The second class project in my ACC jewelry techniques class involved making jump rings and connecting them together to create a chain.
Jump rings - for the non-jewelry types - are the open rings used to connect components of a piece together. They are used to make loops for hooks on earrings, as simple bails for hanging a pendant or to attach a clasp to the end of the chain.
|Jump rings - off the mandrel - before being sawed apart
I decided I wanted to fabricate a necklace with graduated links. I sketched my idea in my notebook, then calculated the size - and how many of each - jump rings I would need.
The inspiration for this necklace came from several other pieces - a beautiful string of graduated pearls my Father brought home to me for my 21st birthday, from a trip to Japan; the Pat Areias silver statement chain I bought last summer in Carmel, and a round push lock charm holder from Cari Streeter, one of my favorite jewelers.
I settled on the design, with the push lock in the front, and small double rings to connect the links. Then I made jump rings...a lot of jump rings.
You can buy preformed jump rings (open - with a cut in the ring, or closed) - but where would be the fun (or learning) in that?
The facilities at ACC are amazing - and they have all the toys - including a jump ring maker. You wrap a piece of wire around a mandrel, and put the mandrel in a vice with a crank, turn the handle and voila - a stack of jump rings (that look like a spring).
|Laying out the necklace before fusing the rings
As I started assembling the necklace, I realized that although it would have the push lock in the front, it really wanted a clasp in the back to make it easier to take on and off, especially since I had decided to add some of Cari's wonderful briolette charms to the clasp.
|Push lock clasp and briolettes from Cari
I'm so pleased with the finished piece!
|It's always great when something turns out as planned
It's always wonderful when a design turns out exactly as I envisioned it (and that doesn't always happen - when I first started metalsmithing classes my visions waaaay exceeded my ability - and I have been away from the bench for quite a while).
I'm also delighted to have jewelry projects to write about again - so watch this space, class continues until May - and I'm planning on signing up for another semester in the fall!
Up next - new techniques for stone setting - starting with this fabulous faceted turquoise (then the tourmaline and opal).
I hope you are enjoying following as much as I am writing about my projects.
Until next time.
P.S. A few of you asked if I'm going to be making things for my Etsy shop, and the short answer - at least for a while - is no. I had three great markets at the end of 2019, and then as we all know - things changed - and one of the most important things that changed for me was the realization that I've had a career, I built a business, and I don't need to do it again. Maybe after a semester or two, I'll change my mind - but right now the best part of making jewelry is learning, and being free to do it simply for my own enjoyment.