Play around with jump rings! I had a fun day playing in the studio with a few extra jump rings I had. Just laying them out on the bench and moving them around brought up a few ideas. These are quick assembly and soldering pieces that are perfect for beginners.
Jump rings are a staple in every jewelry studio and consistently month after month they make our bestseller list here at Halstead. Primarily used to attach a clasp to a chain or a drop to an earwire, jump rings are the go-to finding when cold connecting two items together. I've shown employees how to solder a jump ring onto a finished chain when the links were too small to thread through and I've blogged about that, as well. I've beaded with jump rings and soldered with them too; yet, I've always stuck to the basic techniques that I'm familiar with.
However, don't limit yourself to certain techniques when it comes to jump rings. Sometimes just playing in a jewelry studio can open your eyes to new uses and ideas. Here are a few different ways to create new jewelry pieces using these fun little findings.
1. Make Simple Chainmaille
|I have never attempted a chain maille piece before, so I thought I'd give it a shot as part of a simple earring design. These are jump rings inter-connected using a simple 2-to-1 pattern. The rings used are 6x4mm, 18ga oval jump rings, with phases of the moon festoon link and a 13x20mm, 20ga long hook wire. I was worried that the earrings would become too heavy with the chain maille and the links, but fortunately, I was wrong and they weigh .12 oz each.|
2. Solder Jump Rings Into Circle Patterns
|This jump ring design was trickier because I needed a specific length for the ring band in order for it to fit specific size. I laid the rings out, measured the length, added and removed as needed until the length was spot on. To complete the piece I used 4, 6 & 8mm rings with a medium solder on the joins. I held my breathe when I shaped it around a mandrel using a rawhide hammer, but it held together perfectly. After tumbling it for a couple of hours in steel shot, it came out stronger than I hoped for. I love the way this ring turned out. It looks like bubbles or planets.|
3. Concentric Circles
|This piece wasn't designed ahead of time. I literally took random rings and just laid them in different positions until I chose the design. Then it just grew from there. I soldered the joints, ran it through the rolling mill to flatten it, decided to hammer some of the rings and left the other ones as is. I then used nylon pliers to lift up the inner jump rings on the outer groups. If I were finishing it, I would hang a drop from the center to complete the piece. The jump rings I used were: 4, 6, 9, 12 & 16mm. I'm curious to explore the possibilities of this concept as a chandelier earring finding or fringe necklace pendant.|
4. Add Rings to Alter Blanks or Charms
|This was a piece I made a while ago. I was soldering our new ornaments at the time and did a practice run to try them out. I soldered the two rings on either side because I didn't want to drill a hole through the blank, which created a simple link out of this piece. Solder additional rings on each side of the piece then attach footage chain (or make a chain out of jump rings!) and add a clasp to create a nice bracelet or necklace out of it. Adding connection points is an easy way to repurpose blanks or charms as links or chandeliers.|
5. Jump Rings as a Basket Setting Short-cut
|To create this ring, the custom basket setting in the center was made from two 8mm jump rings. After the basket setting was soldered together, one 6-prong setting head was soldered onto either side of it. Lastly, the group of settings was soldered onto a finger ring band, then the band was textured and completed with a spin in the tumbler before the stones were set. Jump rings are a big time saver when making custom prong settings.|
These are just a few random pieces that you can create. Play around, it's always fun to try new things whether they are successful or not. Get some inspiration from Eva Sherman on fun ways to create with soldered jump rings.
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