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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Open, Closed, or Split - Choosing the Best Jump Ring for Your Project

Jump rings are very important jewelry findings.  They provide a means to connecting pieces that wouldn't ordinarily be able to connect. They can vary in sizes, gauges and styles. Your design will dictate which jump ring to use for each project. It can be confusing when trying to pick the right one especially when you are looking at Open, Closed, and Split jump rings. Hopefully, this post will help you choose the right one for your project.

Open Rings 

Open Sesame:  An open jump ring is one that has a cut in it that allows you open and close it as to connect pieces together.  Open jump rings are used in Chainmaille designs and can be grouped in clusters.

To open a jump ring, use two sets of pliers (chain or flat nose).  If you only have one set, you can hold the other side with your fingers or use a jump ring opener.  When opening a jump ring, open with a twist.  It's like a push/pull action.  Push in one direction and pull in the other.  Never open a jump ring by pulling the sides apart.  It will warp the ring.  To close it back, just twist.  You should hear a slight grading of metal on metal when you close the jump ring correctly.
Jump Ring Opener available at Prima Bead

To use the Jump Ring Opener, slide it onto a finger on your non-dominant hand. Insert the jump ring into the closest fitting slot on the jump ring opener.  Using your chain nose pliers or fingers, gently open one side in a downward direction. The tool will help you stabilize the jump rings while you work on them.

See the video below for more technique.

Closed Rings

Closed Up Shop:  Closed jump rings have been soldered shut and have no way of opening them.  These are perfect for adding dimension to dangle earrings.  Use them as a connector for your eye pins and head pins to connect to.  I use them as the an "eye" for clasps.  When I have finished my beading, I slide the wire through the ring and crimp.  It provides a more secure connection for the clasps.  These can come in various styles and shapes and are often referred to as connector links.

 Split Rings

Split Personality: A split ring resembles a miniature key ring.  Split rings provide a stronger connection than open jump rings and offer an opening that closed jump rings cannot.  You can also use these for more secure connections of charms on a charm bracelet.  I find it has more stability and security than regular jump rings when attaching beading wire to a clasp.

There are a few ways to open them.  The first way is to insert a fingernail to open a split ring and slide a head or eye pin shaft to help you hold the spring ring open a you thread on your clasp, bail, or connector.  Once started, pull the pin out of the way, then finish twisting the split ring on.  The second way to open them is using a set of special pliers for split rings or a set of split ring tweezers.

Pliers available from Prima Bead
Tweezers available from Beadaholique
To use a pair of split ring pliers or tweezers, place the split ring on the flat side. As you close the pliers or tweezers, press the pointed side between the rings of the split ring. Once you have a grip on the split ring, you can slide it around until the end is securely open with room to add your charm, clasp, or whatever else you may be attaching.  Slide the object that you are attaching to the split ring onto the open end. Hold the object in your fingers and use flat nose pliers to work the split ring around to the other side, where the object will dangle freely.

Check out the video below. For more information.

My hope is that this information will help you choose the right jump ring for the right project.  Happy beading!

Unless otherwise credited, all photos and videos are from Prima Bead and Cousin Corporation.

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