Elsa Peretti, was a famous jewelry designer known for many iconic designs. Working for Tiffany, she came up with a technique which she called Mesh, a finely woven metal with silk-like qualities. In 1974 she introduced her famous Gold Mesh Bib Necklace. This story is told in the video “Elsa Peretti – Fifteen of my Fifty” found on You Tube: She was inspired by a sunset while in Jaipur India, and imagined intricate gold and silver interwoven into a fabric. She worked with an advisor Samuel Beizer, Chairman of the Jewelry Department at FIT to develop this type of metal fabric. He told her it couldn’t be done, since hand weaving these pieces would be too time consuming and costly. He was familiar, however, with mesh evening bags from the past that were machine woven and set out to investigate these. He found a machine that made the bags 89 years prior to that time and used that machine to produce mesh scarves. The scarves were cut into various shapes producing beautiful and iconic mesh jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants in sterling silver and gold.
One of my customers, Vera Miller, was kind enough to send me pictures of a mesh bracelet by Elsa Peretti which she owns and gave me permission to present them here.
Today, chainmaille artists make a type of chainmaille referred to as micromaille or mesh. Many tiny rings are interwoven one at a time by hand to produce these pieces. I am particularly fond of this technique and many styles using different metals can be found among my collection. Here is one using gold filled rings. The chainmaille weave is called European 4 in 1.