In Europe, the 1-to-4 pattern was almost completely dominant, with 1-to-6 being seen very rarely. In East Asia (primarily Japan), chainmail was also common, but here several more patterns were utilized and an entire nomenclature developed around them. In the Middle East, yet other patterns were developed and often combined with metal plates linked in with the rings.
Historically, the rings composing a chainmail armour would be riveted or welded shut, to reduce the chance of the rings splitting open when subjected to a thrusting attack or a hit by an arrow.
In modern re-enactment and Live-action roleplaying games, split sprung steel washers are sometimes used. Usually a two pairs of pliers are used to bend the washers open and closed whilst "knitting" the chainmail. The resulting mail is usually heavier than traditional wire-wound mail.
Members of the New Varangian Guard make their maille from spring steel rings. By using spring steel, you can use a finer gauge of wire and still retain strength. However, for truly tough and light maille, you cannot go past riveted maille.
In the SCA, you will find people whose skill at making historically accurate mail varies right across the spectrum; from amateur to true artisan.