Blue Buddha’s Recommended Chainmaille Suppliers List
Since B3 announced our closing, we were flooded with requests to know where to buy quality rings like the ones we sold. At long last, I’ve compiled a list! For each metal, I’ve given my top recommendations. Following that is an alphabetical listing of each supplier with a link to their website.
A few important notes
I will likely update and tweak the list over the next 1-2 months, especially as I get new information or products from vendors. Know that my list is in no way comprehensive. There are many suppliers that I have no experience with, so I haven’t included them here. The Chain Maille group on Facebook maintains a great list of suppliers, far longer than my list. Feel free to use it! All of my suppliers (except Zili) are US- or Canada-based, because I’m in North America, so it makes sense for me to use closer suppliers.
Also keep in mind, these recommendations are based on my subjective opinions and experiences. Yours may be different. Feel free to leave positive reviews and share your own experiences in the comments. I won’t allow bad-mouthing of vendors in the comments; there are plenty of other places online you can leave reviews and vent about bad experiences. For this post, I ask that you keep comments positive (like the childhood saying goes, “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything.”)
Finally, remember all suppliers’ rings are different. Ordering a 1/4″ (aka “L” or 6.4 mm) ring from another supplier is probably going to give you a slightly different size ring that what you would’ve purchased from B3. Some suppliers use AWG and some use SWG and many use a combination of both. If you have old Blue Buddha ring packs, look for the exact wire diameter measurements and check with your new supplier to make sure they match. Carefully close a few of our rings to measure the exact aspect ratio and see what your potential supplier has that is closest. Several of these suppliers are willing to “match B3 sizes” if you tell them that is what you are trying to do – either let them know the Blue Buddha size you want to duplicate and/or see if they’ll let you send them a few rings for comparison.
B3’s Top Recommendations For Jump Rings
Anodized Aluminum (full-coverage rings) – Metal Designz and C&T Designs offer full-coverage rings like Blue Buddha used to offer. (Metal Designz is slowly replacing their AA stock with stock that closely resembles B3 stock! Check with them to see what colors/sizes they have, as they may still have some batches of rings that are not all-over color.)
Note – I haven’t yet found a full-coverage supplier for some of Blue Buddha’s larger rings (T14 and X12) nor a supplier to create a “faux gold” AA line in many sizes. I’m working on it, and when it happens, I’ll let you know!
Anodized Aluminum (anodized pre-cutting) – Weave Got Maille, West Coast Chainmail and The Ring Lord all provide AA. Each of those suppliers uses their own anodizing company and therefore the colors you get from each one are going to be unique. For all of these AA batches, the coils are anodized and the rings are cut from the coils afterward. It means the cuts themselves aren’t anodized. One advantage is that the color tends to be far more consistent and one disadvantage is that the cut is not anodized. I recommend buying a few small batches of rings to see what you think. It turns out, I don’t mind the cut not being anodized as much as I thought I would – if the cut is good enough, you can still get a seamless closure and your rings look great.
Aluminum – If you want shiny aluminum, Zili has the best rings I’ve ever seen. His website might be intimidating your first time around, but his rings are worth it, trust me. Other recommendations are Weave Got Maille, Metal Designz and HyperLynks. I’ve heard great things about C&T‘s aluminum rings, too.
Enameled Copper – Weave Got Maille
Jewelry Brass (also known as NuGold, Jeweler’s Bronze and Red Brass) – Spiderchain, Metal Designz, Weave Got Maille and West Coast Chainmail – If you order from West Coast Chainmail, be sure to order Red Brass, rather than yellow brass, to get the more subtle gold-looking brass. (If you do want the yellowy brass, then West Coast Chainmail has you covered, too!)
Niobium – My top recommendation is Spiderchain. Her colors are beautiful and she is just as persnickty as I am about ring quality and precision sizing. She may be willing to match old B3 sizes if there is enough demand. My other recommended supplier is ChainWeavers.com. Also, C&T Designs is known for their rainbow rings, where the entire niobium color spectrum is contained on a single ring!
