Jump rings are used in handmade jewellery frequently. They are simply wire which is semi-precious or precious metal, wrapped tightly around a mandrel and sawn either by hand or by an electrical saw. The result is a perfect circle.
They can be soldered on to bezel cups for displaying cabochons, attaching watch straps or forming part of the end of a chain. The list is endless and jump rings are the most versatile item in handmade jewellery. In Chainmaille jewellery, jump rings are linked together to form different patterns. Byzantine is the most common weave in the U.K. but there are many different designs. The European 4 - 1 was supposedly the weave which was used in chainmaille armour used initially by the Celts over 2000 years ago.
In chainmaille jewellery it is not common to solder the jump rings but pieces which are likely to be subject to extra strain it is provides extra strength. l solder the rings around the ring and toggle clasps on bracelets and in the lobster clasps for necklaces.
However great care is needed in soldering jump rings. If attaching a jump ring to a larger and thicker piece of silver it is important to heat the larger piece first. It is so frustrating to damage a nearly completed item of handmade jewellery.
Firstly prepare the silver to be soldered.
1) Mix the flux. I use a cone of borax and mix with a little water until it is the consistency of thick cream.
2) Prepare the silver by rubbing the surface to be soldered with some wet and dry to ensure they are completely clean.
3) Brush both items with flux.
4) Heat the larger item before attaching the jump ring. I use fine solder. The key aspect to this is not to use a powerful blow torch and use a soft bushy flame. Care must be taken in positioning the jump ring to the item and be aware that initially the flux will bubble up and move the ring out of position.
5) When it is firmly secure, quench in cold water before placing the item in a pickle pot.
6) After this remember to use plastic tweezers to remove the jewellery from the pickle pot and wash in water.
7) The item is now ready for polishing using wet and dry paper and finished in a tumble polisher. For intricate work a brass brush and soapy water works well.
In handmade jewellery, especially for Handmade Rings it is essential to know how to solder. Without this knowledge it limits any designs which you may have. Soldering can be done at home and the tools can be bought online from many companies. A slow cooker makes a very good pickle pot but do not use this for a casserole afterwards!
Article Source: Michael_W_A_Dennison