Jump rings are often crucial jewelry components in our jewelry designs. They are the small plain metal rings that have a tiny gap so you can twist them open and closed to connect one link or piece to another. They have all kinds of uses such as securing clasps and connecting charms.
However, they can have problems such as becoming disconnected, resulting in jewelry falling off. A jump ring literally makes or breaks a jewelry piece. Two elements that are necessary for ensuring your jump rings stay closed are quality and technique. These are equally important to jump ring security.
What Makes a Quality Jump Ring?
If you don’t start with quality jump rings, then no matter how good your jewelry techniques are you are already fighting a losing battle to make sure your rings stay closed. A quality jump ring includes a few key characteristics:
- Precision cutting: Jump rings need to be cut very precisely so that both sides of the ring can properly meet with little to no gap between them. Sometimes when you cut your own rings, for example by using a wire cutter, one side may be flat and the other might be pointed a little. This means you need to use a jeweler’s file to file the other side flat.
- Work-hardened wire: The wire used to make the jump rings should be properly work-hardened. This is especially important with thinner gauge wires. Though you can work-harden wire yourself by hammering on a metal bench block, you can also buy half-hard wire to make your jump rings.
How to Properly Open Jump Rings
First, you do not want to open them at the sides, like you were in jail and trying to pry apart the bars. That is a big no-no when working with jump rings. To correctly open a jump ring:
- Use two flat-nosed (or chain-nosed or bent-nosed or any combination) pliers, one in each hand.
- Grasp either side of the ring with the pliers so the split part is in the center.
- Simultaneously move one hand away from you while you move the other hand toward you.
- Voila! Your ring is open.
Closing Jump Rings
Following the same instructions for opening the rings, you’ll also have pliers in both hands as you move one hand toward and the other hand away from you. However, you’ll be closing versus opening the ring and you will actually hear the ring make a small snap sound as the two sides meet together. When you hear the snap, you’ve closed the ring.
Making Jump Rings
It’s really not hard to make jump rings, but the key is making sure they are well-cut and work-hardened.
Buying Jump Rings
You can buy jump rings to have around even though you can make them yourself. Depending on what you are making, you can purchase pre-soldered jump rings from many vendors. When making a necklace or bracelet. you can attach them to a bead tip or secure them with a crimp bead.
Vendor Urban Maille sells excellent quality rings, and they have some fabulous tutorials on their site, complete with illustrations. If you struggle with jump ring techniques, definitely take a look at their how-to section.