two systems. You should always ask your suppliers for the exact measurements of their rings after springback to ensure you are buying what you need. (If you are not familiar with springback, it is explained in the Common Terms page of the FAQ.)
There is no easy answer to this question, because it depends on what pattern you'd like to create. Chainmaille is such a sensitive craft that half a millimeter can be the difference between a weave working well and being impractically stiff. To decide what rings to use, we suggest you first determine what project you'd like to make (see Choosing a Chainmaille Project). Once you know that, you'll need to figure out the best ring size. This is done by understanding what aspect ratio works for the weave you want to make and then choosing a ring with that aspect ratio. More about what aspect ratio is and how chainmaillers use it in the other answers in this section.
If you're a beginner, we suggest starting off with rings that have an inner diameter of at least size H (3/16", 4.8mm). Any smaller, and you may become frustrated, unless you're used to working with tiny things! You may find the Weave Ideas category of our blog helpful to see what weaves work in some of our most popular sizes.
Note that Choosing a Chainmaille Project also has information about buying the right supplies for your project.
Aspect Ratio is a number that represents the relationship between the wire diameter and the inner diameter of a particular size jump ring. Do not confuse AR with ring size. Very large and very small rings can have the same AR and therefore, work in the same weaves.
Here's an example:
Let's compare the same weave, Möbiused Rosettes, made with rings of varying ARs. We will begin by looking at two ring sizes that are very different but actually have the same AR - our T14 rings (14ga 3/8" / 14ga 9.5 mm) and our F20 rings (20ga 5/32" / 20ga 4.0 mm). The T14 rings are significantly larger than the F20 rings, yet they share a similar AR of about 5.0.
Mobiused Rosettes using T14
Mobiused Rosettes using F20
As you can see, the weave works very similarly in each size. While the finished products are different in overall size, the space between the rings and the tightness of the weave is almost the same.
To compare, let's look at the same weave in size T16 (16ga 1/4" / 16ga 6.4 mm) which has a higher AR of about 6.5.
Mobiused Rosettes using T16
As you can see, there is far more negative space in this weave that the others and it feels much looser.
Likewise, we can look at the weave in size F18 (18ga 5/32" / 18ga 4.0 mm) with a lower AR of about 3.7. Notice this size has the same inner diameter as one of our first examples F20, but the thicker wire lowers its AR making weaves tighter. In fact, the weave is so tight that the secondary Mobius rings don't fit in between each rosette, and so this sample is made using the regular Rosettes weave. (The mobiused rings would, however, fit on the edging rings, making the weave even denser than it is.)
Rosettes using F18
In this example, you can see there is much less negative space between the rings and it appears tighter.
Aspect Ratio can be confusing to understand but as you can see, it has a substantial affect on your finished weave. The images above were taken from the posts in the Weave Ideas category of our blog. You may find this a helpful resource in finding and comparing weaves that work with different ARs.
In the coming months, look for a video that demonstrates AR in action and should help to illustrate just what AR is and how it is used by chainmaillers.
The exact formula to calculate aspect ratio is inner diameter divided by wire diameter, or in shorthand:
AR = ID ÷ WD
Before using the formula, make sure to convert the wire gauge to millimeters or inches (to match the unit system used for the ring's ID). Our Jump Ring Sizes page contains a chart with inch and millimeter measurements for the wire gauges we sell. Note: Different metals use different gauge systems.
For accurate results, use calipers to measure the ID of your rings rather than relying on the mandrel size. Two rings from different suppliers wound around the same mandrel usually yield different IDs, because each supplier uses different tension. Rings of different gauges wound around the same mandrel also yield different IDs, because springback for the gauges is different. (For more about springback, see Common Terms.) Aspect Ratios for chainmaille jump rings generally range between 2.9 and 7.0.
The aspect ratio of any given jump ring tells you what weaves are possible with that particular ring size. Understanding AR can mean the difference between a smooth, successful project and a LOT of frustration.
Each weave has a range of ARs that work well. For some weaves, such as European 4-in-1, this range is wide. For others (ie, Jens Pind), the window of ARs that work is very tiny.
If a jump ring's AR falls below the range of workable ARs, the jump rings are too "thick" and the weave is either impossible to weave or impractically stiff. Rings whose ARs fall above the range of appropriate ARs are usually weaveable, but are likely too loose. (See our answer to What is aspect ratio? for a visual example of how AR affects a weave.)
Let's say you weave a piece using one ring size and you love how it looks, but you want to duplicate it in a thinner gauge. All you need to do is find a ring size that has a smaller wire gauge, but the same or nearly identical AR as your original ring. Or, let's say you've made a piece in base metal but want to create a precious metal version. Simply look for a sterling silver ring that has a similar inner diameter, and a nearly identical AR as the base metal rings you used.*
To help you, we have calculated the ARs for most of the rings we sell. The following charts list the ARs of our rings as well as which rings work for the most popular weaves:
You may also find the Weave Ideas category of our blog useful for finding and comparing weaves for some of our most popular sizes. If you are looking for suggested ARs for particular weaves and cannot find them on our stats & uses charts, we refer you to Zlosk's Aspect Ratio Table, which is quite comprehensive.
*If your piece uses other components (such as glass rings or beads), or if your piece uses multiple ring sizes, things get a bit trickier. Rebeca covers some of these issues in her AR classes (Chainmaille Q&A and Conquer AR Once and For All!); if those classes aren't currently offered, feel free to set up a private or small group lesson to tackle these concepts.
Measured Aspect Ratio, also known as Actual AR, is the exact aspect ratio of a jump ring. It has been measured with calipers or micrometers. Mandrel Aspect Ratio, on the other hand, is calculated simply by using the mandrel size the jump ring was wrapped around as the Inner Diameter number.
These numbers are different because springback* causes the inner diameter of jump rings to be larger than the mandrel they are wrapped around.** For instance, Blue Buddha's D18 ALUM ring has a measured AR of 2.9 but its mandrel AR is 2.67 This is a variance of 8.7%
Generally speaking, one supplier’s Actual inner diameter of 1/8" (aka D, aka 3.2 mm) does not equal another suppliers. The same size may also differ across metals within a single supplier for many reasons, some of which include: temper of wire and size of the cut (kerf). However, the Mandrel AR for those 1/8" rings will be the same, since the Mandrel calculations do not take any of those variables into account.
*After wire is coiled it always "springs back" slightly from the mandrel once the tension on the coil is released. This makes the inner diameter of the jump ring larger than the mandrel itself, thereby making the Actual AR higher than the Mandrel AR
**Disclaimer: There is a rare exception to this - if your rings are very tiny and you use a thick saw to cut them, the resulting ring could have so much metal removed by the saw, proportionate to its size, that the ending inner diameter is actually smaller than the mandrel size. However, this also results in an oval-shaped ring that is not useful for most chainmaille weaves. Micromaille rings are often pinch-cut for this very reason - to avoid removing so much of the metal that the ring is no longer decently circular.
Let's say you make a weave and you LOVE the way it looks and you want to duplicate it, only smaller. You measure your rings with calipers to determine the AR. In order to duplicate the weave, you would need to find rings of a smaller gauge with the same (or very close) actual AR.
If you don't have rings and you need to purchase them from a supplier, you should check to see if the supplier lists the actual ARs for their rings. If they do, you're in luck and hopefully can find what you need. If they do not list ARs, you will have to see which Mandrel AR gives you an AR that is closest, but on the slightly-smaller side - because remember the ring's actual AR will be bigger than the mandrel AR.
SWG and AWG are wire gauge systems and are used to represent the thickness of the wire in jump rings. Different numbering systems are used, depending on the type of metal.
American Wire Gauge System (AWG), sometimes called Brown & Sharpe, is generally used for precious metals. Specifically for non-ferrous, meaning not-containing-iron, metals. All the sterling and niobium rings Blue Buddha Boutique sells are measured using AWG.
Ferrous metals generally use Standard Wire Gauge (SWG), also called Imperial Wire Gauge or British Standard Gauge. All the base metal rings Blue Buddha Boutique sells are measured using SWG, except 20ga and 22ga base metal rings, which are AWG. (Base metal = aluminum, copper, jewelry brass, bronze, stainless steel, enameled copper, anodized aluminum.)
Overall as the gauge number decreases, the thickness of the wire increases. In other words, in the same metal, 20g is thinner than 18g which is thinner than 16g. Because gauge systems can be somewhat arbitrary, many serious maillers prefer to use wire measurements instead of gauges so that others know exactly what the wire size is.
Please refer to the Wire Gauge Conversion Chart toward the bottom of our Jump Ring Sizes page for a listing of the exact wire diameters for the rings we sell.
Jump rings can be made from almost any metal. Not all metals, however, are appropriate for making chainmaille. Many metals are too soft and jump rings made from them come apart too easily to be used for making maille. Blue Buddha Boutique sells nine different metals, all of which are completely appropriate for making maille. The information in this section refers to Blue Buddha jump rings only and may not apply to the metals used in other suppliers' jump rings.
Each metal we sell is unique and choosing the right one for your project relies on many different factors including price, ease of use, durability, overall look and longterm care and maintenance. This section examines the different metals and gives information on each to help you determine which metal is best for your project.
Description: Silver color, bright and very shiny. The aluminum we sell is actually referred to as bright aluminum (regular aluminum is not nearly as shiny and results in lots of black rub off within minutes of working with it!)
Price point: $
Ease of use: Very easy to work with (great for beginners)
Durability: Because aluminum is so easy to manipulate, you give up a little in the durability department. Not as durable as other metals (such as Jewelry Brass, Bronze, Stainless Steel, and Sterling Silver.) Very light.
Maintenance/Life expectancy: Easy to clean if it gets dirty, just wash in soapy water to bring back the shine. Over time, aluminum will corrode slightly, losing a bit of shininess. It stops this process once its surface layer (very thin) has corroded.
Hypoallergenic?: Not necessarily hypoallergenic however, it is widely accepted that aluminum is very poorly absorbed through the skin, so you do not need to worry about metal toxicity.
Temper: Full Hard
Composition: Aluminum: 92.9 - 95.3%; Magnesium 0.8 - 1.2%; trace amounts possible of Chromium, Copper, Iron, Silicon, Zinc Manganese, Titanium
Purchase (bright) aluminum on our base metals page.
Description: Reddish finish, like a new penny.
Price point: $$
Ease of use: Very easy to work with (great for beginners)
Durability: Not as durable as other metals (such as Jewelry Brass, Bronze, Stainless Steel, and Sterling Silver.) Has a nice weight. It is a weak metal, so you must be extra-gentle with copper chainmaille pieces, especially those with 20- or 22-gauge rings.
Maintenance/Life expectancy: Tarnishes fast. To clean, soak in pure lemon juice & salt for a few seconds. Store jewelry in Ziploc® bags to slow down tarnishing. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible from the bag before closing.
Hypoallergenic?: Some people do experience reactions to copper and other metals containing copper. This can result in skin turning green, etc.
Temper: 1/2 Hard
Composition: Copper: 99.9%
Purchase copper on our base metals page.
