Getting Started with Chainmaille Jewelry: Ring Closures

Greetings and welcome to the next installment of my "Getting Started" series.  In this post I will focus on ring closures.  This is something I find EXTREMELY important and is something that, I believe, is quite often neglected.  Let's begin! The goal is very simple.  Close the rings as seamlessly as possible.  Why should we go through the extra effort?  Two reasons.  Comfort and Quality.  The nicer your rings are cut and closed the nicer your chainmaille will feel against your skin.  If you neglect this crucial detail your finished pieces could feel more like sandpaper against your skin rather than fine silk.  Yes, high quality chainmaille can feel that good.  Quality goes along with comfort and also stands alone.  Sometimes all you need is a quick glance to get a good estimate of the quality of a piece of chainmaille jewelry.  The piece will look nicer and more refined plus, you will know that a lot of effort was put into details.  If you see that most of the closures are a little off or not completely closed or if the cuts are not flush then it's reasonable to assume the person who made it hasn't given much thought to the fine details.  Now, that is not to say that the person has malicious intent or doesn't care.  Simply, that they details were not attended to.

Okay, here is how I accomplish these goals.

First, pick up the ring and with one set of pliers on each side of the ring, gently twistthe ring open.  This is very important.  Do not ever try grab the ring and pull the sides apart to open it.  Once the ring is in the shape of a " C " it will be nearly impossible to get the ring round again.  Plus, it's slower.  Gently twisting the two ends apart will keep the ring round and allow you to work with it.  In the example below I have opened the ring a little more than necessary for picture clarity.  (Click on any image for larger view)

Open Jumpring Example

Next, gently twist the ring back while simultaneously pushing the two ends toward each other.  Again, be gentle.  We do this to close the gap, or kerf, created with cutting the rings.  I prefer to slightly overlap the rings to put a little tension at the joint.  The theory is, this slight tension will help keep the ring closed.  Observe the pics below.  The overlap is not extreme.

Jumpring overlap side view
Jumpring overlap from above

Now, we want to gently slide the rings back to flush and check to make sure all edges line up and are smooth.  I go as far as rubbing my finger or fingernail across the closure to see how smooth it is.  If you can feel roughness wiggle the ends and adjust it until it is perfectly flush.  Here are examples of what it should NOT look like...

Jumpring not flush - slight
Jumpring not flush - medium
Jumpring not flush - large
jumpring vertical offset
jumpring not closed

Notice how each picture has a flaw.  Sometimes small sometimes huge.  These are all things to avoid if you want the best looking and feeling chainmaille.

Now, here is what the ring should look like.  One view from above and one from the side.

Good jumpring closure - above
good jumpring closure - side

  When done well the closure should not be obvious.  The quality of the rings is a very important factor.  That is why I discussed it in the previous two posts.  If the ends of the rings are not flush and smooth then you have no chance of making the closures extremely smooth.

Here is a short clip of me opening a ring and then closing it.  You might be able to hear the slight 'click' as I set the overlap and then slide the ends back flush.  Let's have a look:

As you can see, this is not an overly complicated process.  Just make sure to pay attention and demand the best quality of yourself.  Remember also, if you are going to sell your jewelry online you will need to photograph it.  How will your closures look up close and on a computer screen??  Another point to think about.  *grin*

I hope that clearly illustrates one way to get nice closures.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to write and ask!  Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thanks for reading and see you on the next post!