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Making Jump Rings by Hand or Why Artisan Jewelry Costs More



Marika is an accomplished wire and chain maille artisan from Cyprus whom I have featured before with her delightful chain maille fuschia flower earrings. She documents her journey as artisan on her blog. I enjoy reading about her various experiments.

Not long ago, she decided to address the issue of why chain maille jewelry costs so much more after fielding such questions from people who have absolutely no idea of the labour involved. So she wrote and photo-illustrated this wonderful blog post on how she made the above silver byzantine bracelet with a lampwork bead accent, from scratch. It took her a whole day - with a lunch break, naturally.

Before they can weave their magic, chain maille artisans need a lot of jump rings and in exactly the right wire gauge and ring size for the particular weaves they use. They can buy precut jump rings or make them themselves. Either way, there is a labour cost that has to be factored into the selling price. The way to good quality jump rings is even coiling of the wire around the mandrel (you can see Marika holding a long uncut coil in the left picture) and flush cuts. The best way is the most tedious - by using a jeweler's saw as Marika did although there are several pricier mechanical devices available to cut the coils such as those shown here.

Jewelry making is an international affair. Marika sells her lovely creations in both the European and North American markets through her Dwanda shop and her Etsy Store. Check out her metalchasers.com site too. Pictures with kind permission from Marika.

How to make simple jump rings

Jatayu's basic jump ring tutorial shows you some ways to coil wire - using a dowel, wire winder and even your round nose pliers. If you follow the tutorials to the next page, some lovely jump ring variations are given - hammered, twisted and using multiple jump rings in your designs. Cut the coils with a flush cutter if you don't have a jeweler's saw to get individual rings. If the cuts are less than flush, you will have to file down the rough edges.

Something sublime's tutorial uses a mandrel jawed pliers to make jump rings.

Beadalon jump ring maker is a relatively inexpensive tool for making jump rings with set inner diameters (4,6,7,8 mm). This nifty video shows you how to use it - although coils shown are rather loose. Tight coils are best.

RubysBeadwork.com has a great tutorial on how to use a variable speed drill to speed up the coiling and how to cut the coils to make the rings.

Auntie's Beads' video tutorial shows how to make a simple pair of chain maille earrings.

Chain Maille Series : Part 3 of 3

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9 comments:

  1. I've been debating whether or not to purchase a saw, but I've been having problems with finding a jig to hold the coil (without killing me in shipping)-- Rings will do me no good without the fingers!

    I've been drooling over the chainmaille you've posted in the last couple days. The artisans you have been featuring are fantastic!

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  2. You might like to check out the jump ring maker (or similar) which has just a simple (and light) casing for holding down the coil whilst you run a cutting blade safely through a slot. Me? I PAY for someone else to make my rings!

    Glad you are enjoying all these inspirational artisans!!

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  3. Thank you so much for featuring me again, it's always a delight to read your posts :)

    Marika

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  4. Thanks a bunch for the chain maille articles, and thank you for featuring me.

    People don't realize the labor involved in chain maille. And I believe it is indeed a labor of love.

    Thank you again,
    Miachelle

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  5. I have to admire Marika - takes a lot of dedication and a love of what she does to work that hard!

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  6. And my thanks to YOU for sharing the tutorial in the first place to all of us.

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You're AWESOME! Thanks for the comment and feedback. You do make a difference on my blog!

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