Description: Bright gold finish. Jewelry brass has a higher copper content than other brass. Some folks use other terms for jewelry brass, such as red brass, red bronze, or new gold, however note that those alloys may be exactly the same, or they may have 2-3 percent more copper.
Price point: $$
Ease of use: Easy to work with (appropriate for most beginners.)
Durability: Durable and has a nice weight.
Maintenance/Life expectancy: Because it is an alloy of copper and zinc, brass patinas very fast. To clean, use any commercial jewelry cleaner that says it is safe for brass.
Hypoallergenic?: Because Jewelry Brass contains copper, people who have skin reactions to copper will likely also react to Jewelry Brass.
Temper: 1/2 Hard
Composition: Copper: 87%; Zinc: 13%
Purchase jewelry brass on our base metals page.
Description: Close in color to copper (a little less red). If you like the look of aged copper but want a stronger metal, use bronze.
Price point: $$
Ease of use: Can be challenging to work with, especially in 18g and 16g (not recommended for beginners.)
Durability: Durable and has a nice weight.
Maintenance/Life expectancy: Because this metal contains copper, it develops a patina fast. To clean, use any commercial jewelry cleaner that says it is safe for brass or copper.
Hypoallergenic?: Because bronze contains copper, people who have skin reactions to copper will likely also react to bronze.
Temper: 1/2 Hard
Composition: Copper: 92+%; Tin: approx 5% Phosphorus: 0.03 - 0.35% trace amounts of lead, Iron, Zinc
Purchase bronze on our base metals page.
Description: Darker silver color, less of a mirror finish than aluminum but still shiny.
Price point: $$$
Ease of use: Can be very difficult to bend in gauges 18 and thicker. You'll need heavy-duty pliers (such as the Duck-Bill pliers. Steel is also fairly rough on pliers with Tool Magic; while the coating really helps keep your pliers from slipping, the coating starts to rip much sooner than with other metals. Saw-cut steel is expensive (it ain't easy cutting through steel with a saw!). This is NOT an appropriate metal for beginners, especially 18 and 16 gauge!
Durability: The most durable metal to work in and has a very nice weight.
Maintenance/Life expectancy: Steel will pretty much last forever and does not tarnish. Easy to clean if it gets dirty, just wash in soapy water to bring back the shine.
Hypoallergenic?: Stainless steel contains nickel, so those with nickel allergies often cannot wear stainless steel.
Composition: Iron: approximately 69% Chromium: 19%; Nickel: 9.25%; Magnesium approximately 2%; Silicon: 1%; Carbon 0.08%; Phosphorous 0.045%; Sulfur: 0.03%
Purchase stainless steel on our base metals page.
Blue Buddha carries 3 different types of colored metal: Anodized Aluminum, Anodized Niobium and Enameled Copper. Each has a different look, price point, ease of use, durability, maintenance regiment and life expectancy. Anodized aluminum and enameled copper are considered base metals and can be mixed and matched with the other base metals; anodized niobium is considered a precious metal and can be mixed with sterling silver. (Please also see the FAQ question "What colors are in each of your mixes?")
Description: Bright colors and shiny finish, anodized aluminum is the only pure metal ring that comes in black.
Price point: $
Ease of use: Like our aluminum rings, anodized aluminum is very ease to work with and is great for beginniners.
Durability: Similar to plain aluminum, easy to manipulate and therefore, a little less durable. Some anodized aluminum rings are weak (meaning they could pull apart easily), so be extra gentle. If the dye was not absorbed well, then it may begin to flake off at a stress point (generally the part of the ring directly opposite the opening) when you're working with it. Black is especially susceptible to this.
Maintenance: The color on anodized aluminum rings can be scratched by harder metals, so be careful when weaving and storing your piece. Oils from your skin may change the colors. Some of the color can be restored by washing the piece in soap and water.
Life expectancy: The color on anodized aluminum can last a long time with proper maintenance but, if worn very frequently, will not last forever.
Composition: Aluminum: 96.6 - 98.5%; Magnesium 1.5 - 2.1%; trace amounts of Chromium, Copper, iron, Manganese, Silicon, Titanium, Zinc
See available colors and purchase anodized aluminum.
Description: Beautiful, vibrant and unique colors with nice sparkle.
Price point: $$$
Ease of use: Easy to work with but expensive. Not the best choice for beginners.
Durability: This is our strongest colored metal.
Maintenance: Oils from your skin may change the colors. Easily scratched, so be careful when weaving.
Life expectancy: The color on anodized niobium can last a long time with proper maintenance but may experience change or scratches over time.
Alloy: n/a (pure niobium)
Composition: Niobium: 99.99%;
See available colors and purchase anodized niobium.
Description: Very shiny and offers the brightest colors of all our colored metals. The silvered colors are especially vivid because there is a layer of pure silver underneath the plastic "enameled" coating.
Price point: $$
Ease of use: Enameled copper can be challenging to work with not because it is difficult to manipulate but because it is very soft and it is very easy to chip the color coating. Not the best choice for beginners.
Durability: Very soft. When adding the plastic coating the metal becomes annealed, so it is soft. Enameled copper is actually the weakest metal we sell.
Maintenance: Enameled copper can be pulled apart easily and must be treated very gently. The color can chip easily so care should be taken when weaving.
Life expectancy: Due to the plastic coating on these rings, the color on enameled copper can last a very long time if treated gently.
Temper: Dead Soft (due to adding the coating)
Alloy/Composition: Proprietary. Coating is polyurethane and nylon blend.
See available colors and purchase enameled copper.
We offer several color mixes in both our anodized aluminum and enameled copper jump rings. Below is a listing of the colors contained in each mix. Our mixes are created using different ratios of each color to create an overall effect instead of equal parts of every single color. Each color mix pack is a little different and we cannot guarantee that your pack will contain an equal number of each color.
ANODIZED ALUMINUM MIXES
Berry Mix = Violet, Turquoise, Purple, Blue & Pink
Earth Mix = Blue, Turquoise, Green, Brown & Gold
Fire Mix = Red, Orange, Yellow & Gold
Persian Mix = Red, Orange, Gold, Brown & Black
Sky Mix = Blue, Turquoise & Aluminum
Water Mix = Blue Turquoise & Purple
Iridescent Gunmetal = Unlike our other mixes, this is not a mix of solid color rings but rather a color that contains many varying iridescent shades within a single batch of ring
Multi Mix = all colors available at the time the mix is made (no fewer than 7 in any given mix)
ENAMELED COLOR MIXES
Denim Mix = Royal Blue, Peacock Blue, Dark Blue & Ice Blue
Fire Mix = Red, Orange, Yellow & Non-Tarnish Gold
Meadow Mix = Gunmetal/Brown, Bright Green, Lime & Dark Green
Merlin Mix = Lavender, Violet, Eggplant & Non-Tarnish Gold
Peacock Feather Mix = Peacock Blue, Violet, Bright Green, Eggplant & Non-Tarnish Gold
Persian Mix = Red, Amber, Gold, Gunmetal/Brown & Black
Sky Mix = Ice Blue, Peacock Blue & Non-Tarnish Silver
Multi Mix = all colors available at the time the mix is made
While we generally do not recommend using sterling silver for your first few projects (or for projects that are going to involve a lot of trial and error), sterling is a beautiful material for making maille. The shine, weight, and elegance of sterling silver cannot be beat.
Price point: $$$$
Ease of use: Very easy to use and manipulate
Durability/Life Expectancy: Long-lasting if maintained properly, finish can be restored for years and years to come.
Care + Maintenance: To help prevent tarnish, store each piece of jewelry in its own sealed plastic bag, along with an anti-tarnish tab. To clean tarnish, soak in soapy water (use dishwashing soap) and then lather the jewelry with suds. Rub briskly and rinse well.
Hypoallergenic?: Although sterling is considered semi-hypo-allergenic, some people have allergic reactions to sterling, probably because of the copper content. These highly sensitive people do better with fine silver, a high carat gold, niobium, titanium, or possibly argentium silver.
Temper: 1/2 hard
Composition: Silver: 92.5% - Copper: 7.5%
Note that Sterling Silver differs from Fine Silver. The copper in sterling strengthens the silver, making it suitable for maille. Fine Silver is 99% silver. Though a purer alloy, fine silver is softer and generally not recommended for chainmaille.
See current pricelist and purchase sterling silver.
Generally speaking, our artists and designers do not mix base metal and precious metal. There is just something about mixing expensive metals with inexpensive metals that our meticulous personalities just don't usually go for around here!
However, sometimes mixing metal types cannot be avoided. For example, if you'd like to use red jump rings in a sterling silver piece, you must use anodized aluminum or enameled copper, as niobium and titanium do not come in red.
Mixing and matching is completely up to you if you want to. If you enjoy the aesthetic or you feel your project calls for it - go for it! Making chainmaille jewelry is all about being creative. There are no rules. If it works, and you love it, it's right.
The right tool for you depends on a variety of factors including ring sizes you are using, the material you are working with, and overall comfort and feel of the tools for your individual hands. If you visit our tools section, you will notice that we have included notes in each description about what we recommend that set of pliers for. This section of the FAQ will give you some general information about the differences between many of our pliers as well as information about products like Tool Magic.
Choosing the right tools for any given project relies on many factors including ring size, wire gauge, metal and good ol' personal preference. We asked three of our chainmaille experts to share their favorite Blue Buddha pliers to work with in all the scenarios below. We hope these tables help you decide which pliers might be best for your next project. They should also begin to paint of picture of whar each plier is really best for.
