Jump rings are essential components of jewelry making, especially open jump rings. It connects different parts of jewelry. When purchasing jump rings, it’s important to pick the right size and styles of jump rings for your jewelry project, and for the parts you are connecting to. We will cover the basic measurement unit, styles, and some terminologies of open jump rings in this post.
Jump rings are made from wires, like sterling silver wires. Wires are measured by gauge to show how strong the wire is. Please see the table below for gauge to millimeter conversion. The rule of thumb is the smaller the gauge number, the stronger the jump ring wire. For jump rings, the most common gauge is from 18 to 22 gauge. 22 gauge is already very thin and easy to deform, and easy to be pulled to open if you don’t solder it. If you just want to have jump rings that you can close with a pair of pliers and stay secure, choose a size from 18 gauge to 21 gauge. Measure the hole or opening on the parts that your jump ring needs to go through, make sure the opening is big enough for the jump ring you chose.
OD and ID
OD stands for Outer Dimension. ID stands for Inner Dimension. They are the ways we measure the diameter of the jump ring. See the illustration below. The most common size is OD 4mm and 5mm for connecting chain links, attach a charm, etc.
Machine Cut, Saw Cut, and Pinch Cut
You may have seen these terminologies used on jump rings before and you may be wondering what exactly do they mean? Are they important to your jump ring selection? The short answer is: If you are making handmade jewelry and want to close jump ring without soldering. Probably these details are not important to you. If you are making high-end fine jewelry, you need to pay attention to these details.
Jump rings are made from wire coil and cut open from one side of the coil to make them into open jump rings. The way it’s been cut will directly impact how clean the cut is.
Saw cut will show a perfect clean cutting edge since its cut by a circular saw.
The machine cut will show a little bit rough edge at the cut opening. Pinch cut is just the cut from a cutter plier, it will be rougher than the machine cut. Jump rings with machine or pinch cut will be easier to close than the saw cut. They will also be cheaper than the saw cut jump rings. One issue with machine or pinch cut is that they may catch fine hairs or fine threads from clothes if not closed perfectly. That is the reason many high-end jewelry designers choose saw cut jump rings. See the illustration below to see the cutting surface of each type of jump rings.
For tools that can be used to measure the wires or jump rings and tools for cutting wires and jump rings, you can take a look at Jewelry Tools section.