At a place I used to work we supplied jump rings for a particular
company. We always tumbled our jump rings in steel shot as the
final process before packaging. It made them considerably brighter.
The answer to your question about whether YOU should put the jump
rings into the tumbler may lie in what the jump rings will be used
for. If you are attaching the jump rings to pendants that will
later be polished with a mop it may be easiest to touch the jump
ring to the mop at that stage. If you are making a full length
chain with no delicate links it may be easiest to tumble the entire
chain rather than the separate jump rings. Although we never used
the tumbled jump rings at work, I suspect that after soldering them
closed they would require at least a touch on the mop anyway to
bring them back to the same level of brightness.
If you do decide to tumble the individual jump rings there are a few
great tricks to know. Depending on the size of the jumprings they
may be difficult to find amongst the shot at the end of tumbling.
Medium sized jump rings can be separated from steel shot by
spreading a couple of handfuls of the shot, at a time, onto a tray
and then running a strong magnet over the tray to pick up the shot
and leave the jump rings behind. As some jump rings may tend to get
stuck between the pieces of shot on the magnet, after removing the
jump rings from the tray you should drop the shot back into the tray
and do a second pass with the magnet… sometimes even a third pass.
For fine jump rings you can take a container - an empty plastic flux
jar is recommended, drill holes in the lid that aren’t big enough to
allow the jump rings through, then fill it half to two thirds of the
way with steel shot, add the jump rings and add a teaspoon of the
powdered shot soap. Put the lid on and secure it in place by
wrapping wire from the bottom over to the top of the jar. Place the
jar into the steel shot chamber (set up as usual, with steel shot
and soap) and then run the tumbler as you normally would. To
separate the jump rings from the shot at the end of tumbling use the
magnet method described above - this time there is less shot so
while it’s more fiddly with the fine jump rings, it is still
Finally, if you have large jump rings, find a tray with holes, a
woven metal basket or drill holes in a container to make a tray
yourself - the holes should be large enough to let the shot fall
through, but small enough to prevent the jump rings from falling
through. In this way, after tumbling large jump rings you can
simply pour the shot over the tray to separate the jump rings.
Also, we discovered, if you don’t want to run the tumbler and you
only have a small quantity of fine jump rings they can be quickly
brightened by putting them in an old flux jar with no holes in the
lid, with some shot, water and soap and shaking them vigorously by
hand for five to ten minutes.
Hope this helps,