|SILV||Lindstrom Rx or Ultra Ergo chain nose
|Lindstrom Rx or Ultra Ergo chain nose||Ergos||Lindstrom Rx|
|JBRS/BRNZ||Lindstrom Rx or Ultra Ergo chain nose||Ergos||Lindstrom Rx|
|Lindstrom Rx or Ultra Ergo chain nose||Ergos||Lindstrom Rx|
|SILV||Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo otherwise.||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|ALUM/AA||Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo otherwise.||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo otherwise.||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|JBRS/BRNZ||Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo otherwise.||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|SSTL||Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Ergo||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|EC/EC(S)||Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo otherwise.||Usually non-coated Lindstrom RX in right hand; coated Ergo in left|
|SILV||Ultra Ergo or Wubbers Med||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo otherwise.||coated Ergo|
|Ultra Ergo or Wubbers Med||coated Ergo|
|ALUM/AA||Ultra Ergo or Wubbers Med||Lindstrom in tight places, Ergo up to L size. After L = Wubbers for better balance||coated Ergos OR for larger rings (inner diameter P and up - 5/16" 7.9mm) coated medium or wide Flat Nose Wubbers|
|Ultra Ergo or Wubbers Med||Ergo up to L size. After L = Wubbers for better balance||coated Ergos OR for larger rings (inner diameter P and up - 5/16" 7.9mm) coated medium or wide Flat Nose Wubbers|
|JBRS/BRNZ||Ultra Ergo or Wubbers Med||Ultra Ergo, Lrg ring with High AR= Wubbers for better balance||coated Ergos OR for larger rings (inner diameter P and up - 5/16" 7.9mm) coated medium or wide Flat Nose Wubbers|
|SSTL||Ultra Ergo, Wubbers Med or Lindstrom EX||Rings up to size L = Ultra Ergo, after L = Wubbers||coated medium or wide Flat Nose Wubbers|
|EC/EC(S)||Ultra Ergo or Lindstrom Rx||Ergo
|SILV||Ultra Ergos for smaller sizes after size J then Wubbers Med or Wide||Ergo or Ultra Ergo up to size L. after L = Wubbers for better balance.||coated Wide Nose Wubbers|
|coated Wide Nose Wubbers|
|ALUM/AA||Ultra Ergos for smaller sizes after size J then Wubbers Med or Wide||Ergo or Ultra Ergo up to size L. after L = Wubbers for better balance.||coated Wide Nose Wubbers or Ultra Ergos|
|Ultra Ergos for smaller sizes after size J then Wubbers Med or Wide||Ergo or Ultra Ergo up to size L. after L = Wubbers for better balance.||coated Wide Nose Wubbers or Ultra Ergos|
|JBRS/BRNZ||Ultra Ergos for smaller sizes after size J then Wubbers Med or Wide||Ultra Ergo up to size L. after L = Wubbers or Duckbills for better balance.||coated Wide Nose Wubbers OR for larger rings (inner diameter T and up - 3/8" 9.5 mm) I might use a coated Duckbill in my left hand and a coated Wide Nose Wubber in my right hand|
|SSTL||Lindstrom EX for smaller sizes after size J then Wubbers Med or Wide or Duckbills||Ultra Ergo up to size L. after L = Wubbers or Duckbills for better balance.||coated Wide Nose Wubbers OR for larger rings (inner diameter T and up - 3/8" 9.5 mm) I might use a coated Duckbill in my left hand and a coated Wide Nose Wubber in my right hand|
|SILV||Wubbers Med or Wide||Ultra Ergo or Wubbers for larger sizes. Have used duckbills for T14 (AWG)||coated Wide Nose Wubbers|
|coated Wide Nose Wubbers|
|ALUM/AA||Wubbers, Duckbills||Wubbers, Duckbills||coated Wide Nose Wubbers|
|Wubbers, Duckbills||Wubbers, Duckbills||coated Wide Nose Wubbers|
|JBRS/BRNZ||Wubbers, Duckbills||Wubbers, Duckbills||coated Wide Nose Wubbers or Duckbills (or combination of both - Duckbill in left h and, and Wubber in right hand)|
Pliers recommended in this table: Duckbills
To make chainmaille, you will need two pairs of flat nose pliers with smooth jaws (no grooves) We generally recommend that people start with two Euro Tool Ergo or Ultra Ergo pliers because they are versatile and affordable.
We sell different types of pliers for making maille and like them all for different reasons. On our tools page, you will notice that we provide information about which tools work best for different purposes.
Euro Tool Ergonomic Pliers, flat-nose ($)
These EuroTool pliers are our all-around favorite pliers. The handles are longer than normal, but closer together. This means less carpel tunnel stress and more comfortable grip with less fatigue and better control. Recommended as "all-around" starter pliers. Particularly good when working with 20ga - 16ga base metals, 20ga steel, and 20ga - 15ga silver.
Euro Tool Ultra Ergo Pliers, flat nose ($$)
This line from EuroTool features a truly ergonomic plier with handles that are slightly larger and straighter than most. These are suitable for a variety of gauges, from about 20ga to 16ga basemetal (20ga to 14ga sterling)—they're very good with 18g stainless steel. Increased handle width provides greater surface contact which means less fatique.
These economical pliers are especially comfortable for folks with tiny hands. The ergonomic handles distribute pressure well; your thumb and index finger can rest nicely in the curves at the top of the handles.
Wubbers Medium Flat Nose Pliers ($$$)
These are our favorite jaw-width for all-purpose chainmailling—not too small, not too large. Super comfortable pliers with padded handles and a very responsive spring. These pliers are recommended for heavy wire gauges (such as 18ga-12ga). They are Rebeca's favorite for working with 18ga stainless steel.
Lindstrom Rx Pliers, flat-nose ($$$$)
Without a doubt, the most comfortable pliers we've used. Ergonomic handles mean that your palms aren't subjected to excessive pressure. The spring is adjustable; on the easiest setting a light squeeze is all it takes to work the pliers. These pliers are essential if you're going to be working with small rings. As soon as you use them, you'll understand the price tag, and know that they're worth every penny. Perfect for micromaille (size AAA24) and 22ga-20ga. These pliers also work well for many 18ga and 16ga rings (the jaws aren't very wide, so we don't recommend using these for rings with large inner diameters, such as P16.
Duck Bill Pliers ($$)
These pliers were custom made specifically for Blue Buddha and Spiderchain Jewelry. They are perfect for working with large rings, and are Rebeca's favorite for 12ga anodized aluminum and 10ga sterling. She sometimes even uses them to work with large 16ga stainless rings, as the pliers have really great leverage.
Some chainmaillers prefer to use a combination of tools when weaving, for example one pair of pliers and a jump ring tool.
Most people who like the tool use it primarily for pre-opening rings. Slip the jump ring tool onto the index or middle finger of your non-dominant hand. Use the pliers in your dominant hand to scoop up a jump ring. Still holding onto the ring with your pliers, insert the ring into one of the grooves in the jump ring tool. Then rotate your finger (with the jump ring tool) and the pliers in opposite directions to open the jump ring.
Other maillers also use the ring for closing, but this can become difficult if you are trying to add a weave to a very dense weave and there isn't enough space for the jump ring tool.
Tool Magic is a product used to coat the metal tips of your pliers. We highly recommend dipping your pliers in Tool Magic! Not only does it help you grip the rings but it protects your rings from scratches caused by your pliers (and for that matter it helps protect your hands from potentially painful grip-slipping injuries.)
We prefer dipping the pliers twice, as two thin coats seem to last longer than one thick one. After your first dipping, let the pliers dry for a couple of hours by resting them on a flat surface—jaws suspended over the edge. Then dip again. Let dry overnight, or for a minimum of 6 hours, for best results. When the coating gets grubby, or if you decide you don't like the coating for the rings you're using, simply pull it off.
If your Tool Magic is thick, instead of dipping the pliers, we recommend using a shiskabob skewer (or similar utensil) to spread on a thin coat, making sure to cover the edges well. After letting it dry for a few hours, apply a second thin coat.
Here are some extra helpful tips:
We are working on a video that will demonstrate how to dip your pliers properly - stay tuned.
Bead mats were (not suprisingly) originally intended for use by beaders. However, the mats are just as useful for chainmaillers! They do a great job of keeping your rings from escaping when you dump them out and can help you weave more quickly by allowing you to scoop up rings with a jump ring held in your pliers (see image below).
Choosing the right project for you is half the battle. Chainmaille projects definitely range from very simple to very difficult and choosing a project that is the right level for you is important. Once you find a project you want to make, buying the right supplies can also be very challenging. This section offers help in finding projects and figuring out what supplies you need.
To get everything you need to get started, try one of our Starter Packs. Each packs comes with projects and instructions that are perfect for beginners as well as information about basic chainmaille technique.
We offer instructions for nearly a dozen chainmaille projects perfect for someone just starting out. Blue Buddha instructions are full color and offer a detailed photograph for every step. They are about as close to an in-person class as you can get on paper and a few are even free! Many project instructions also have a coordinating kit that will allow you to get started right away without the guesswork of shopping for supplies. Your maille kit will come with everything you need to complete the project, including any necessary findings and components.
We also highly recommend Rebeca's book CHAINED to people just starting out in chainmaille. Not only does the book have several projects appropriate for beginners but it is the most comprehensive chainmaille book available when it comes to techniques and technical information about the craft. Because CHAINED has projects for every level, it will also grow with you from the first time you pick up your pliers to when you are ready to invent your own variations!
Yes, Blue Buddha Boutique sells full-color, easy-to-follow chainmaille instructions and jewelry kits for dozens of projects. We offer kits and instructions for every level, introductory to expert. Our kits contain everything you need to complete the piece including any necessary findings and other components. Our instructions also list all the ring sizes and ring counts need for the project to make shopping for supplies á la carte quick and easy.
Please note that we sell kits and instructions separately. For more information about why we do this, please visit our “About our Kits” page.
Yes, we do recommend chainmaille books! There are a variety of chainmaille books available that contain lots of inspiring projects. We sell a handful of books including CHAINED, written by Blue Buddha owner and founder, Rebeca Mojica. CHAINED contains projects for every level, beginner to expert, and offers ideas for many variations. Ring sizes in CHAINED are listed using Blue Buddha naming conventions, so shopping for supplies is a snap, especially via our Ringpicker page. We also sell kits for every project in the book.
If you see a project in a book other than CHAINED, you will need to translate the ring sizes listed into Blue Buddha ring names. Our ring sizes chart will be a helpful tool for this. Additionally, please note that our interns test many book projects and we post their samples as well as supply lists in our Weave Samples album on our page on Facebook. If you come across a project we have not yet tested, contact us. Our interns LOVE to test projects to help you save time and money.
Several jewelry-making magazines such as Bead&Button Magazine, Art Jewelry Magazine, Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry, and Wirework Magazine regularly feature chainmaille projects, including many by Blue Buddha ambassadors.
For your convenience, Blue Buddha has a page dedicated to supply lists for popular magazine projects. We only provide kits for a select number of projects by B3 designers, so generally speaking, we do NOT have kits for most magazine projects. To purchase rings for projects in magazines have your shopping list handy and visit our Jump Ring Picker page.
If you come across a project we have not yet tested, contact us. Our interns love to test projects to help you save time and money.
If you'd like to design a tutorial and see it published, find out how to submit a project to magazines.
B3's founder Rebeca is a contributing editor for Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine, and she would love to hear what you have to say about their chainmaille projects and share your suggestions with the editors. Are there any patterns you're dying to see instructions for? Do you have a favorite designer who you think should create a tutorial? What do you think about the selection of projects in the most recent issues? Please send any feedback about this magazine to email@example.com
We are in the process of a creating a special "As seen in our ads!" page with links to projects and products featured in our ads. In the meantime, many of the projects you seen in our ads can be found in our Projects section.
If the project shown is billed as a winner of our Featured Product of the Month contest, then we do not have kits for that item, and it's possible we might not sell all the components needed to make the item. Check the relevant posts on our blog for more info about the winning entry.
Blue Buddha has free chainmaille instructions for several projects, including Wiggle (Mobius), Shaggy Loops and Double Spiral.
In addition, many of our customers use free projects on other websites. However, this may not be the best route for beginners, as online instructions tend to be a bit less reliable than other sources. If you are interested in looking for projects online, we recommend checking out Maille Artisans (M.A.I.L.)* and CGMaille.com. We also post intern samples with ring sizes for some online projects (like the Hourglass Dodecahedron sample at left) in our Intern Samples album on our page on Facebook.
