Guide to Color Wire Jump Rings

Dream it in color? Make it in color! Many jewelry artists search for the perfect way to use color wire in their work. My solution: colored jump rings! I’ve been working with anodized aluminum jump rings for almost two years now. I love the fact that I can put the burst of color in my chain maille, and even match it to the beads I use. Colored jump rings are becoming very popular, especially because they are a bit more affordable than sterling or gold-filled. But there are so many different kinds of rings out there… which ones should you choose? Here's a quick guide to 5 types of affordable and available color jump rings.

 

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Anodized aluminum: These jump rings are super lightweight to work with, and are colored with an electrical current. Different colors are achieved based on the amount of electricity used. But since the electricity can make the aluminum porous, they also can be dyed and sealed to reinforce the color. And they’re inexpensive, another bonus.

Charlene Anderson made these striking blue earrings with anodized aluminum rings in the Palau Reef Set in the Fall 2009 issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry.  Photo: Jim Lawson

 
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Anodized niobium: These rings are colored in the same way as aluminum, but the extra dyeing isn’t required. The quality of niobium is comparable to that of sterling silver, so they cost a little more than aluminum. Niobium is great to use in combination with sterling.

Shelley Hubbs made her Olivia bracelet with anodized niobium rings in the Fall 2009 issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry. Photo: Jim Lawson

titanium maille

Anodized titanium: Colored in the same way as the first two, these rings are best known for their strength, and they are the heaviest out of this group. Titanium, like niobium, is hypo-allergenic, so it's great to use if you have allergies to base metals. Titanium rings are the most expensive of the colored jump rings. 

Titanium Rings shown in a Byzantine chain maille pattern. Photo courtesy of www.metaldesignz.com.

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Enameled copper: A durable plastic enameled coating is added to the copper wire before they’re coiled into rings. The colors are plentiful and the rings are inexpensive. Silvered enameled copper is made by plating the copper wire with a layer of pure silver before adding the enamel to give it a shinier appearance. 

Enameled copper rings are mixed with stainless steel. Photo courtesy of www.metaldesignz.com.

Rubber: A fun and inexpensive type of jump ring, rubber rings make your piece more flexible. They’re made of soft, non-latex rubber, often silicone.

Susan C. Thomas creates wonderful pieces like this one using rubber rings. You can purchase this Rainbow Wristband project by Susan in the Interweave Store. Photo: Jim Lawson

TOOL TIP! No matter which kind of ring you choose, a well-used pair of pliers can easily scratch the color off of the ring. Dipping your pliers’ jaws into a coating like Tool Magic™ helps to alleviate the problem, but always use care when opening and closing any jump rings.

In the Fall 2009 Step by Step Wire Jewelry find even more expert tips on using colored jump rings, in a special featurette called “The Rainbow Connection.” Put your new-found knowledge to work making three colored chain maille projects yourself! Don’t be afraid to take that extra leap, and explore your options. Experimenting is half the fun…if you dream in color, do it in color! 

You'll want to see every issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry. We have an expert advice column by renowned wire artist Connie Fox, and reviews of the hottest products: from wire, to beads, to tools, to books and DVDs, and so much more.  Best of all, you’ll find several projects on the hottest wire working techniques, from wrapping to chain maille, knitting and crocheting with wire, texturing, and embellishing wire jewelry with beads. There’s something for every skill level. Why not subscribe to Step by Step Wire Jewelry now? 

FREE PROJECT for a limited time! 
Download Sara's Foxy Roxy necklace and see for yourself how much fun it is to make jewelry with color jump rings!

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