Ah, but it turns out modern 'mail jewelry is so much more! Lookie!
I've been having an education through my friend Sharyn, who's recently fallen into the craft with a passion. She got me this Nouveau kit through Blue Buddha Boutique, and it's a great beginner's project; I finished in just a few hours with almost no prior experience.
The instructions in chainmaille kits are usually sold separately, but right now this one's free to download if you want to check it out.
The Nouveau kit is only for the necklace & earrings, but there were enough pieces left over that I made up this bracelet, too:
I loooove the colors.
(Still have to convert the earrings to clips, though. I was too impatient to wait to get the clips first!)
The flower bracelet is one I made back in college from a kit, back before colors were a thing, and the two next to it I had custom made at a convention a few months ago. Simple, but oh-so-pretty!
I asked Sharyn if I could show off some of her project pics, just to show you guys what's out there. Check it out:
Patterns: "Bees to Butterflies" (a Byzantine variation) and Byzantine
The copper circles (the design is "Japanese Cross") remind me of shiny bubbles. So pretty! And that "Celtic Vision Star" pendant? Awwwwesome!
Here's Sharyn's latest project, which she's been colorfully cursing on FB:
here on Etsy for $6.95. And here's a closeup of one of the blocks:
Oh! And speaking of things I found on Etsy, look how magical when you add glass beads to chainmaille:
This "glass caterpillar" is an original design by Etsy seller Kat Wisniewski: and she sells the full tutorial as an instant download for less than $7! Suh-WEET.
Or, if making one seems too daunting, you can also buy one from Kat for $75. Check out the rest of her shop for more tutorials and ready-to-wear jewelry like these pendants:
If you want to dip a toe in, just search for "chainmaille kit" on Etsy and you'll be inundated with choices. For tools your bare essentials are just two pairs of chain nose pliers, which are smooth inside so they won't scratch the rings. (Anodized/colored rings are extra easy to scratch, so you can further pad the pliers with plasti-dip, or improvise like I did and just wrap each side in electrical tape. :D)
I've already been having fun shopping for kits, so here are a few I'm eying now:
Acute Helm's Weave kit & instructions, $10 - and you can choose from 14 different colors.
In addition to colorful anodized rings, there are also colorful rubber rings, so you can make stretchy bracelets like these:
"Byzantine Stretch Bracelet," kit & instructions $17
"Twist of Fate" stretchy bracelet kit & instructions, $17
And because I'm a sucker for rainbows:
"Shaggy Chainmaille Rainbow Earrings" kit & instructions, $12.50
"One Pinwheel Kit & Instructions," $12.50
Celtic Flower Pendant Kit & Instructions - your choice of colors, $15
Ok, I think I've given you enough shopping fodder, if you're interested! But if you want more, Sharyn recommends both Blue Buddha and Weave Got Maille for kits, supplies, and tutorials (which are sold separately.)
I've barely even scratched the surface of what's out there, of course, so if any of you more experienced 'maillers have links or advice to share, go wild in the comments, yeah?