* Note: you can set your preferences on Maille Artisans to display ideal ring sizes using Blue Buddha naming conventions. Visit our blog for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Like the question “What size rings do I need?” the answer to this question depends on what you are making. Blue Buddha instructions include ring counts for your convenience, as does Rebeca’s book CHAINED. Most projects published in books or magazine will give you either the total number of rings used for each size used in the project or the RPI (rings per inch). If given the RPI, simply multiply the number by the length you’d like your final piece to be. We recommend rounding up a bit on that number when you go to determine what pack size you want to buy – it’s always better to have some extra rings left over than not enough to finish your project.
If you are interested in tackling a common weave, try the Weave Ideas section of our blog. There, we post photos of weave samples made with several of our most popular sizes and include ring counts for each one. We also have a page dedicate to ring counts for weaves using sterling silver jump rings.
Yes, we offer several styles of toggles and other clasps as well as findings and other components that will take your chainmaille to the next level. Visit our Findings page to see our selection. When it comes to choosing a finishing touch for your piece, we recommend you consider size, finish and material. Choose something that compliments the piece you’re making. We even made a blog post dedicated to advice about choosing findings to match our colored rings.
If you are interested in learning how to add components such as glass and crystal rings, beads, or scales to your project, we highly recommend choosing one of our chainmaille tutorials that use these components. Our shaggy scales tutorial is even free!
You may notice that we do not offer a wide variety of beads. It’s true, we don’t and we don’t intend to. Our focus remains targeted on chainmaille supplies, we do not intend to compete with bead stores, and we hope you'll eagerly support your local bead shop (tell 'em Blue Buddha sent you!). However, as we fall in love with certain components that work particularly well with maille, these parts will find their way to our findings page *grin*.
If you have a supply list for a chainmaille project in hand, we highly recommend using our Ring Picker Tool to select and purchase jump rings.
Simply choose the size you need in the first column. The next column will display all the in-stock metals we have for that jump ring size. Choose the metal you’d like to work with, pick colors as necessary, select the quantity desired, and add to your cart. You can select all the rings on your list right from the Ring Picker page!
We strive to create crystal clear instructions, but because everyone learns in a different way, we know that sometimes folks will have questions. While we are happy to answer quick questions, we are unable to provide detailed one-on-one guidance as part of the price of our tutorials. Consider asking for help on our page on Facebook, as there are hundreds of other maillers who might be eager for the chance to use their knowledge to give you a hand.
Should you have lots of questions about different projects, or if you'd like one of our experts to help you learn a weave, set up a Private Lesson with us. If you live out-of-state (or are unable to come in during our limited hours), we also offer private lessons via Skype at the same rates as our in-person private lessons. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your session.
If you're struggling with a project from a magazine or book, please contact the author directly for assistance.
Ah, of course you are drawn to Rebeca's signature piece, the Quantum Rose. Unfortunately, this is one of the few designs that we will never teach or sell instructions for. It is one of her best-selling pieces, and we think there are just some secrets an artist should keep!
Blue Buddha began selling this design in 2003, and it is now sold through Rebeca Mojica Jewelry. We appreciate that the chainmailling community respects our decision not to divulge sizes. We are glad that folks aren't reverse-engineering the Quantum Rose and selling them. Thank you, chainmaillers—you know you're the best crafters out there!
We are happy to provide ring sizes for just about anything else on our website. Many sizes are listed in the kits and instructions section, or in the sterling or base metal stats pages, but if you don't find what you're looking for, let us know and we'll see if we can help.
We specialize in top-quality chainmaille supplies, which means we only sell the best products we can find or produce. If we wouldn’t use them for our own projects, we won’t sell them.* All of our products are put through rigorous quality control. This ensures our jump rings are precision-sized and flawless, our findings are functional and beautiful, and our other components show no signs of imperfection. This section answers some of the questions we hear most often about our jump rings.
*Well, occasionally we'll offer some less-than perfect items on our sale page. :-)
For the most part, yes. We work with a select number of expert chainmaillers and ringmakers across North America who are willing to abide by our very strict quality standards. If you're a perfectionist who makes your own rings, and you are interested in being considered for a ringmaker position, please send an email to email@example.com outlining your qualifications and experience with jump ring manufacturing.
We'll keep your information on file and when we have an opening, you'll be the first to know!
Note that our most popular offerings, anodized aluminum jump rings, are 100% Made in the USA. We do not yet have the space to make our rings in-house, so we the wire we purchase from a local facility is drop shipped directly to our ringmakers.
We anodize our niobium jump rings in-house as electricity is the only thing needed to achieve the beautiful range of colors.
We send our anodized aluminum rings to one of the most innovative anodizing companies in the country for processing. To learn more about the aluminium anodizing process, check out the following blog posts:
Yes, our jump rings are saw-cut and have flush ends. Saw-cut rings are superior to pinch or machine-cut rings because, when closed perfectly, the seam is virtually invisible. Our head designer and company founder Rebeca Mojica overwhelmingly prefers to use saw-cut rings in her creations.
The only exception is AAA24 SSTL (24ga 1/16", 24ga 1.6mm). If these rings were cut with a saw, the kerf would be too large and once the jump ring was closed, it would be decidedly oval-shaped rather than circular.
At this time, we are not set up to sell wire. We hope to be able to offer this option to our customers in the future.
Many of our pack sizes offer built in discounts (as you purchase more rings, the per-ring cost is lowered.) We also offer Mix 'n' Match options for some of our anodized aluminum ring packs. Additionally, we offer Volume Discount pricing for orders more than 10,000 rings.
Our ring pricing depends on the type of ring you buy:
Aluminum, Anodized Alumium, Copper, Jewelry Brass, Bronze, Stainless Steel - These are sold in various pack sizes ranging from 50 pieces to 1,000 pieces. (A few of the larger jump ring pack sizes are smaller, with as few as 5 pieces for our size X12 jump rings.)
The larger the ring pack you purchase, the less expensive the per-ring price. The packet prices include these built-in savings. Purchasing a pack of 1,000 rather than twenty 50 packs saves you about 44%.
Enameled Copper - Sold in various pack sizes ranging from 50 pieces to 500. The larger the ring pack you purchase, the less expensive the per-ring price. The packet prices include these built-in savings. Purchasing a pack of 500 rather than ten 50 packs saves you 32%.
Sterling - Due to the high cost of silver, these are the only rings that we sell individually. The per-ring price drops substantially if you purchase in a pack of 50 or 100 rings. The 100-piece pack is exactly twice the price of a 50-piece pack. If you purchase a 250-piece pack, you'll save about 7.5%
Niobium - Sold in packs of 50, 100 and 250. The price for a pack of 250 rings includes a built-in savings of about 15%. Note the different price levels for unanodized niobium (least expensive), niobium color blends and our premium solid-color packs.
If you purchase our larger pack sizes (mainly 250- and 1,000-piece packs, or any pack size in silver and niobium), you qualify for automatic Mix 'n' Match savings ranging from an additional 5% - 40% off those packs, depending on the metal and number of packs purchased. You'll be able to see these discounts as you add items to your cart! Read more on our Discounts page.
Yes! We offer a variety of discount programs to meet the needs of a wide variety of maillers. Whether you are a hobbiest getting rings for a few different projects, a designer stocking up to complete an order, or a store looking to sell our product, we have a program that will meet your needs. Read more on our Discounts page.
Different customers have different interpretations of "wholesale" so we'll try to cover all our bases here.
Resale - For stores, we offer pre-packaged rings in small quantities (usually 100 pc or 250 pc). These rings are neatly packaged and quality-controlled for resale, allowing you to sell the rings at prices comprable to those listed on our website. We also package most of our kits for resale purchasing. You must provide Blue Buddha with a copy of your business license and your tax ID certificate in order to join our resale program. Please contact us if you are interested in finding out about how purchasing our rings for resale can help boost your store's sales.
Bulk - This new program is set to launch in 2013/14 and will allow any customer to receive substaintial savings on non quality-controlled Anodized Aluminum purchased by weight.
Mix 'n' Match - If you are an individual or store who just wants to purchase several of our larger packs of jump rings, your order will qualify for Mix 'n' Match discounts. Read more about this in our Discounts page.
Illinois Businesses - Customers who live in IL must provide a valid resale certificate in order to purchase items tax free via the Internet or phone. Blue Buddha must have a physical or digital copy of your tax ID certificate before you pay for your order, otherwise you will be charged tax.
Non-Illinois Businesses - According to current tax laws, out-of-state customers do not need to provide any certificates. Please note that tax-free purchases have nothing to do with whether or not you receive a volume or bulk discount.
No, tax IDs do not give you any discount on our products. Refer to Do you wholesale? for more information.
If your business is not based in Illinois, you will not be charged sales tax. Online orders are set up to recognize all out-of-state and international orders as tax-exempt. If you place a phone order, we'll see your address and will know not to charge you sales tax. Easy as pie!
We need a hard or digital copy of your tax certificate in order for Illinois-based businesses and individuals to receive tax-exempt ordering status. In the event we are audited, we need to provide a copy of your Illinois tax certificate to the IRS. Rather than try to track you down two years from now, we'd prefer to keep your certificate neatly organized in our files. A stitch in time saves nine, and frankly, we'd like to do everything we can to be prepared for the tax man!
Even if you are one of our best customers, we can only exempt you from sales tax if we have a valid certificate on file. No exceptions.
Note that your tax ID comes from the state of Illinois and should be an 8 digit number such as 1234-5678. We do not accept FEINs for this purpose, as federal certificates have nothing to do with state sales taxes.
Once we have your tax ID, we'll enter it into our database so you won't have to provide it again (until the certificate expires, at which point, we'll request a new one). When you place a phone order, we'll see that you're exempt and will create the order accordingly.
Right now our shopping cart does not allow us to distinguish between tax-exempt and non tax-exempt customers for online purchases, so if you pay online, you'll pay sales tax. Your order will come through our system with an alert flag (and just to be safe, you can write a note in the "special instructions" section). When we process your order, we'll refund the sales tax.
In order to better serve the marjority of our customers, our volume discount program has been replaced with our Mix 'n' Match program. Read more on our Discounts page!
This section offers help with the ordering process. If you are unsure what to order, visit our Choosing a Chainmaille Project section
All of the supplies we have for sale are found in our Supplies section, which includes Base Metal Jump Rings, Colored Jump Rings, Sterling Silver Jump Rings, Chainmaille Project Instructions, Jewelry Kits, Books, Tools and Clasps, Findings & Components. If you're buying a lot of jump rings in different metals, take advantage of our Ring Picker page for easy and quick ordering. To place an order online simply use the "Add to Cart" buttons on the pages listed above to add items to your shopping cart.
As of May 2012, B3 has a brand new shopping cart. This is a huge step and a long overdue one in our opinions (we were still using much of the same code and systems that Rebeca created back when B3 was run out of her spare bedroom- crazy, right?!)
When we launched the shopping cart, we created this blog post that offers step by step instructions for using and checking out with our new cart. If you are still having trouble shopping online, please give us a call at 866.602.RING (7464).
