Care and Storage
IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHAIN MAILLE
1. Never use household cleaners, detergents or cleaning agents that contain abrasives or harsh chemicals such as ammonia or chlorine. These can cause damage to colour finishes and to the metal as well.
2. Wearing your pieces while swimming in pools is not recommended, due to the presence of chlorine and other harsh chemicals.
3. Pieces should NEVER be put in your mouth due to the risk of choking.
4. Your chain maille is not a toy and should not be given to children to wear or to play with. Rings are not welded so can be pulled apart if enough force is applied. The ends of an opened ring could scratch or even cut skin. If a child swallowed rings, stones or other pieces that make up your jewelry, it could result in serious medical consequences.
5. Even though some of these pieces are made of metal they are still delicate; treat them as you would treat any fine piece of jewelry.
6. When you are not wearing your piece, it is recommended that you keep it secured in a cloth bag or in a separate box, as it will help to protect your piece from damage.
7. Although chain maille was originally used to prevent injury during battle, these pieces will not afford you protection from injury. If you are looking for “combat ready” pieces, there are craftsmen who specialize in this. If you cannot find someone contact us: we may be able to direct you to someone.
CARING FOR YOUR METAL PIECES
We usually use this for pieces such as helms and mantles, but not for jewelry pieces. This is because I find that Bright’s Aluminum doesn't have the shine of anodized and it is not as clean as anodized and you can experience rub off. Many people do use it in jewelry and there is certainly nothing wrong with doing it, it is just we prefer using Brights for cosplay/role play pieces.
Coloured Anodized Aluminum:
This comes in a wide range of colours and provides stunning effects. It is important not to treat these pieces roughly as the colours can be scratched. They will hold up fine for normal wear but they are not meant to be abused in any way. Treat your piece well and you will have it to enjoy for many years.
To clean, simply soak in warm water with mild soap - no chemicals. Rinse with clear water, pat excess water off and let air dry completely before putting the piece away. Never use polish or jewelry polishing cloths - this could remove the colour from anodized aluminum rings.
PROS: Extremely light weight. Inexpensive.
CONS: Can be damaged if treated roughly. Colours will fade over time (but this takes many years if cared for properly.)
Brass, Copper and Bronze
These metals tarnish rather quickly but can be easily cleaned. You can use any brass cleaner; it does a good job on brass and bronze. Some people like the patina they develop, especially if you want the piece to look old and worn.
If you have an allergy to nickel, do not wear bronze! Most people who have allergies to nickel have negative reactions to bronze.
Copper is a very soft metal and has to be handled gently when cleaning.
You can purchase cleaners but Youtube has several channels full of suggestions for natural cleaning methods - it is worth checking out.
Here are the two methods we use most often:
For light cleaning, soak the piece in a solution of warm water and mild liquid soap for 30 minutes. Using a soft bristled tooth brush (that you will use ONLY for cleaning jewelry), gently brush the piece. Dip into the water and soap mixture frequently to remove the loosened grit. Rinse well and rub try with a soft cloth.
For more extensive cleaning, mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of salt and slowly add white vinegar until you have a thick paste. Using your soft bristled tooth brush, apply the paste to your piece and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, making sure you remove all the paste mixture. Rub dry with a soft cloth.
In both cases, if your piece has crevices or engraving it is a good idea to let your piece air dry for several hours to make sure it is completely dry before storing.
There is also the option of letting your piece develop its natural patina. Depending on your tastes, you might find you like the colour your piece takes on as it ages; in fact, some people oxidize their piece in order to obtain an antique look.
PROS: Takes on interesting colour variations as it ages; provides an "authentic" look if you are into re-enactment or Steampunk.
CONS: Many people have allergies to these metals. The pieces made from these metals require regular cleaning due to the oxidization process.
Steel can be used to create some stunningly feminine designs, so don't think it is just for men! It doesn't tarnish, so cleaning usually means a quick rinse and you're done.
Tough, scratch resistant, easy to clean, and durability are the qualities that make this the "go to" metal for pieces you want for rough-and-tumble role play, or if you want something a bit more substantial.
Blackened Stainless Steel
These rings are chemically-processed to obtain a deep grey colour, and blackened by using a dry oil. The manufacturer of these rings states that they should NOT be cleaned with liquid, as it will remove the oil and possibly alter the colour or remove the "blackening" completely. The dry oil process means they are not as "clean" as untreated stainless or anodized aluminum.
We have complete faith in the company that supplies the rings we use. They have been at this a long time and they know their products. We have made and worn many pieces using their products and have yet to experience any problems with the blackened steel so far. These are our recommendations:
1. We do not use these blackened steel pieces for daily wear, so cleaning has yet to be an issue. We will gently dry rub or brush the pieces for cleaning, therefore avoiding liquids.
2. We have not experienced any "rub off" resulting from the dry oil, but we recommend not wearing blackened steel pieces over materials like linen, cotton or other absorbent fabrics just in case.
3. We have had no allergic reactions to date with any of the blackened steel pieces. We will post updates if we hear of anyone having problems.
PROS: Extremely strong, wears well, and resists damage.
CONS: Heavier than other metals, blackened steel may fade over time if washed, and the colour could be rubbed off through wear or washing.
Niobium and Titanium
Both of these metals are non-corrosive and hypoallergenic.
Where this metal stands out is in its strength - and that is reflected in the price, since it is difficult to work with. We do not make a lot of pieces in titanium for that reason, but will consider making custom pieces in titanium on request.
One odd trait of titanium is that the colours may appear to fade after wearing your piece. This is caused from a reaction to oils in the skin, and a simple wash will bring them back to a like-new condition.
The colour variations produced when anodizing these rings are beautiful. They are definitely more expensive, but it doesn't take long to see why.
Slightly heavier than steel, they produce some truly amazing effects.
Clean both of these metals using mild soap and hot water, or use an ultrasonic cleaner.