What is a jewelry finding?
In jewelry terms, a "finding" is a component of jewelry less than a finished piece.
What is a jump ring?
Jump rings are basic components -- jewelry findings -- of jewelry design and construction, whether used to attach a charm to a necklace or bracelet or used to construct complex chain maille (chain mail) necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Jump rings are loops formed of wire. Two of the most common jump rings are either round, open jump rings or round closed (soldered) jump rings.
Other jump rings shapes include oval, teardrop and diamond. The rings may also be made with triangular wire, square wire or twisted wire (which has to have at least one flat side for the twist to be visible).
Large and Fancy jump rings are more likely to be used as earring drops and other decorative components.
Quality open jump rings
Inexpensive pieces are often "chisel-cut", meaning that both ends of the wire have a point. They are also often made of thin wire that lacks strength for long lasting jewelry. Quality open jump rings are saw cut at 90 degrees to the "plane" of the rings so the ends will "fit" together well without showing a big gap.
How are jump rings used?
Closed Rings as a target for Lobster Claw Clasps
Closed rings make an ideal target for lobster claw clasps to lock around on beaded necklaces, bracelets and anklets.
Connect Charms and Findings with Open Jump Rings
Plain round and oval open rings are often used to connect charms to chains and bracelets. The rings should be opened and closed by moving the ends away from or toward each other along the ring's "axis" -- not in the ring's "plane." Put the open ring through the two pieces that need to be connected. Then move the ends of the jump ring back toward each other, wiggling the ends back and forth until the cut is hard to see and too small for the pieces to come out of the loop.
Open oval rings are many times better suited for hanging charms than open round rings because the cut is along the long side of the jump ring. Gravity tends to pull charms into the closed small part, so they cannot even accidentally escape the ring if the ring works open at the cut.
For true security with charms, an open jump ring should be soldered shut. However, the soldering requires skills and tools that many do not want to price into their jewelry.
Open Jump Ring Bracelets
A "triangle seed bead bracelet" can be made with some 5/o triangle seed beads and 6/o round seed beads placed onto 1mm diameter (18 gauge) jump rings. These rings with beads on them can be connected in a variety of patterns for bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
Chain Mail (Chain Maille)
Open and closed rings can be combined into strands and sheets. This type of jewelry is called chain mail (or chain maille). Chain mail jewelry applies the idea of chain mail armor to make earring components, necklaces and bracelets. Some of these patterns go by names like "Byzantine chain", "Tryzantine chain", "Box chain", "European 4-in-1", "Foxtail", "Queen's Link" and other romantic names.
Jump rings, simple or fancy, are basic jewelry findings that every designer needs to understand, whether making simple connections, making flashy, open earrings or creating complicated chain maille pieces.
Paul Brandon, who knows jump rings and writes for OhioBeads.com, which sells jewelry chain and jewelry findings (in sterling silver, gold-filled, antique brass, antique copper, gunmetal, imitation rhodium, silver-plate and gold-plate) to the U.S. market.
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