Yes! You can now save your shopping cart by logging in or creating an account on our site. Once you have saved your cart, you never need to save it again. It will stay up to date as you add, remove and change items in your cart. Create as many saved carts as you like or use this feature to create your own chainmaille "wish lists".
Once you activate your saved cart and complete your order, it will no longer appear in the "Saved Shopping Carts" section of your account page. Instead, look for it in the "Orders" section where you can shop from all (or at least most) of your previous orders.
Please note, items in your cart that have become discontinued or are out of stock, will drop out of the cart once you activate it as they are not currently available for purchase. This applies to all limited quantity and limited time only product such as “Maillers’ Choice” kits and sale items.
Yes! By creating a log in for our website with the same email you use to place your orders through PayPal, you can view past order numbers and dates, current order status and tracking information for your packages. Learn more about how to create your customer log in on our blog.
From your "My Account" page, you can also shop from previous orders as well as save your shopping cart and come back later!
We accept all credit cards online through our merchant processor, PayPal. If you have a PayPal account, you can also pay using your PayPal balance.
For phone orders we accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. We also accept money orders and personal or business checks (payable to Blue Buddha Boutique), however note that we must receive your check and it must clear before we ship your order. We can also generate your order over the phone and send you a PayPal invoice if you'd like (thereby allowing you to pay using a Discover card).
For pickup orders, we accept all of the payment methods used for phone orders plus—of course—cold, hard cash.
For international orders, we accept credit cards online as well as Western Union payments.
PayPal will eventually be a thing of the past for B3 but for now, it is the only way to pay for your order online. That said, in May 2012 we launched our new shopping cart which is housed entirely on our website so now you use PayPal only at the very end to enter your payment information. Not a total separation from this sometimes frustrating tool, but very close!
Read more about this change on our blog and stay tuned for further web updates and improvements in the second part of the year.
Please note: If you are really not into PayPal, you can always place an order by calling us at 866.602.RING (7464). If we don't answer, leave your name and phone number, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Additionally, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of what you'd like and we can either call you to complete your checkout, or send you an online invoice which can be paid via PayPal using any major credit card.
Please know that we are always happy to speak with you before you order to ensure that you are buying the proper materials.
Refunds and credits are available only if items are returned within 15 days after receiving the items. All products must be in the same condition as when sent to you. Exchanges are available up to 30 days after you receive your items. No exceptions - be sure to closely examine your order as soon as it arrives to retain your eligibilty for refunds/exchanges.
If you received incorrect items in your order, let us know and we will immediately ship you the correct items. You must let us know within 15 days of receiving your order.
Defective merchandise will be replaced or repaired at no charge for up to 30 days. Contact us and let us know what is broken.
Refunds and exchanges for non-defective merchandise are subject to a restocking fee* of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
Items that are not returnable:
* Why do we charge a restock fee for returned items?
We spend time quality controlling all items (particularly jump rings) that leave our studio, and we need to do the same for items that are returned in order to ensure they can be resold. This prevents us from re-selling rings, jewelry and other items that a customer used/scratched/damaged. (Yes, this does happen!) Unfortunately, experience has taught us that we cannot trust that customers are returning 100% unused products, even if they say they are. It is time-consuming to inspect hundreds or thousands of tiny objects, and it is unavoidable on jump ring orders, since we do not want to re-sell damaged merchandise. After all, what customer would want to receive scratched/opened/mangled rings in their order? We do not believe it would be fair to increase prices slightly for all items to include a small "built-in restock fee" in the item price itself, and so we only charge the fee to those who return items.
Again, we are happy to speak with you before you place your order, to make sure you're ordering exactly what you need for your project, in order to reduce the possibilities of you needing to return an item. If you have a problem with your purchase, we will give your situation the attention and respect that it deserves. We can't solve every issue, but we certainly try our hardest!
To return items for a refund/credit or exchange, please carefully package the items and send to:
Blue Buddha Boutique
1127 W. Granville
Chicago IL 60660
Enclose your order number or a copy of your receipt, and list the items to be returned/exchanged. Please include a contact number so we can reach you if needed.
First of all, we are so sorry to hear you are having trouble! Our web guru works very hard to make avoid errors like these, but it is the nature of online shopping that glitches occasionally happen.
The good news is, we can help you!
First, take a deep breath. Now, give us a call at 866.602.RING (7464) or send us an email at email@example.com. Shopping carts are saved on our backend system for a short period of time. If you can provide us with a description of a few of the items you had placed in your cart, we should be able to find it and recover it for you! If we are unable to find it, our customer service folks are happy take your order over the phone so you don't have to go back and add everything again.
Next time, try logging in and saving your shopping cart.
If your order included PDF instructions for chainmaille projects, you should have been redirected to a page that listed all your available downloads. If you closed the window, you can access your PDFs here:
If you are still having trouble with your downloads, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know your order number and we'll manually send your PDFs.
Occasionally we have problems with our automatic email system—from our end, it looks like the PDF has been sent, but actually it is lost in cyberspace somewhere. So if you don't hear from us within one business day, please email us again or call us at 866.602.7464.
This is often possible, provided we haven't already packaged your original order. As soon as you realize you'd like to add or change your order, please contact us. If your order total has increased, you can pay the difference over the phone with a credit card, or we'll send you a PayPal invoice. Making changes to your order will cause it to be bumped to the end of the order queue, and therefore may cause your updated order to ship one or more days later than the original would have.
If you place and pay for two or more separate orders online, we can usually combine them into one shipment and refund the excess shipping fees paid. We charge a $3 administrative fee for each order that is combined into the original order; this fee will be deducted from the shipping refund you receive.
Please note, we cannot combine any discounts your total items might have qualified for. For example, if you ordered 3 ring packs in the first order and then add an additional 3 packs to your order, we are not able to apply the discounts you would have received had you placed an order for 6 ring packs to begin with.
You can cancel an order that is still in our studio. If we've already shipped your items, your order can no longer be canceled. As soon as you realize you'd like to cancel your order, please contact us.
Please refer to our Gift Certificates page for full details on how to purchase and redeem gift certificates.
At this time, we do not have a physical catalog. Our website lists all of the supplies that we sell.
As you can see from our list of green practices, we are very concerned about protecting natural resources and cutting down on paper use. This is why we publish our catalog online. We apologize to those customers who enjoy seeing products printed on a page and hope you understand our decision to not publish a full-scale catalog.
Before you call, please have a list of the products and quantities that you need. Then give us a buzz at 866.602.RING (7464). We are available to take phone orders during our regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm CT.
If you have several questions about what will work for specific weaves, please send those inquiries ahead of time by email to email@example.com (or via another phone call) so we can research the answers without tying up our phone line for all the other customers eager to place and pay for their orders.
Many beadstores across the country carry our rings. First, check to see if your store is listed as an authorized distributor of our instructions. Even if they are not, it is possible they carry our rings, or would carry them if enough customers request it *wink*.
This section offers help with shipping questions. Many of your shipping questions may be answered by reading through the information on our Shipping page, which contains our current order processing times to help you estimate when your order will arrive. It also details our current available shipping methods for both Domestic and International orders. Still have questions? The Q&A below should help.
This varies on a number of factors, including:
For detailed information, and for current order processing times, see our Shipping Page.
Note: For future reference, you can always reach the shipping page by clicking on the banner below, which is found on every page of our website.
At this time we do not ship with UPS or FedEx, however we fully expect to offer those options in the future.
If you place an order and notice in your receipt email that the order is shipping to an incorrect address, contact us immediately. Due to the volume of email we receive each hour, it is best if you call us.
So long as your order has not been packaged, it is no problem to update your shipping address. If your package has already shipped we are (obviously) unable to change the shipping address. You are more than welcome to place a replacement order, but we cannot credit you for the first order until it is returned to our studio.
If your order has not yet been sent to our shipping department, we can often combine it with an additional order placed within a very short amount of time from the original order. Please note that, while we will reimburse your additional shipping fees, we will subtract a $3 convenience fee per order from your shipping refund.
While we can combine most orders, we cannot combine any discounts your total items might have qualified for. For example, if you ordered 3 ring packs in the first order and then an additional 3 in the a second order, we are not able to apply the discounts you would have received had you placed an order for 6 ring packs in a single order to begin with.
For the best prices and speediest processing, we encourage you to make sure you have everything you need before submitting your order. Shopping carts can be saved at any time, so feel free to save your cart and look it over/add more items later before you place your final order.
See also: Can I add to or change my order?
We are first and foremost an Internet business and not a retail location. However, as a courtesy to local customers, we allow you to pick up rings from our warehouse.
We are only open by appointment; no walk-ins are allowed. Give us a minimum of 24 hours notice (though more is better), and we are happy to pull together whatever items you need. Our business has grown fast, and we are in tight quarters, therefore we need to schedule a specific window of time with you to make sure there is a customer service specialist available to process your order. Keep in mind that we are rarely able to handle pickups outside of normal business hours.
Because we are set up as a warehouse and not as a retail store, customers cannot browse our merchandise. If you have questions about a particular product or would like to see color samples in person, please contact us and let one of our customer service specialists help you with product selection.
In the near future, we will require advance payment for all pickup orders. This will allow us to give you larger windows of time in which to pickup your order, since a customer service specialist won't need to be on hand to process your payment.
More than 99% of our orders arrive quickly, with no problems. If you happen to be in the 1% that is delayed, we apologize.
When we ship your order, you will automatically receive a "your order has shipped" confirmation email from us. The time it takes for us to process orders varies and is listed under Order Processing Times on our Shipping Page. If you have not received the confirmation email from us, and it has been at least the number of days listed under Order Processing Times, please let us know.
If you received the shipping confirmation and have waited the maximum number of days to receive your package (see our Shipping page to determine this) and there is no updated tracking information, contact us. Blue Buddha is not responsible for orders that ship to an incorrect address due to inaccurate information provided by a customer.
Blue Buddha handles all missing packages on an individual basis, as there are many possible reasons to cause a package delay. We will work with you to find the best solution we can.
This section answers the most frequently asked questions we here about our business in general. To learn more about B3 and the people behind our business, visit our About page.
When you order from Blue Buddha Boutique, you are purchasing the highest-quality products with the most brilliant finishes, beautiful colors, and precision-sizing possible. We work hard to provide this to our customers because, as artists ourselves, we understand how important it is. We live by the rule "if we wouldn't use it in our own jewelry, we won't sell it." It's as simple as that.
To do this, we have developed a rigious quality control system. From wire to ring-makers, anodizers to quality controllers, Blue Buddha jump rings go through a several stages of quality control before they ever reach your door. We pride ourselves on using the best materials we can find, and seek to use 100%-Made-in-the-USA components whenever possible. If something falls below our standards, we will discontinue the product rather than sell mediocre supplies.
We also offer more sizes in base metal than any other supplier, and can often custom-make sizes not on our website. We understand that you need very specific jump rings to make your dream design come to life and we would never expect you to compromise that vision. Our artists and designers benefit from this and we know you will too.
To compliment our high-quality products, we strive to provide stellar customer service to each and every customer who places an order with us. Our friendly experts have helped countless maillers find exactly what they need to make their project the best it can be. Whether you've ordered 50 rings or 10,000 - we are honored that you've chosen to order from Blue Buddha Boutique, and we want you to be delighted with your transaction.
