What is a jump ring? By definition, a jump ring is a metal ring where the ends meet but are not soldered or welded together, so the ring can be opened and closed. Jump rings are used to attach two components together when making jewelry; for example – connecting a clasp to a chain, or connecting a charm to a link. They are also the basis for making chain maille!
As you might guess, learning to open and close a jump ring is an important basic jewelry making skill to learn, and there is definitely a right way and a wrong way. In this quick video I’ll show you the right way to open and close a jump ring , so you can keep your connections looking neat and professional. No more hinky links!
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
To follow along with this video, you will need:
• 2 pairs of jewelry pliers (any 2 of: chain nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers, flat nose pliers)
• several jump rings for practice
If you are unable to view the embedded video, you can click here to watch >> The Right Way to Open a Jump Ring << on YouTube.
Jump Ring Sizes and Gauges:
Jump Rings are made from a variety of materials and come in several different sizes, gauges, and even different shapes. Since jump rings are made of wire, the gauge of the wire used will also be the gauge of the jump ring. For example, a jump ring made using 20 gauge wire will be a 20 gauge jump ring. See All About Jewelry Wire: Wire Gauge Sizes for more information.
The size of the jump ring is usually described in millimeters, and should refer to the inner diameter. Jump rings are made by wrapping wire around a mandrel, and the size of the mandrel used to make the jump rings will therefore be the size of the finished rings. Many vendors will include the inner diameter (ID), the outer diameter (OD), as well as the gauge to clearly describe the size of their jump rings. If there is only one measurement presented, it should be refer to the inner diameter, but different vendors may indicate this differently, so it’s always best to ask if you are uncertain.
The inner diameter is determined by the size of the mandrel used to make the jump ring, and the outer diameter is a combination of the inner diameter and the thickness (gauge) of the wire used to make the ring:
Some patterns may call for jump rings based on their inner diameter and others may call for jump rings based on their outer diameter. As long as you understand the relationship between a ring’s gauge and size, you should be able to avoid confusion.
Colorful Jump Rings
Jump rings come in a variety of wonderful colors! Mixing colors can create fun styles of jewelry. Doesn’t this heap of gorgeous colors just say, ‘come and play!’?
Jump Ring Shapes
Jump Rings can be round, square, oval, and even triangular! Regardless of the shape, the method for opening and closing a jump ring remains the same – always open them from front to back and NEVER side to side.
Opening a jump ring from side to side is a big no-no (top left). It weakens the ring and makes it harder to close up nicely.
When you close your ring, the ends should not be overlapping (top right) as this makes the ring vulnerable to catching on things and pulling apart.
Always open a jump ring from front to back (bottom left) so that you can close it easily so the ends will meet (bottom right). This is a jump ring’s correct and strongest form.