Monday, January 28, 2013


Classic Chain Mail Jewelry With A Twist by Sue Ripsch

Published by Kalmbach Books

Another successful, beautifully illustrated book by Kalmbach! It is well worth the cost!

This was my first adventure with chain mail but definitely not my last. I have been wanting to give it a try for a long time. It is heaps of fun! No wonder it is so popular right now. However, it is NOT as easy as it looks. Good vision (a magnifying glass would be helpful), steady hands, and great dexterity are a must! But wow is it fun!

The Author - Sue Ripsch

Sue has been involved in the jewelry-making industry for several years. Her focus is on chain mail designs, primarily with precious metals. Her husband, Steve, makes her jump rings. Her daughter is now involved in the business with her. Sue & Steve travel together, sharing their knowledge and love of chain mail jewelry while teaching across the country.


I found the book to be very informative, well written, and easy to use. It has very beautiful illustrations, photographs and easy step-by-step directions.  Although it is written with the use of precious metals in mind; sterling silver and gold filled; I was able to work with metal jump rings with no problem because the wire gauge is given in the materials list.

It begins with The Basics; information about jump rings, how to make them, and how to polish them. Then comes information about Aspect Ratio to help one learn how to calculate the wire diameter size needed to make the appropriate size jump rings for a specific weave. This is not for faint at heart but it really isn't that hard either. It just seems intimidating! I played around with the Aspect Ratio & it truly does work. I used jump rings that were too small & the weave came out too tight. Then I reconfigured the Aspect Ratio, changed the size of jump rings to fit the wire diameter better and the weave turned out beautiful!

There are 28 projects divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced weaves. I like the way many of the beginner weaves are also used in the intermediate weaves, so one is able to improve and build skills. In each section of projects, a variety of weaves are used; such as Byzantine, Celtic, Full-Persian, and Dragonscale.

I also like the way Sue gives tidbits, advice, or recommendations on the title page of each project. For example, on page 18, the Cleopatra Bracelet can be made "with metal balls or - my favorite- crystal rondelles. "This increases the possibility of the imagination and creativity. For the more advanced weaver, on page 89, the Half-Persian Bracelet "can be made in two different scales that result in a very nice pair of his-and-her bracelets."

Another highlight is the use of multi-color jump rings. The possibility for variety now becomes endless. I made two Criss-Cross Bracelets on page 23 with silver and gold jump rings. I added wired agate beads between the criss-cross components. I also made a pair of earrings to match each set.

 Still have to put the ear wires on these earrings.

This was a fun book to work out of and I highly recommend it to everyone! It is definitely worth the cost!

I'm offering these earrings and the matching bracelet as a giveaway to one fortunate commenter on my blog. The more you share and let me know, the more chances to win. The winner will be picked randomly on Sunday, February 10th. Happy reading and sharing! Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!


  1. Looks like a great book and loads of fun. Nice job on the bracelet and earrings.

  2. Just tweeted about your review and giveaway.


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