While we believe strongly in proactive customer service, we know mistakes happen and nobody is perfect. If you have a problem with our products, we will give your situation the attention and respect that it deserves. Our customers are fiercely loyal; some of these customers became B3 fans for life because they were so impressed with how we handled an issue they had. No, we can't solve every problem, but we certainly try our hardest! See our Return Policy for more information.
Ultimately, we are geeked out on chainmaille just like you. We love talking about supplies, checking out new projects and problem-solving. Join our community of artists and maillers, we can't wait to meet you!
We have the great pleasure of receiving love from our customers on an almost daily basis. Whether they were won over by our high-quality product, outstanding customer service or über-fast shipping, many become customers for life.
Blue Buddha Boutique was founded as a part-time hobby by Rebeca Mojica in 2003. Originally specializing in moderately-priced, beautiful, innovative chainmaille jewelry, the company soon became the Midwest's largest product and training supplier for amateur chainmaille jewelry makers, as interest in the craft skyrocketed. Today, Blue Buddha is one of the largest chainmaille product suppliers in the world.
In 2007, Rebeca incorporated Blue Buddha and hired her first employee. Within a few years, the staff grew tremendously and the business was moved out of Rebeca's spare bedroom. You can read more about the company and founder on our About Page.
To bring joy to people's lives by providing high-quality chainmaille supplies and education.
To inspire people worldwide and create customer evangelists through community building, clear communication, analysis of customer feedback, and prompt handling of concerns on an individual basis.
To provide unexpectedly high-quality chainmaille jewelry supplies, educational materials and exciting artistic patterns that motivate maillers at all levels.
To contribute to society by donating products, classes and/or profits to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations; to encourage entrepreneurship amongst artisans by promoting the DIY community and providing pro bono opportunities for crafters to learn about business issues.
To operate the company with sound financial principles, thereby ensuring fiscal stability and profitable growth.
To provide clear training; to create an amicable environment that encourages continuous professional development both of management and of workers; to develop a culture in which employees, interns and contractors feel comfortable asking questions; and to compensate appropriately for work and ideas contributing to the success of the business.
Rebeca once had a blue glass vase that was vaguely bulbous. One day, while a friend was gazing at it, he commented, "That looks like a blue Buddha sitting over there." Rebeca loved the way it rolled off the tongue (she's a huge fan of alliteration) so she decided to use it as an online handle back in the early days of the Internet.
When she was starting the business, she contemplating incorporating "maille" or "chainmaille" into the businessname, but she realized that she might want to branch off into other media, she decided to stick with the alliteration and go with Blue Buddha Boutique.
Later she found out that the Blue Buddha is considered a medicine Buddha, or a healing Buddha. Rebeca likes that, because she definitely thinks making chainmaille is therapeutic.
Postscript: Although Rebeca continues to take classes to learn new and different techniques, she has firmly decided NOT to branch off into other media, at least not anytime soon. *grin*
The Blue Buddha Boutique is committed to making the world a better place, particularly through education.
Here are just a few of the organizations B3 has supported with cash or jewelry donations:
• Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
• Albany Park Chamber of Commerce
• Anti-Cruelty Society
• Chiaravalle Montessori School
• Chicago Tap Theatre
• Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
• Lillstreet Art Center
• Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
• SHAC 7
Additionally, Rebeca volunteers as a contributing editor to Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine. She also donates many hours to the Chicago Craft Mafia to promote the DIY scene in Chicago and beyond. Finally, she spends a few hours a month talking one-on-one with other chainmaillers and crafters who would like to make a living at their craft.
We also believe it is important to nourish the Earth, so that we can still have communities to give back to! To that extent, we strive to be as green as we can be. Read our list of green practices.
We are always interested to work with enthusiastic and dedicated chainmaillers. Even if we don't have a current job opening, we will keep your information on file in case there's ever a future position that you might be a good fit for. (We know lots of places say that, but we promise, we really do have a file of "potential employees"!)
Please visit Employment Opportunities for current openings.
Also, note that we are absolute sticklers for following instructions. If you're interested in a specific position, and you do not follow the "How to Apply" instructions to a T, your application will not be considered.
If you would like to send your info for us to keep on file, please send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a cover letter/email indicating your interest in the company and what talents you'd love to put to use to help our company thrive. Be sure to mention that you aren't applying for a specific position, but you'd like us to keep you in mind for future positions, as stated on our Jobs FAQ.
Blue Buddha is based in Chicago. We are primarily an Internet business and are open to the public by appointment only. Because we are set up as a manufacturing studio/warehouse, no walk-ins are accepted.
1127 W. Granville
Chicago IL 60660
Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday 10 am - 5 pm CT. We are primarily an Internet business and are open to the public by appointment only. No walk-ins are accepted.
To schedule an appointment please call us at 866.602.RING (7464) or send email to email@example.com.
You can purchase products 24/7 online, however note that we only ship orders Monday through Friday, not including holidays.
We love connecting with our customers online and have established a great community of maillers, handmade business owners, and other like-minded folks through our page on Facebook and our Twitter feed. Join the conversation by clicking on the links below!
Follow BlueBuddhaBtq on Twitter if you're looking for tips to grow your crafty business.
Can't wait to "see" you in cyberspace!
We do a few supplies shows each year. Our schedule can be found on our Events page.
We are very selective about the shows we do (it's expensive and tough—both on us, and on the Earth's resources—to lug hundreds of pounds of metal across the country!). However, we're always open to suggestion, so if there are shows you think would be a great fit for us, please let us know and we'll check them out!
Customer feedback is incredibly important and useful to us. To share your B3 experience, we encourage you to sign our guestbook. Quotes from customers are displayed on our guestbook page, in the footer of our site and sometimes even in marketing materials.
We have a form for general feedback submission in the footer of our website (seen at the bottom of every page). We also offer forms for more specific feedback such as additional FAQ questions (seen at the left), kit requests like on our CHAINED kits page and more.
We love your feedback (and so do our lawyers!) However, here’s an obligatory note from our lawyers about how we handle customer feedback:
We appreciate your feedback – it helps us to improve what we’re doing and provide you the best products and services. Please be advised that we do not offer, nor should there be any expectation of, any payments, compensation or remuneration of any kind for your ideas, information and feedback. In addition, any ideas, feedback or other information provided to us may be used at our discretion; and in whatever form, whether intended by you or not, to promote, service, improve, or assist The Blue Buddha, its agents, employees, services, products, subsidiaries, or those involved in any other manner with the business or its operations; and without any mention, credit, compensation or payment to you as a result.
Please do not misunderstand – we value your input and ideas, so much so that we read and discuss everything you send us as a priority in what we do. However, our lawyer is a pain, and he’s making us show you this so that you understand that you are helping us to improve what we do out of the goodness of your heart, and not as a result of expecting a shower of gold, magical rainbows, or other compensation for your help. Though if you can figure out how to make a shower of gold appear we will at least give you a mention, but don’t tell our lawyers.
Yes! We have a program called "By Artists for Artists" that encourages maillers both established and emerging to create projects to be sold through Blue Buddha Boutique. More on the program below.
B3's “By Artists for Artists” Design Program
Blue Buddha Boutique is the proud creator of the “By Artists for Artists” design program. This program was created to connect experienced chainmaille artists interested in sharing their designs with an audience of maillers around the world interested in learning to make them.
Who should apply?:
B3 is interested in working with chainmaille jewelry artists ranging from intermediate to experienced. Teaching experience and/or experience writing instructions is helpful but not required. Strong applicants will have a unique perspective on the art form and a desire to share their knowledge and creativity in a generous way with maillers around the world.
What you can expect from the program:
Once accepted into the program, you and your design will go on journey that will result in a beautiful Blue Buddha Boutique tutorial, international exposure, and the satisfaction of knowing you have inspired fellow maillers to take their chainmaille to the next level.
FEATURES OF THE PROGRAM INCLUDE…
Targeted exposure: Your design could be featured in any number of jewelry publications as well as other Blue Buddha Boutique marketing materials which reach an audience of hundreds of thousands of jewelry artists ranging from novice to expert.
Complimentary B3 Products: Your design will shine its brightest when made from our top-quality supplies which is why we offer complimentary product to create your design and to use in step-by-step photography for the tutorial.
Competitive compensation: Most designers can expect to receive fees and royalites higher than typical rates for publishing a project in magazines.
Flexibility + Artistic ownership: This program is meant to support designers and help them do what they do best which is why we offer flexibility when it comes to writing and creating tutorials as well as ownership over the final product. After a short exclusivity period, the design you create with B3′s help will be yours to sell on your own as well.
The knitty gritty:
If B3 is interested in your project, you will receive an contract that covers the details of the agreement being made between the designer and B3 in this program. This contract will be good for 1 year and will automatically renew so long as both parties remain in agreement for it to do so.
As a B3 designer, you can expect that....
How to apply:
If you’re interested in becoming a “By Artists for Artists” designer, please complete our submission form. If we are interested in creating your product, we will work with you to create a product specific contract and move forward from there.
Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander is our company mascot. (Rebeca is one of his persons.) We are a serious business, but we know that life is short and we have to enjoy it. Zed helps us do that. His head also appears in all of our print and online advertisments. Sometimes we have contests based around people finding Zed in our ads, so keep an eye out for the lil' white and black guy!
Zed does not visit the studio, as he is rather skittish. And fuzzy. (We know none of you want extra white hair added in your order!)
Teaching others to make maille has always been at the heart of Blue Buddha Boutique. Founder Rebeca Mojica has been teaching chainmaille almost as long as she's been making it, and has spent more than 1,000 hours showing people all over the world how to create wearable art out of little metal circles. Several of the best-known instructors in the field, including Vanessa Walilko and Kat Wisniewski, have studied chainmaille at B3 and have learned effective ways to teach this medium using Blue Buddha Boutique methodology.
Yes! As of February 2013, we are now offering a variety of chainmaille jewelry classes at our Edgewater Chicago location. We offer classes for every level from novice to expert and will continue to grow our offerings throughout the year.
Visit our Classes page to see what's coming up and make sure to join our "Local Buddhas" email list to stay up to date on all the events, classes and crafty happenings going on at Blue Buddha Boutique.
Visit our Classes page and click the "DETAILS" button to view the class you want to take. Clicking "SIGN UP" will take you to a form where you can initiate your class registration. After completing the form, you will be contacted by our Curriculum Director or a Customer Care specialist to complete your registration.
We are currently revamping our class schedule as well as how we handle private and small group classes. We will add new information about these private lessons to our website soon. In the meantime, should you wish to schedule a private lesson, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our studio line at 866.602.RING (7564).
If you live out-of-state (or are unable to come in during our limited hours), we also offer private lessons via Skype at the same rates as our in-person private lessons. Please contact email@example.com to set up your session.
Almost all of our classes are in the Chicago area. Blue Buddha founder Rebeca Mojica usually teaches at the Bead&Button Show in Milwaukee WI each June. If you'd like Rebeca to teach at a specific Bead Show or out-of-state store, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. If there is enough interest, we will try our hardest to set up a class or two at that location.
