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Bail-Jump Ring Positioning

Thought I would ask the community. Has anybody ever come up with an
easy way (other than trial-and-error) to position a jump ring for a
bail on a asymmetrical piece of jewellery? My method has been to try
and balance the piece on the edge of a steel rule with the axis
(rule edge) running through the piece the way I thought it should
hang. Thanks

Richard Dubiel

You could super glue a piece of yarn or string on the piece and see
how it hangs. The glue is easy enough to clean off.


Hello Richard,

I build myself a tool for expressly this purpose since, for a while,
it seemed that all that I was making were asymmetrical pendants. It
was a tumbled piece of Flourite shaped like Africa mounted on an oval
plate of pierced sterling that finally forced me to solve this
problem for once and for all.

So, what I bought was an old set of outside calipers at a flea
market. I paid pennies since they were slightly mangled but I knew
what I had in mind so the cosmetic damage didn’t much matter as long
as their basic mechanical function was intact. What I’m talking about
here is the ones used in lathe and woodworking, toolmaking or
drafting. The ones used in woodworking often they have flat legs. The
others are usually made from rounds stock.

What the tool is originally designed for is to measure the outside
diameter of a cylindrical object using a pincer type action. They
don’t actually have any measuring scales on them, they’re used for
transferring measurements from a model or drawing to a work piece.
They usually come in 4, 6, and 8 inch sizes. Smaller is better for our
purposes. If you can’t find an old pair like I did you can usually
pick up a cheapo pair for $6 or so from a discount hardware or lumber
supplies store. These will be totally satisfactory for our purposes.

I’m sure it’s obvious where I’m going with this: taper the points of
the calipers down, sharpen the points such as you might do with a
center punch and voila! a handy-dandy center-of-gravity tool that will
mark the suspension point when you gently squeeze the points into the
metal of your workpiece. The caliper’s span is more than enough for
the typical size of pieces we jewellery makers work with so you’ve
got plenty of latitude for shaping the points just how you like. With
these on the bench all the guess work about suspension points is

Trevor F.

1 Like

Richard, There is a very easy way to do this. Take a pair of
tweezers with a sharp point, and bend the tips (just the very tips)
at 90 degrees to the inside. The tips now point towards and touch
each other. Pick up the piece of jewelry with the tweezers. It should
hang free, just like it was hanging from a jump ring. Voila! When you
find the balance point, or get it to hang at the angle that you wish,
just squeeze the tweezers and they will leave a small scratch at the
point where you will want to attach the jump ring.

For larger or heavier work, I use a pair of "outside calipers."

These look like dividers, but arch toward the center. They are
normally used to measure the outside diameter of an object, like a
cylinder. I have sharpened the tips so they will leave a scratch when
I pull them from the piece I am marking.

Doug Zaruba

1 Like

Hi Richard,

 Has anybody ever come up with an easy way (other than
trial-and-error) to position a jump ring for a bail on a
asymmetrical piece of jewelry? 

One way that’s worked for me is using a twezzer. It required
modifying a standard tweezers. The tips of the tweezers are bent
inward at 90 deg. so they are opposite one another. The tips may
have to be annealed before trying to bend them.

To use the bent tip tweeter, grasp the item where you think the hole
for the bail should go. One tip should be in the front & one in the
back. Let the piece hang from the tweezers points. Observe the way
it hangs & make any necessary adjustments to the position until it
hangs correctly.


Yes! I have a nifty trick for finding the balance point of a piece.
So easy! Start with a pair if very skinny tweezers-- old beat-up is
fine-- and bend maybe 5 or so mm of the tips inward at a 90 degree
angle. Align them so the two sharp points meet exactly. That’s it!
Pick up the piece with this tool at the spot you think you want your
bail. If it doesn’t hang right, adjust until it does, and mark the
spot. You like?


I had to go rummage through my husband’s tools to find his outside
calipers because I just could NOT picture this … a visual person,
I guess, but once I pulled them out to try to this, it’s great!
Super idea! I love assymetry but really hate trying to figure
balance point.

I thank everyone for their responses, and have tried the bent
tweezers which work well. Haven’t tried the outside calipers, but
I’m sure they would work just as well, with at least maintaining a
flexible, but adjustable amount of tension. After trying the
suggestions and thinking a little bit about both ideas, I realised I
already had a tool in my collection that also appears to work with a
certain amount of accuracy and without any modification - the
standard degree gauge normally used to measure wax and other
material thickness

Richard Dubiel
Wax Modeller
Tel 905.566.0950
Fax 905.290.9398

There is a surgical instrument which is used to help drape an
incision while operating which is ideally suited for this task. It
is called a Backhaus Towel clamp and can be found in a used surgical
supply store. If bought new it is rather expensive. It essentially
looks like two facing cow horns and a picture can be seen at search for Backhaus towel clamp. It’s
use is self explanatory, but the forming of a similar tool by taking
an old tweezer and bending the tips inward facing one another works
well to find the center of rotation. Just use gentle pressure to
allow for rotation until you find the balancing point.