Jump rings are essential components in every beader’s supplies. They are used to:
- Connect components like clasps or earring hooks to jewelry
- Suspend pendants from necklaces
- Extend the length of bracelets or necklaces in lieu of chain
- And even to create jewelry called Chain Maille
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Everything You Need To Know About Jump Rings
What Do They Look Like?
The most common shapes are circular and oval, but you can also find hearts and even triangles. Oval jump rings are great for hanging pendants or earrings especially if you are not confident in your ability to close them properly. This is because the split is on the side of the oval so it is less likely that the cord can slip through the opening.
Most styles tend to have a split so you can open them and attach components but some people find this difficult. In that case, you can purchase closed jump rings which do not have an opening. Of course, these will only be useful for specific applications.
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Another alternative is to buy jump rings where the ends snap closed. These can be more expensive than the regular versions but it may be worth it to you knowing that your work will be secure. A popular brand of these are Snapeez.
Gauge and Size
Jump rings are usually made of different types of wire e.g. silver-plated, gold-plated, sterling silver, copper etc. You can find a finish to compliment any jewelry colour. You must consider the gauge of the wire used to make your jump rings, as well as, the diameter.
The gauge of the jump rings is also important because this determines the strength. If the jump ring is weak, it might break causing you to lose the piece of jewelry and no-one wants that. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker and stronger the metal.
When shopping, you may notice the terms “inner diameter” and “outer diameter”. These simply refer to the measurement across the inside of the ring and the outside respectively. Ensure the diameter is large enough to accommodate the components you want to attach. For example, it will be difficult to attach a pendant to a necklace using a jump ring with a small diameter.
How To Open And Close Jump Rings
After you have selected the right size, shape and type of metal, you will still ruin your work if you open and close the jump rings incorrectly.
You will need two pairs of pliers—I use a Flat nose and a Chain nose—or you can use a jump ring tool and one pair of pliers. A jump ring tool is a ring that has slots of varying widths to fit any size jump ring. Insert the jump ring into the appropriate size slot and twist the other half with a pair of pliers.
I have created both a video and a written tutorial to demonstrate how to open and close jump rings the right way.
Here is the video:
Here is the written tutorial:
Using a Flat nose pliers, grasp the jump ring on one side with the split facing upwards. Grip the other side of the split with a Chain nose pliers.
Twist the two sides in opposite directions forward and backward to open the jump ring.
To close the jump ring, twist the two sides until the meet. You may have to do this several times applying gentle pressure until you feel the ends rub against one another. Sometimes, you hear a clicking noise when this happens.
What Not To Do
Never pry your jump rings apart to open them. Doing this will deform them and you will not be able to return them to their original shape.
Now you know how to select the right jump rings for your needs and the correct way to open and close them so your beadwork will always be secure.