MX Chains

Jewelry Collection

Fall 2020

Project Description

Maxx was inspired to design this jewelry while deepening their understanding of how simple machines combine to form complex systems as a bike mechanic. The unique fluid design of the bicycle chain easily fits the sinuous human form. As a mechanic Maxx found themselves collecting used bike chains, ball bearings, cassette cogs, and other fascinating mechanisms long before launching this project. The industrial and mechanical aesthetic became material for autobiographical decoration. Maxx would hang these objects on their wall or repurpose them as keychains and personal adornments before they dove into the world of jewelry making. All pieces in this collection are created from bicycle parts collected by the designer at their workplace. Themes of consumerism, sustainability, industrialism, Blackness, queerness, and transness, all inform this jewelry.

Maxx creatively directed and edited a photo series capturing the themes of MX Chains which can be found on their instagram (@maxxisdigital). The shoot was inspired by Maxx's imagining of a Black trans bike courier subculture. They consider bike couriers/messengers to be the most “hardcore” group within the cycling world, since couriers consistently bike across large cities through all conditions. Bike couriers serve the consumerist world through delivering packages and communications efficiently.

Consumerism pushes us to quickly replace things once they no longer serve our needs. The subculture that Maxx envisions has an awareness of this consumerism and embodies sustainable fashion to survive. The socio-economic class of most couriers doesn’t allow for the quick-to-replace attitude of the common consumer. They make do with what they have and incorporate MX Chains’ tenet of reusability in their fashion.

Bike chains uphold a simultaneous sense of chronology and cyclicality. Chains have a life cycle; after approximately 2,000 miles of cycling, chains should be replaced for ideal shifting. The chain stretches a full millimeter through usage over time, similarly, the teeth of cassettes wear down and are replaced to improve shifting. Although rendered mechanically unusable, they are still beautiful. These parts would have been recycled or thrown away if not repurposed, which brings a new stage to the life cycle.

Dangle Choker

The Dangle Choker features 10 links of a bike chain with side plates dangling around the front neck circumference. Some of the plates have the rivets or "pins" attached. This design is offered in grey steel.

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Gold Choker

The Gold Choker is the most simple in design, with 10 links of a gold single-speed gold chain and silver clasps. This design is offered in gold-anodized nickel-plated steel.

11t-13t Choker

The 11t-13t Choker features 10 links of a bike chain with a central cassette pendant. This piece is named after the tooth count of cassette cogs used which vary slightly; I used 11, 12, or 13 tooth cogs which is represented as 11t, 12t, or 13t in mechanics. This design is offered in raw steel (dark gray) and nickel plated steel (silver). All bike chain chokers are sealed with a protective coating for metal.

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Stacked Choker

The Stacked Choker features two layers of single-speed bike chain that overlap for a portion of the neck circumference. Single-speed chain is distinct from other types of chain because of its thickness, the stacking and use of thicker chain is meant to draw attention to the piece.


2Link Earrings

As the name suggests, the 2 Link Earrings feature 2 chain links interconnected through a sterling silver hoop. The design of these earrings integrates the dynamic nature of the bike chain since the wearer is able to augment the chain’s shape by pinching the links at their axis.

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Dangle Earrings

Similar to the Dangle Choker, the Dangle Earrings feature bike chain side plates with two riveted side plates at the bottom. The variation in bike chain parts creates a dynamic dangling silhouette.