The Materials

The predominant material of Rapt in Maille jewelry is stainless steel. Due to its strength, stainless is a very difficult metal to work with, and Melissa is one of the only chainmaille artists who creates exclusively with this material. It has taken years and years for her to develop the skill to easily manipulate the rings, and takes pride in the quality of the ring closures and overall craftsmanship. Using only pliers and her bare hands, she has developed quite an impressive collection of protective callouses, namely two large ones in the palms of her hands where the pliers sit.

Stainless steel is known for it's non-corrosive qualities, so it is very resistant to rust or tarnish, and will only do so if exposed to harsh chemicals over time. It is a great material for jewelry for this purpose, because it seldom requires cleaning or maintenance. The color is more of a metallic silver, compared to sterling silver, which is more of a bright, white silver. However, when polished, stainless steel has a very deep, rich luster.

Another major advantage to stainless steel is that it can be worn by many people who have metal allergies, namely nickel allergies. There are different grades of stainless steel, some that are completely nickel-free, and some that do have a trace amount of nickel. However, it is usually so insignificant that people with nickel allergies will not react to it. The stainless steel alloys that are used in Rapt in Maille jewelry are stainless steel 304, 308 and 316.

Melissa's goal is to use stainless steel as much as possible within the design to keep consistency for wear and care of the jewelry. She has spent many years researching and finding stainless steel jewelry components to incorporate in her work, which has been a difficult task since not many jewelry suppliers carry them. Because of this, some components, such as clasps, are specifically designed for Rapt in Maille.