We are investigating the possibility of offering online classes in order to reach non-local students. We'll keep the website updated as we make progress on that front. In the meantime, you can set up a private or small-group lesson via Skype at the same rates as our in-person private lessons. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Some of the items seen in photos on the website, or in Rebeca's gallery can be found in the classes section, in which case, yes, we can teach it to you!
If you don't see the item in the classes section, we might be able to teach it to you, but you may not receive a handout or any instructions if we haven't developed instructions for that particular design. There are a few items, such as our Quantum Rose, which we do not teach.
Please contact us if you don't see a class listed for the piece you'd like to learn.
We respect copyright laws and the artists whose works appear in print. We will only teach a book or magazine project with written permission by the artist.
We encourage you to review our Magazine Projects Supplies page for a listing of Blue Buddha ring sizes that can be used for chainmaille projects in many magazines.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what projects you are most interested in, and we will develop new kits and instructions based on customer demand.
As of December 2012, Blue Buddha's founder is selling finished jewelry under her own name - Rebeca Mojica. Many of the jewelry designs previously found in Blue Buddha's gallery will be available in Rebeca Mojica's shop or online gallery. See the questions below for more information, or hop on over to rebecamojica.com.
Multiple Metals & Other Components
We often receive questions about caring/cleaning jewelry that combines metals, particularly pieces that combine anodized aluminum with other metals. It is fine to tumble pieces that combine AA with other metals, in fact that is our preferred method of cleaning. If you do not have access to a tumbler, you can clean pieces by hand using blue dish soap.
You can use the lemon juice method for cleaning pieces that combine tarnishable metals (copper, jewelry brass, bronze) with anodized aluminum, however we recommend not using the salt as it may be too abrasive for the colored rings. It is worth noting that repeated lemon-juicing can strip rings of their luster as the procees creates microscopic pitting in the surface of the rings. This can be buffed out via tumbling, however if you don't have access to a tumbler, it is recommended to limit the use of this process. First and foremost, we recommend storing your pieces in airtight, ziplock baggies with anti-tarnish tabs to minimize the need for cleaning.
For information about caring for jewelry that combines jump rings with delicate components such as glass rings or crystals, check out this blog post!
Blue Buddha founder Rebeca loves the challenge and creativity of designing pieces to suit your needs exactly. Please note that Rebeca is now selling finished jewelry under her own name, Rebeca Mojica.
To request a quote for a custom piece, please send an email to email@example.com or call Blue Buddha at 866.602.RING (7464) and describe the piece you're dreaming of. Rebeca will work to make your design a reality. She is happy to work with a wide range of budgets to create any form of wearable art, from short earrings to epic, one-of-a-kind necklaces.
This varies greatly, depending upon the complexity of the weave, how many jump rings are used the size and metal of the rings, and other similar factors.
A very simple pair of earrings from one of Rebeca's regular jewelry lines could take her less than 10 minutes to make. Complex pieces can take her more than 100 hours. Creating new pieces takes additional time beyond simply linking the rings together, as the design process (including troubleshooting sizes) can be time-consuming.
New weavers typically need three to ten times as long as veteran weavers to create pieces.
Please visit the Events section of rebecamojica.com for a listing of upcoming jewelry shows. Note that Blue Buddha does not sell supplies at Rebeca Mojica shows. If you're looking for pliers, kits, jump rings and other supplies to make your own chainmaille, visit the Events section on this (Blue Buddha's) website.
Rebeca's line of chainmaille jewelry is currently sold exclusively through Blue Buddha Boutique's studio/warehouse in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, which is open by appointment only. Refer to our contact information for more details. To see designs available, visit the shop on rebecamojica.com.
It's possible. Check our classes and supplies pages first to see if you see the item you're interested in. If you don't see the item there, it means we do not have a class or kit based on that project. We won't divulge the exact ring sizes of some designs (such as the Quantum Rose), but for many of our pieces, we are comfortable developing classes and instructions.
Feel free to request that we develop a kit by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chainmaille has been around for about 3,000 years, but some people still think "chain letters" when they hear the term. *grin*
The "Chainmaille 101" Q&A below provides an overview to this resurging craft as well as a glossary of common terms and abbreviations.
Chainmaille (also known as chainmail, or simply maille) is typically armor or jewelry made by connecting metal rings to one another. The word maille derives from the French word maille (mesh), which comes from Latin macula (mesh of a net). Creating something out of maille involves a few steps:
Chainmaille is one of the earliest forms of metal armor. The oldest piece of maille armor that can be accurately dated is more than 2,700 years old. It was discovered in the graves of Celtic warriors. Earlier evidence of chainmaille has been found in graves from the 5th century BC in Scythia (an area between Europe and Asia). Although most historical chainmaille is armor, jewelry techniques were also used by cultures as diverse as the Vikings and the ancient Egyptians. It is difficult to trace the history of chainmaille, because much of the "evidence" was destroyed in battle. Many pieces that survive today may have been high-quality pieces passed on from generation to generation (or even stolen from a corpse after a battle). These may or may not be a good sampling of the most common maille used. Read more about the history of chainmaille at Wikipedia.
Chainmaille can be made from virtually any material that can be formed into a circle. This includes most metals as well nontraditional jewelry materials such as rubber.
|The number of known patterns is impressive: More than 1,000 weaves are documented on M.A.I.L. (Maille Artisans International League). Most of these modify basic patterns, but each weave is distinct. Today's weavers still create new patterns, from simple chains to intricate, fabric-like sheets.||
Japanese Bulls-Eye, a weave by Rebeca Mojica
Blue Buddha Boutique projects feature a variety of metals to best suit your tastes and budget. The most commonly used metals are sterling silver, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, niobium and titanium. Other metals include gold-fill, brass and bronze. By dipping certain metals in electrically charged solutions and varying the voltage—a process known as anodizing—dazzling colors can be created. Niobium and titanium are anodized this way, while aluminum is prepared, then dyed.
Maille Artisans International League (M.A.I.L.) has a comprehensive library of chainmaille weaves, grouped by family, with free tutorials for many weaves.
There are more than 1,000 weaves listed on M.A.I.L. Whew! Note, however, that the majority of weaves are variations on a smaller number of basic weaves.
Anodized – An anodized metal is one that has been electrically treated. By dipping niobium or titanium in an electrically charged solution, an oxide layer is formed and the surface color changes. The colors achieved depend on the voltage. When aluminum is anodized, the oxide layer is clear, and the metal is then dyed. Whether the colors are electrically obtained, or dyed, the colors may vary from batch to batch and from ring to ring.
AR - Aspect Ratio. The relationship between the Inner Diameter and the Wire Diameter of the ring. The formula to calculate AR is ID ÷ WD High AR rings have a big hole with comparatively thin wire. You can fit a lot of similar jump rings through the hole of a high AR ring, so many weaves are possible, but many are far too loose to be aesthetically pleasing. Low AR rings have a small hole with comparatively thick wire. You can't fit a lot of rings through the center, so not many weaves are possible. For more information, see "What is Aspect Ratio?", "How do you calculate AR?" and "How do you use AR?"
AWG - American Wire Gauge – A numbering system that tends to be used for non-ferrous (meaning not containing iron) metals. This is what is traditionally used for sterling silver and copper. It's always best to ask your suppliers directly about the exact stats on their rings.
Base Metal – Normally a base metal is a metal that oxidizes or corrodes easily. For ease of grouping the non-precious metals into a cohesive group, B3's base metals refer to aluminum, bronze, copper, enameled copper, (jewelry) brass and stainless steel.
Calipers – A tool to measure the ID, WD and OD of jump rings. (B3 sells calipers in our Tools section.)
WD - Wire Diameter – The measured thickness of the wire used in a jump ring. Most commonly given in gauges, but since gauges are inconsistent (see AWG vs SWG), many maillers prefer to give WD in millimeters or decimal inches.
g, ga, or gu - Wire Gauge. Wire Gauge – (abbrv g, ga, or gu ) Gauges are numbers designating the thickness of the wire used to make the jump ring. Gauge systems differ according to the metal - 16ga steel is different from 16ga sterling (see AWG & SWG). The main thing to remember about gauges is that the higher the number, the thinner the wire. Most armor chainmaille is 12ga - 16ga. Jewelry tends to be 16ga - 22ga. Micromaille is 22ga - 24ga (and even thinner, for the hard-core micromaillers!). See the gauge conversion chart in the Jump Ring Sizes page for gauge measurements and conversions.
ID - Inner Diameter of jump ring – Typically given in millimeters or fractional inches. Best measured using calipers (to account for springback) when jump ring is closed.
Jump Ring – This is where it all starts: the basic ring from which traditional maille is created.
Kerf – The width of cut made by a saw through the jump rings. A thick saws yields a ring with a large kerf, and thin saws create rings with minimal kerf. Smaller kerfs are better, because the jump ring maintains more of its circular shape when closed if less metal is removed.
Mandrel – a rod around which wire is coiled in order to make jump rings. The standard ring mandrels used at B3 increase in 1/64” increments.
Möbius – A technique whereby multiple rings are intertwined, but they function as an individual unit.
OD - Outer Diameter of Jump Ring. The outside measurement of a jump ring, from one end to another. Traditionally given in millimeters or decimal inches. Best measured using calipers when jump ring is closed. Maille purists never give ring sizes in OD, however bead supply companies often use OD to measure jump rings, since they are accustomed to measuring beads in OD.
Precious Metal – Pecious metals are rare and of high economic value. On our website, we consider precious metals to be gold-fill, sterling silver, niobium and titanium.
Springback – When raw wire is wrapped around a mandrel, it "relaxes" a bit after being coiled because it prefers to stay a straight piece of wire. This relaxing is known as springback. Different metals have different springback. For example, a stainless steel jump ring wrapped around a 5/16 inch mandrel is significantly larger than a sterling jump ring wrapped around the same mandrel. This is because steel is tougher, and it springs back more. The same metal in different gauges wrapped around the same mandrel will yield different IDs, because springback differs depending on the gauge. Note also that different suppliers have different methods of wrapping, resulting in different springbacks even if wire gauge and metal is the same. Even if different suppliers use the same metal wrapped around the same mandrel, springback can be different if each supplier's wire is a different temper (see definition of temper below). Springback affects aspect ratio, so be sure to take springback into account when ordering rings.
SWG - Standard Wire Gauge – Also known as Imperial Wire Gauge. A numbering system often used for ferrous (meaning containing iron) metals. Stainless steel usually has SWG numbers. It's always best to ask your suppliers directly about the exact stats on their rings.
Split Ring – Similar to a jump ring, split rings are most commonly used for key rings. A split ring has a slit going the long way around its circumference, rather than the split cutting the short way through the wire. If you were to tug apart the ends of a split ring, it would resemble a very small spring.
Temper – The hardness or softness of wire. Softer wire is more malleable, and harder wire is stiffer and more durable. Typical tempers include Dead Soft, Half Hard, Full Hard.