Stainless Steel – If you want soft steel like Blue Buddha used to have, my only recommendation is Metal Designz. They have square stainless, too!
B3’s Top Recommendations For Other Chainmaille-Related Items
Rubber Rings – Spiderchain has taken over Blue Buddha’s rubber rings, so clearly that’s my #1 recommendation for rubber! I love our silicone rings – the color is amazing, they are stretchy and shiny and they hold up well over time (unlike other rubber which tends to get really stiff and may even crack).
Scales – Blue Buddha was the original company to provide full-coverage anodized aluminum scales! No stress now that we’re closed, though, you can buy them from Metal Designz, The Ring Lord and C&T Designs (Note that The Ring Lord has both full-coverage scales as well as economy scales which are punched after anodizing (meaning the edges are not colored), so make sure to double-check when ordering to make sure you get the type that you need.)
HyperLynks kits – Mhai O Mhai Beads
Other Kits/Instructions – ChainWeavers.com, Weave Got Maille, C&T Designs & of course you can continue to find chainmaille tutorials for Blue Buddha designs on our Etsy Shop (I’ll also create blog posts for the free PDF tutorials we used to offer).
Findings, Beads, Other Components – It would be difficult to list outlets for every single non-jump ring item we sold. Most of the suppliers below have a findings/clasp/other/misc section, so check on their website to see if they have what you need! Even if they don’t have the exact model of something Blue Buddha sold, they probably have something that will work just as good, if not better, than what we sold!
Alphabetical Listing of Recommended Suppliers
Blue Buddha Boutique – Gone, but not forgotten! Check out our tutorials on Etsy. I’ll add the occasional kit (and who knows what else) to the shop, too.
C&T Designs – A Colorado-based supplier with a fiercely loyal fan base. They are known for lightning fast shipping and their rainbow-niobium jump rings.
ChainWeavers.com – They specialize in precious metals (including some nifty unusual rings like oval-shaped rings and their discontinued DragonDust line) and kits. Kathleen was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of their Jens Pind Instructions, which have had a 100% success rate with customers! So be sure to check out their kits & instructions!
HyperLynks – Not only does HyperLynks sell many of their kits through Mhai O Mhai, they also make their own bright aluminum, bronze, copper, EPDM rubber rings, and glass “LovelyLynks” rings. Check out the “where to buy” section on their website.
Metal Designz – One of Canada’s biggest chainmaille suppliers with a large variety of jump rings. They have some really unusual clasps, too.
Mhai O Mhai – They have a huge selection of HyperLynks kits and are also authorized distributors for many Blue Buddha tutorials. Plus they have zillions of other chainmaille and beading items.
Spiderchain – I’ve known Spider since 2002 and absolutely love her precious metal rings. She is picky about size and quality (pickier than I am, if that’s possible!) and has amazing customer care. I highly, highly recommend her. Plus Spiderchain is the only place to buy the silicone rubber rings we used to sell at Blue Buddha.
The Ring Lord – If you’re looking for a MASSIVE selection of jump rings, scales, beads and all things chainmaille, along with low prices, The Ring Lord is your best bet. If you make armor and not jewelry, the Ring Lord is pretty much the only place I’d recommend. They also have many, many interesting components, most of which are unique to them, and they’re always coming up with something new.
Weave Got Maille – A large selection of jump rings (AWG) including a line of brand new Anodized Aluminum rings. The owner of WGM was so unhappy with the anodizing companies out there (a struggle I can relate to all too well) that she decided to build her own anodizing factory! Now that’s impressive. They stock a whopping 20 colors including several you won’t find anywhere else!
West Coast Chainmail – Andre’s anodized aluminum rings are terrific, and he carries a shade of teal (when the anodizer cooperates, heh) that no other company has. I was also really impressed by his jewelry brass rings. He is the owner of one of Blue Buddha’s old tumblers, and we’ve passed on our tumbling secrets to him, so I suspect any rings you order from him will be nice and shiny!
Zili – Blindingly shiny aluminum rings. Henrich aka Zili is one of the best, most technical, chainmaille brains around.