The word "maille" or "mayle" comes from the French word for "mesh or net" which, in turn, was derived from the Latin macula, or "mesh in a net". Chainmail (or mail, as it was called before the eighteenth century) was invented around 300 B.C.E. and started out as a material made from small rings woven together to form a flexible mesh which was then formed into a type of armour. From there, it spread around the world to North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Tibet, Korea, and finally Japan, developing different styles along the way.

During the time after the Romans left Britain, this type of mail was sometimes called "ring maille" to distinguish it from other types of mail, such as lamellar (small plates laced together in parallel rows) and splinted (strips of metal attached to a fabric or leather foundation) mail.

The name "chainmail" came from the Victorian Gothic revival when mail was so-called due to its resemblance to chains.

Much more recently, the same techniques have been used for making jewellery in metals including silver, gold, copper, brass and stainless steel, and the spelling "chainmaille" is usually used for this application.

In chainmaille jewellery, the main family styles are European (left), Persian (middle) and Japanese (right), all having their own characteristics. There are hundreds of different weaves and I am always learning new ones.