Weave – (n) A specific pattern of rings. Weaves are divided into various families. (v) the act of linking jump rings together into a pattern
WD - Wire Diameter of jump ring. Most commonly given in gauges, but since gauges are inconsistent (see g, AWG & SWG), many maillers prefer to give WD in millimeters or decimal inches.
GSG - GSG is a Persian weave by Buddha. Named for the Great Southern Gathering where the weave was perfected.
HP - Half Persian. Usually seen as HP4-1 or HP3-1, etc. for Half Persian 4-in-1 and Half Persian 3-in-1.
As noted in "What is Chainmaille?", the word maille derives from the French word maille (mesh), which comes from Latin macula (mesh of a net).
It is because of this etymology that B3's founder, like many other maillers, prefers to spell chainmaille with an “le” at the end, as opposed to using the traditional spelling of chain mail. Well, that, and to distinguish our beloved craft from chain letters. *grin* Spelling chainmaille with an "le" also allows for more precise image or text search results on the Internet.
Note that some chainmaillers prefer the term "maille" as they consider "chainmaille" to be redundant.
Throughout the years, we've seen all of these alternate spellings of chain maille used by those in the industry:
Note that we're actually petitioning the dictionary people to add "chainmaille" as an acceptable alternate spelling. In order to do that, we need to amass lots of press clippings that use the term as we spell it. So if you come across any such references, we'd greatly appreciate it if you could please forward to email@example.com!
P.S. Yes, you'll find that we occasionally write "chain mail" or "chainmail" on our website. It's not a mistake. We've used that spelling so that folks who are searching for those terms on the Internet will still find our website! :-)
Part of Blue Buddha's mission statement is to encourage entrepreneurship amongst artisans by promoting the DIY community and providing pro bono opportunities for crafters to learn about business issues. Whether you are simply making jewelry for you and your friends, or you are looking to achieve world domination with your chainmaille jewelry, we wish you much success in your chainmaille endeavours!
by B3 founder Rebeca Mojica
Pricing is the eternal dilemna of crafters. Many people don't want to overcharge, so they wind up undercharging. In order to ensure you make enough profit, you should find a pricing system that works and use it for all your pieces. This article will show you one way to price your work in order to meet your expenses, pay yourself, and have money leftover to invest into the business.
For my jewelry, I've set up a spreadsheet so all I do is plug in the materials cost plus the time it took me to make the piece. The spreadsheet does its magic and gives me an estimate of how much I would make per hour (after profits, overhead and taxes) for that piece if I sold it directly to a customer and also if I sold it at a wholesale price. The hourly rate is important to me, because I spend time doing business-related tasks other than weaving. If I know how many hours a week I spend making maille, I can figure out what my hourly wage needs to be in order to cover the behind-the-scenes time when I'm not mailling. The spreadsheet comes in handy when I'm calculating the prices for new production items as well as when I need to give someone a quote for a custom piece.
If you don't want to set up a spreadsheet and are just looking for a formula, here is one possibility:
Materials – I highly recommend doubling your materials cost. This way, not only have you covered the cost of your piece, but you can reinvest in the materials to make another one.
Your Wages – Don't underestimate. Choose an hourly wage that will allow you to eat!
Overhead – Each piece has some overhead attached to it. Overhead includes office expenses, packaging materials, tools, etc. Figuring out a precise number is easier if you have a few months of data to look back on. Total your expenses, and divide by the number of months. Then divide by the number of hours you spend making jewelry each month. This gives you an estimation of your hourly overhead. So if that number winds up being $5.75, you should add about $6 to your hourly wage to cover overhead.
Profits – This number is very important; don't omit it! You will need to reinvest some of the money you make in order to keep making money. This allows you to purchase better tools, move from base to precious metals, replace a broken computer, etc.
|Here's an example:
Sarah made a bracelet in 1 hour. The material cost was $7. She has not been making jewelry for long, and will probably only make jewelry as a hobby, so she sets her hourly wage at $10. Her overhead is $5 per hour, and she'd like to invest $5 back into her jewelry business so it can grow.
Double the wholesale price to find the retail price: $68
NOTES about Uncle Sam: The formula above doesn't include taxes. If you make more than $400 per year with your jewelry, you will need to pay income taxes. As a sole proprietor—most jewelers and crafters start out this way—you are NOT allowed to pay yourself a wage. The government assumes that all income (Revenue minus Expenses and materials cost) goes into your pocket, and this is what they will tax. A good rule of thumb is to assume the IRS will take 30% of your income. Keep that in mind when using the formula above! You may want to inflate the number for your hourly wage in anticipation of taxes.
COGS stands for Cost of Goods Sold, and this is an important number. It's the M in the pricing formula above. Let's say you spent $500 on jump rings. Common sense may tell you to deduct $500 right away as a business expense ... but that is incorrect. You cannot deduct raw materials—aka inventory—until you sell them, or sell a piece that uses them. When Sarah made the bracelet mentioned above, she deducted the materials cost at the time of the sale, not at the time of the purchase.
In reality, you only figure out the COGS at the end of the year, by closely counting your inventory. COGS for the year is: (starting inventory plus purchased inventory) minus (year-end inventory).
Let's say your inventory at the end of the year is worth $2,000. You started the year with $500 worth of inventory, and during the year, you purchased $6,000 in materials.
Even though you are only officially calculating COGS once a year, it is a wise idea to do rough COGS calculations for each piece you sell, in order to help you set your prices. Once you've been doing jewelry for awhile, you may find that you develop a good sense for pricing and can set accurate prices prices without the time-consuming process of calculating the cost for each component used and then plugging these numbers into a pricing formula. When you're first starting out, though, using a pricing formula for all your pieces is essential.
I've only touched upon the business concepts of pricing and taxes. If you want to know more, I recommend the books below.
Small-Time Operator: How to Start Your Own Small Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes and Stay Out of Trouble! by Bernard B. Kamoroff. ISBN 0-917510-14-3
Handmade for Profit! by Barbara Brabec. ISBN 0-87131-812-1
The Basic Guide to Selling Arts & Crafts by James Dillehay. ISBN 0-9629923-0-5
For more info, see A Pricing Experiment in the Student Newsletter Archives.
You can absolutely sell pieces that you make using our instructions. We wouldn't offer kits and instructions if we didn't expect folks to sell and teach those designs. We hope they sell well for you! We don't see it as competition. Our philosophy is: when more folks make chainmaille, more people buy chainmaille, causing more people to discover chainmaille in the first place. And the more people that discover maille, the better, as far as we're concerned!
CHAINED is the only jewelry-making book we know of that explicitly allows readers to make and sell pieces from the book.
While crediting the designer is always appreciated, it is not necessary. Feel free to sell items—online or at craft fairs—you make from B3 instructions without acknowledging the designer. We will, however, be grumpy if you try to pass off certain Blue Buddha designs as your own creations! So play nice, respect your fellow jewelry-makers, only claim designs that are rightfully yours, and we'll all get along just fine. :-)
If you're looking to start or grow your crafty business and you've heard that Rebeca is willing to answer questions and share her experiences in a one-on-one session with you ... you've heard right! She loves being a sounding board for budding entrepreneurs within the crafting community.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what particular areas you'd like to discuss, and what your general availability is. We'll email you back to set up a time.
Please note that Rebeca only sets up 1 to 3 hour-long sessions per month, and these often fill up months in advance. Don't be discouraged if she is unable to speak with you immediately. (She does, after all, have a chainmaille empire to run!)
Before your session, come up with a list of specific issues you'd like to address during the phone call. Also determine what your overall goal for the session is. Meaning, in order for you to consider the session a success, what information or clarity would you need to have gained?
At the start of the session, please provide Rebeca with a quick introduction and a bit of background information on your business. From there, feel free to ask as many questions as you can squeeze into the 60 minutes! Rebeca will share her experiences and ask questions to get you thinking about your business in different ways. As the session progresses, the conversation might wind up in a different place than you originally thought, and in most cases this can be a good thing. But always keep in mind that session is YOURS, so feel free to completely switch gears if you think that will help you get the most out of the time.
Rebeca is thrilled to have provided many pro bono consultations over the years, and she enjoys being able to share her experiences so other crafters do not have to reinvent the wheel.
The Chicago Craft Mafia is a collaborative and non-competitive organization of independent crafting business owners. Blue Buddha Boutique founder Rebeca Mojica has been a member of the Chicago Craft Mafia since 2006.
The Mafia works together to foster their own individual entrepreneurship and to support the greater crafting community. Members of the familia pride ourselves on the design, integrity and workmanship of their products and the ethics of their business practices.
Their collective knowledge covers wholesaling, retailing, publishing digital and traditional media, licensing, teaching, graphic design, marketing, product photography, and website development. They organize quarterly Craft Rackets: free business-oriented workshops open to the public on a variety of subjects such as Pricing Your Crafts and How to Apply for an Arts Fair.
Each holiday season, the Chicago Craft Mafia presents the DIY Trunk Show, which brings together 100+ local and regional crafters. In order to showcase talented emerging artisans, the show focuses on ensuring that 20%-30% of the spaces available go to first-time sellers each year. Additionally, the show promotes several nonprofits by offering free table space for them to interact with show attendees.
If you've come up with a unique jewelry design, please consider writing a tutorial and submitting it to a how-to magazine. You could receive financial compensation and international recognition! Additionally, the magazines listed below have gallery sections if you simply wish to show off your most fabulous pieces.
To submit projects or finished pieces to chainmaille magazines, visit the magazine's website directly and follow the directions outlined in their Writer's or Sumissions Guidelines (if they have one), generally available as a downloadable PDF. Also check out our "Ask an Artist" interview with Sara Richardson for more tips about getting published.
B3's founder Rebeca is a contributing editor for Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine, and she would love to hear what you have to say about their chainmaille projects and share your suggestions with the editors. Please email any feedback about the magazine to email@example.com
Additionally, if you're thinking about submitting a project for consideration to Step by Step Wire, feel free to email Rebeca directly. If she falls in love with your project, it could be added to the magazine's lineup!
For any of the weaves we teach or have kits for, you can in turn feel free to sell (or teach) any of those designs. It's not cool to go around telling people that these are your original designs, but if you're not doing that, then you have our blessing. Of course, we would appreciate credit for any weaves we've come up with.
We wouldn't offer kits and instructions if we didn't expect folks to sell and teach those designs. Likewise, there are a few designs, such as the Quantum Rose that we will never teach or sell instructions for—you know, there's just some secrets an artist would like to keep! But other than those few designs, you can certainly feel free to reproduce as many of our kit pieces as you'd like.
If you teach our designs, feel free to use your own instructions with no permission needed from B3. In order to use our instructions in your classes, you must become an authorized distributor. The distributor program is a cost-effective and easy way for bead stores and jewelry instructors to create a chainmaille curriculum. For a one time fee per project, you'll be allowed to reprint our instructions for retail sale and use in classes, and you can also purchase kits at wholesale prices. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for full details.
You cannot use the book CHAINED to teach during a private lesson or class, unless all students have purchased a copy of the book.
We're working on a teacher/student referral program, and expect that to launch in 2012 or 2013.