Mithril Maille Shirt
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Frodo's Mithril Maille Hauberk
From the ROM exhibit, 2002
Note: sleeve is open in the bottom edge.  Only closed for about 1" on the sleeve.  Joined to the body on a straight seam.  Looks like the "nap" changes directions.
Display at the Science Museum in London, 2003

Thank you to Torn for these pictures.  Full gallery here:

Sleeve join, left side.  Note change in maille direction
The vest has a hook and eye closure

What at the distance looks like silver ribbon added on top of the chain maille, is actually a  a loomed strip of mixed silver and transparent seed beads, with the occasional gem.


The gold work on top of the ribbon is interesting because it looks more like fabric paint from the distance.  What it is cord/string wound with gold thread, about 2 mm in diameter, is stitched on top of this in a swirly design.

The "dicky" version with just a front and neck trim attached to a low cut T-shirt.  

Per Jasmine: Everything that is supposed to be made of mithril is made from sterling silver dipped in pure silver.



  • Best info on the construction mystery of the Mithril vest with a direct quote from Richard Taylor,
    •  "in the end, the Mithril was made of lightweight, stainless-steel chain mail used for butchers’ gloves. That mail was finer than the movie’s craftsmen would have been able to produce, Taylor said, and looked appropriate when sprayed with a pearlescent paint."
  •  From ROM exhibit report by Kyra
    • 4 or 5mm links, European 4-in-1 style. The neckband is loomworked silver-lined beads with appliqué or couched work embroidery in gold, and small scattered rhinestones.
  • During actually shooting, the full Mithril vest was not worn for fear of damaging it.  Instead, wardrobe created just used a small piece of the mess with the beadworked neckband.
    • It was referred to as a dickey but we don't know if the reference was just to the mesh or the costume piece.  Guess: the mesh dickey is attached a black knit shirt... like we've seen for Gandalf's partial sweater, etc.

Notes about pre-manufactured mesh and ring:

  • Whiting & Davis
    • .
    • Besides the gorgeous flat mesh they make Stainless Steel Rings.
      • "Ring Mesh: Whiting & Davis makes three types of ring mesh. No. 5, in .021” stainless steel wire and No. 9, in .031” stainless steel wire. Both these meshes have welded rings which give it great strength, yet it has the ability to collapse in both directions, allowing optimum flexibility. The third and largest ring mesh is No. 13, in .039” aluminum wire. While not as durable, it is extremely lightweight, and when used in designs where stress is limited, is very dramatic and has the look of strength."
    • They don't mention prices on their website. It think it all depends on how much you need and whether you are a designer who will be back.

      == Lisa

Estimate on what it would take to hand make it:

  • One of our mad mailler mathematicians at the chainmaille board has calculated (and i quote) this:
    • "22g 3/32 works out to be about 17,500 rings per square foot, roughly.
    • Figure 12 square feet of material for the shirt, roughly.
    • So that's about 210,000 rings. Not a problem.
    • I think I'm somewhere in the 250 rings per hour range with this ring size, once I get used to it. So about 840 hours of work.
    • Since I can easily put in 40 hours of work per week, it'd only take me about 21 weeks to build a shirt this size, excluding time for coiling and ring clipping if I outsource the rings.
    • Not too bad..."
      (we don't have the original name of the mailer who did the calculations, but we appreciate his numbers.  Astounding.
      • thanks to JB, Xander and Lisa for extra info
  • Another calculation comes from Steamboat
    • It was made by dwarves, to a dwarf's size by dwarven hands to dwarven proportions. Therefore, storyline-wise, it's tiny.
    • I would go with the estimation given on ACS by the mysterious mailler; it seems s/he thinks they're 22 ga., but a 20ga. should suffice. Anything larger than that might be unwieldy when it comes to assembly. It also seems they estimate the ID at 3/32, but again, anything from 1/16 to 1/8 should cut the mustard for it.

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This page was last updated 11/21/09