Chain Maille ... No Longer Just For Knights

Which Metal Should I Use?

 Apr 1, 2013    Knowledge Base

There are a lot of different reasons why people choose the metals they do...price point, allergies, colours. And the combinations are endless.

Just to help you decide which metal might be best for you project we have a small run down all the metals we use/sell at Aussie Maille.

  • Bright Aluminium
  • Anodized Aluminium
  • Anodized Niobium
  • Bronze
  • Copper
  • Stainless Steel
  • Sterling Silver

 

 

Bright Aluminium (BA)

Colour: Silver, very bright and shiny. (Be carful not to use Aluminium as this is a duller metal and has a large amount of black rub off.)

Usability: BA is easy to use and manipulate making it a great metal for beginners. Tied in with it's great price this is a popular metal.

Durability: Not as durable as other metals such as Jewellery Brass, Bronze or Stainless Steel) and if you over manipulate a ring you may snap your ring in half. A very light metal.

Cleaning: Very easy to clean. Just wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry. Over time you might see a loss in the shine of the metal.



 
 
Anodized Aluminium (AA)

Colour: Bright Colours...currently available in both glossy and matt finishes.

Usability: AA is a great metal for beginners or those looking for a cost effective way to add some colour and fun to their projects.

Durability: Like BA, Anodized Aluminum is not as durable as other metals such as Jewellery Brass, Bronze or Stainless Steel) and if you over manipulate a ring, especially in the thinner gauges, you may see a lightening in the colour oposite the opening. The colours can be scratched easily so care when weaving and in wearing is needed.

Cleaning: Again very easy to clean. Just wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry.



 
 

Anodized Niobium (AN)

Colour: Bright Beautiful Colours.

Usability: Niobium is a great metal to work with and makes stunning pieces but it is a little more expensive.

Durability: A great metal for mailling. Strong rings that won't easily pull apart but colours can be scratched, especially while weaving so care must be taken.

Cleaning: Generally Anodized Niobium doesn't require cleaning, but if you see your colours getting a little dull, just wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry.




 
 

Bronze

Colour: Similar in colour to Copper, but not as red...has a more golden hue.

Usability: Needs a little bit of strength to manipulate, generally not recommended for beginners.

Durability: A great metal for mailling. Strong rings that won't easily pull apart, has a nice weight behind it.

Cleaning: Due to the copper content of this wire it will patina reasonably fast (does depend on such things as your skin chemistry). Generally cleans up well with products that clean brass or copper.




 
 

Copper

Colour: Shades of red/pink when cleaned darkening all the way to brown when tarnished.

Usability: Not as durable as other metals such as Jewellery Brass, Bronze or Stainless Steel), even at Hard Temper it is similar to other metals at Half Hard. A nice metal though for beginners as it doesn't need as much strength to move it.

Durability: A great metal for mailling but care should be taken when using finer gauges, it, has a nice weight behind it.

Cleaning: Tarnishes very fast. Clean up is fairly easy by using a vinegar/water/salt dip for a few seconds, rinse and let dry.




 
 

Enamelled Copper (EC)

Colour: Offers the largest and generally more consistent range of colours

Usability: Not as durable as other metals such as Jewellery Brass, Bronze or Stainless Steel), as it has an annealed copper core. Fine for mailling at the thicker gauges but very weak if the wire is too thin. Care should be taken with jewellery made with EC rings.

Durability: A great metal for mailling but care should be taken when using finer gauges, it, has a nice weight behind it. Colours last for a long time if looked after.

Cleaning: There shouldn't be a real need to clean these rings, but if you find you need it generally a quick bath in warm soapy water, rinse and dry.




 
 

Jewellery Brass (JB)

Colour: Gorgeous bright gold colour. (Also known as red brass, merlin's gold, nu gold, red bronze, jewellery bronze)

Usability: A great material to work with...can be a little difficult to move in the 1.6mm and above range.

Durability: A great metal for mailling, it has a nice weight behind it.

Cleaning: Due to the copper content of this wire it will patina reasonably fast (does depend on such things as your skin chemistry). Clean with with vinegar/water/salt mixture or any commercial jewellery cleaner that can clean brass.




 
 

Stainless Steel

Colour: A darker Silver colour, shiny.

Usability: A great material to work with...can be a little difficult to move in the 1.6mm and above range.

Durability: A great metal for mailling, it has a nice weight behind it.

Cleaning: One of the easiest metals to look after. Won't tarnish and if it gets a bit grubby simply wash in warm soapy water (or wear it in the shower!).




 
 

Sterling Silver

Colour: A bright gorgeous shiny colour when clean tarnishing to a darker/duller colour.

Usability: A great material to work with. Easy to use, looks fantastic.

Durability: A great metal for mailling, it has a nice weight behind it.

Cleaning: Due to the copper content Sterling Silver will tarnish. To clean there are several methods, use a cleaning cloth for silver, toothpaste (no abrasives) rubbed on with a gentle application.....there are many but once cleaned keep it as air tight as possible to keep the shine.