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Loops - Opening & Closing


Open Jump Ring Jewelry Making Finding made out of jewelry wire.Jewelry making instructions in how to open and close jump ring or figure 8 findings using common jewelry tools:

Frequently when jewelry making, you will find that you need to connect two jewelry wire components.  One easy way to connect jewelry wire components is via an open jump ring.  A jump ring is a circle of jewelry wire.  You can view an enlarged view of one jump ring at right.  The jump ring shown here is an "open" jump ring because it has an opening that will allow us to connect jewelry wire components to this jump ring.  The process for connecting items to a jump ring requires us to open the jump ring, make the connection and then close the jump ring.  Opening a jump ring must be performed in a way that will preserve the shape of the jump ring so that it can be closed and will have essentially the same shape. 

In the following paragraphs we describe how to open and close a jump ring using common jewelry tools. 

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

Jewelry Making Tools Required:

  • 18 or 20 gauge jewelry wire
  • Bent Chain Nose Pliers
  • Chain Nose Pliers

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Ability to open and close loops in jewelry wire using the bent chain nose pliers jewelry tool described below.
  • Ability to close a gap in a loop using the bent closing pliers jewelry tool.

Opening a jump ring can be performed with one pair of chain nose pliers and some strong fingernails, or it can be performed with two pair of chain nose pliers.  For most of us, the better alternative is to use two jewelry tools rather than one tool and our fingernails.  In the pictures below we will show how to connect a jewelry wire component to a jump ring with two pair of chain nose pliers.  The first step in connecting a jewelry wire component to a jump ring is to grip the jump ring with both pair of pliers.  Grip the jump ring with the pliers on either side of the opening of the jump ring.  See below-left.  To open the ring, twist one pair of the pliers up and the second pair of pliers down.  See below, center-left.  With the jump ring opened, connect your wire component as shown below, center-right.  Once the connection is made then re-grip the jump ring as shown below-right. 

Gripping a Jump Rings with Two Chain Nose Pliers jewelry making tools.
Twisting a Jump Ring to Open the Jump Ring using two jewelry making tools.

Connecting jewelry wire components using jewelry wire jump rings.
Regripping a jump ring with two jewelry making tools prior to twisting the jump ring closed.
Grip Twist to Open Connect Re-Grip

Close the jump ring by twisting the pliers in the opposite direction that you used to open the jump ring as shown below-left.  To make the closed jump ring as perfect as possible, grip the jump ring in the jaws of your bent closing pliers.  Position the opening in the jump rings against one jaw of the pliers as shown below-center, then squeeze gently to ensure that the jump ring is closed properly.  Many people like to squeeze the jump ring enough so that it is slightly oblong and no longer perfectly round.  An oblong or oval jump ring, with the opening of the jump ring on the short axis of the oval shape will naturally cause the jump ring to orientate itself so that the connected wire components will align themselves on the long axis and will therefore not pull against the opening of the jump ring.  You can view several interconnected oblong jump rings below-right. 

Jewelry wire jump rings gripped in jewelry making tools and twisted closed. Squeeze to Finish Connecting Jewelry Wire Jump Ring using Bent Closing Pliers jewelry tool.

Connected Jewelry Wire Jump Ring Components -- Jewelry Making Technique
Twist to Close Squeeze to Finish Connected Components

Closing a loop in jewelry wire with Bent Closing Pliers jewelry making toolThe tool that was used above to help in closing the jump ring is called bent closing pliers.  These pliers have grooves or notches carved in the jaws of the pliers to help hold the wire firmly without allowing it to slip.  You can view our recommended bent closing pliers jewelry tool here (Item 4005).  Bent closing pliers are not a mandatory tool, but you will find that almost every professional jewelry maker will have at least one pair. 

Figure 8 Connector made out of jewelry wire.

Please note that this same approach will apply to any open loop, whether it is on a jump ring, or the beginning or ending loop in a wire component made on one of our WigJig jewelry tools, or to a loop in a figure 8 connector or alternate figure 8 connector.  For beginners who may not be familiar with a figure 8 connector, you can view one at left.

Summary of opening and closing loops jewelry making skill:

Opening and closing loops is one of the most commonly used jewelry making skills.  Using two chain nose or bent chain nose jewelry tools to grip the loop and twist it up or down to open will preserve the round shape of the loop.  Using the bent closing pliers jewelry tool will help to close any small opening that might remain.  As with any jewelry making skill, you will get better at this with practice.

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