Medieval Chain Mail Necklace
This necklace features three (3) rings of chain mail from the 15th Century (CE) Medieval Chain Mail Tunic used to craft the Second Edition of the Mini Museum. This period is considered the sunset of chain mail in Europe, as advanced plate armor completely supplanted mail.
As pictured, the rings are interspersed with sterling silver rings. The cable-style chain measures 18-inches (~45cm) and is also made of sterling silver. The complete necklace comes in a decorative box and includes a small information card about the specimen.
About Medieval Chain Mail
"When we made the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, most of us wore imitation chain-mail made out of knitted wool, which was uncomfortable enough, but Graham Chapman, as King Arthur, wore a genuine metal chain mail coif and found the weight of it unbearable for more than short periods." ~ Terry Jones
Valued for flexibility in combat, chain mail was the primary defensive armor in Europe for more than one thousand years.
Above: Folio 24-v from the Morgan/Maciejowski Bible (c. 1250 CE)
To create a chain mail garment, thousands rings would be punched out whole or riveted from strands of wire. A blacksmith would weave the rings into sheets using a pattern of interlocking rings. Patterns varied by region, dictated by armaments and fighting styles. Given the labor intensive process of weaving, chain mail garments were very costly to purchase but relatively simple to repair.
Above: Folds of chain mail from the 15th century.
While the design of chain mail provided good protection from edged blades, it did little to ease the force of the blow. For this reason, knights would also wear quilted jackets beneath and over the mail.
Above: Macro image of a chain mail ring.
The earliest chain mail dates to the Etruscans, but the Celts are usually credited with creating the industry of chain mail in the 5th century with their 4-in-1 pattern.
Chain mail garments were heavy. A coif, such as the hood pictured here, could weigh as as much as 11kg (25lbs) and mailshirts in excess of 27kg (60lbs).
In European armor there are two main types of mailshirts: the hauberk and the haburgeon (the later being a sleeveless garment). Quilted jackets worn beneath the mail is referred to as a gambeson.