The history of chainmaille
First part to clear up is the word itself: chainmaille. This is our preferred spelling because the word is derived from the french word "maille" (to hammer, modern French: stitch) and because it's better than being confused with those horrible letters you used to receive in the mail.
The earliest examples of maille are from the Etruscans in the early 4th century (although it is usually credited to the Celts). Chainmaille eventually spread through North Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Tibet, South East Asia, and Japan where it was used frequently during the Iron and Middle Ages. It was highly effective against contemporary weapons. Although the quality of the pieces varied, the linked armor could stop most weapons from piercing. Unfortunately, chainmaille did little against bludgeoning weapons suck as morning stars and the like. These weapons still broke bones, and while medical professionals at the time tried to help, they don't call them the Dark Ages for nothing. Many injured people died from infections from the blunt force trauma rather than the initial strikes themselves. Europeans favored the 4-in-1 weave found in many of our products, but the Japanese used a variety of weaves to defend their troops. The Japanese were the only people to use butted rings with any regularity. Most Europeans preferred riveted and welded rings. These were least likely to break apart during battle.
Maille was extremely sought after, as it could mean the difference between life and death. It was sometimes looted from the corpses of dead soldiers and resold or used by the looter. Even lowly foot soldiers could have maille, and it usually helped save their lives.
Eventually, plate became the favored armor because of its superiority against a vast array of weaponry. But we don't like to think of a world without chainmaille being awesome...
Not your Ancestor's chainmaille
Traditionally, chainmaille has been used for defense. At Interesting Intricacies, we believe that there's much more to chainmaille. Sure, it can help you in the zombie apocalypse, but fashion and fun should be key components to everything you wear and we support that as best we can. So whether you're wearing a snazzy bracelet or holding your dice, know that it has a deep history and has evolved with the times.