Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Is a Jump Ring and How Is It Made?

People want to know why

jump rings are opened and then closed

I enjoy creating with jump rings and knowing that these same small objects, and many of the weave patterns they form, were invented centuries ago.  Usually when I describe objects made from jump rings there is mention of a number of rings "opened" and "closed."

People want to know why jump rings are opened and then closed. In order to understand why, there is a need to know just how these rings are made. 

Jump rings are created from wire. The wire is fed onto a mandrel and wound around it to form a coil. Think of a tightly wound spring. To convert the coil into rings, it is cut on one side for the full length. The resulting rings are not closed circles because the ends do not exactly meet. When the ends of a ring are bent to a closed position, there is a small gap where the saw cut it. The size and smoothness of the cut indicates whether the rings are excellent or poor quality. 

To create something with jump rings it is often necessary to bend the ends further apart to hook them together in a particular way and then to close the rings so they stay as set. 

Although these simple components seem easy to use, their measurements are critical to being able to follow a particular pattern. The wire gauge, or thickness, is one important measurement for the rings. Other measurements are the internal and external diameter. Every jump ring pattern works within certain of these size parameters and will not work if they are not correct.

Rings come in many types of metal including gold, silver, titanium, niobium, steel, aluminum, as well as rubber. They may also be shapes other than round. Some even use square wire!

If you see an item created in a chainmaille pattern, now you know a bit about how the rings were created and why they needed to be opened and closed. 

Some of my chainmaille creations can be found in my Etsy shop