Arte Es Vida

The Proper Care and Feeding Of Jump Rings by arteesvida
December 16, 2006, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Wire Work

No matter what kind of jewelry you make, chances are you are going to be using jump rings on a very regular basis. They are the easiest way to attach charms, dangle earrings, and link wire components in bracelets and necklaces. In my studio, they are indispensable…I start to worry when I have less than 50 in my working stock! This won’t be new information to most of you, but I get many emails requesting more information about some of the supplies listed in my projects. And while split rings are easy to use, they are also easy to mess up!

Jump rings are circles of metal (available in many different diameters) made to attach jewelry components together. You open the split area with a pair of pliers, slide your components on, then close them back up….and, ta-da, your pieces are attached. No soldering and very little assembly required. They are inexpensive enough to purchase pre-made, but they are also easily made by hand with a mandrel. I usually buy my silver and gold jump rings but make my copper ones so they match whatever copper wire work I am already doing.

There is only one realy trick to keeping your jump rings in good shape while working with them. The metal is going to be softer (more pliable) then most of the metal components you work with, making it easier for you to open and close them. Because they are so much softer they are very easy to warp out of shape. For this reason, when you are using them in a project that will receive a lot of weight or “pull” (such as a attaching a bracelet to a clasp, or making a linked bracelet) it is a really good idea to use two split rings instead of one. The two links will distribute the weight evenly, and even if one should come off, the second one will keep you from losing the whole piece. For most projects, such as dangling earrings, this will rarely be necessary.

The second concern with the softness of the metal is irreversibly bending them out of shape when you open and close them.

Jumprings Open

When you open a jump ring, you should always, always, always widen the opening side to side (like the figure on the right) instead of spreading them open lengthwise (like the figure on the left). This may seem like a little more work, and a small point to worry about, but when you go to close your jump rings back you will see why…

Jumprings Closed

A jump ring that is spread open lengthwise (left) will be permanently warped, won’t look as good, and most importantly, won’t close properly which means you could lose anything that is hanging off of it. A jump ring that has been opened side to side, will “snap” back in to place easily (right) and look just as good as when it first came out of the package…plus it will be much more secure.

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