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Unsoldered jump rings unprofessional?


#1

I was playing with a peice that has abilone shell and pearls bezeled
and epoxied onto 14k gold. Obviously I can’t solder the bale closed
that I use on this pendant which caused me to wonder if it is
"unprofessional" to sell high end jewelry with open or unsoldered
rings? The bale on this pendant is 10 gauge so it’s thick enough to
be secure without solder, but still I wonder about the perception of
not soldering it closed. I also wondered about putting a drop of 330
epoxy on the seem, but some how I felt that would be worst.

Any opinons?


#2

Hello Mike,

No don’t use glue. That would be unprofessional. I have never agreed
with the idea that jump rings must be soldered. In my
apprenticeship I often saw old worn out chains with jump rings that
were not soldered and part of the jump ring might be paper thin yet
the unsoledered join was still fairly closed. As long as you make
sure the jump ring ring is strong enough to last it won’t be a
problem functionally.

Phillip


#3

Don’t forget that oval is better than round. Round jump rings can
easily pull apart when the ring joint and the adjoining wire line
up. This does not happen with oval rings. They would have to open
nearly all the way before the rings would separate. Bill

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#4

Thank you Philip. I think that leaving jump rings unslodered
actually opens up the the use of more delicate objects and organic
stones.


#5

Hello Orchidland,

I intentionally leave one unsoldered link on chains. Should the
chain be severely jerked, the unsoldered link is the first to
separate, hopefully saving the rest of the chain and reducing
possible injury to the wearer.

It’s much simpler to repair the chain if all one has to do is
replace the stretched link.

Judy in Kansas, where the lovely warm weather and spring rains lured
all the fruit trees and flowers into bloom. Last night temps were
below freezing, and the weather forecast for tomorrow includes SNOW!!
I’m afraid that dashes my plans for cherry pie.


#6

Hi,

One thing you should do if you are not going to solder jump rings
closed is to give them a nip with pliers to deform them slightly.
Span the jump ring with a pair of pliers so that the joint is midway
across one jaw and gently close the pliers so that the ring becomes
slightly oval. This will ensure that, in use, the joint will stay
midway between the two adjoining rings and that the open ends of two
rings cannot simply pull through each other.

Best wishes,

Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#7

Dear Mike,

I have often found antique jewelry pieces (especially Art Nouveau)
where the delicate nature of the piece required that no soldering be
done too close to enamels, butterfly wings, kingfisher feathers or
shell.

The jump rings or bails are often as fine as 18 gauge and their not
being soldered is not an indication of unprofessional work, rather a
consideration of the fragility of the material. Of course laser
welding has changed this aspect of our craft for modern pieces.

But if you don’t have a laser welder, don’t put glue on it, just
close it flush.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#8

This is a very interesting thread! (As are many in orchidland)

I have a dear friend, a chainmaker, who specialises in antique style
(victorian) knotted fob chains. He told me that he doesn’t solder
silver chains of this style as there is not enough value in the metal
to warrant the extra work involved. If the chain is gold, he can at
least get paid for his labour.

Further, he has led me to understand that it is compulsory to leave
one link in any chain unsoldered to ensure that if a person is caught
up by a chain, the chain will fail before the person does.

:slight_smile: Kimmyg
Www.northcoastbeadmakers.com


#9

Ian and others who suggested it…The oval tip is one that came in
quite handy, the seam naturally falls to the side plus the bail is
not projecting out too far from the piece.

Nanz, I wish I could afford the laser welder, but finances aren’t
allowing for that splurge just yet :slight_smile: I’ve also heard that lasers
leave a blob of mess if you are not careful? I’d have to read
further on the subject. Who knows, if the tax man is good to me this
season I may treat myself.

Once again the Orchid community comes through in a pinch. Thanks to
all of you.


#10

Hi Bill,

Don't forget that oval is better than round. Round jump rings can
easily pull apart when the ring joint and the adjoining wire line
up. This does not happen with oval rings. 

Not necessarily. It depends where the opening in the oval ring is
located. If it’s on the side where it’s obnoxious this may be true.
If it’s at one of the ends an oval ring will open before a round ring
because the opening force is always concentrated at the weakest spot.
With a round ring, made from hard wire & closed properly, the ring
can rotate & the joint is not always at a spot where the opening
force can be the most damaging.

Dave


#11

Hi Mike

I know that many commercial chains are not soldered. That being
said, many are made with unannealed wire by machine so tension is
maintained.

I actually have a number of patterns that are for unsoldered links.
Just make sure that the links are made out of a thicker wire and/or
are made from 1/2 hard wire. This will often negate the need for
soldering.

Regards
Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


#12

I routinely all solder jump rings, even on 1.5 mm bead chain, which I
buy by the foot and to which I add lobster clasps. Most of the chains
I sell are sterling, but the same is true for the gold chains I sell.

I always assumed, from working in retail jewelry 25 years ago, that
unsoldered links were planned obsolescence. Since I make the pendants
from which the chains I sell hang I always consider it bad form to
allow an obvious weak link. For this reason I also always change out
spring clasps for lobster clasps. Broken spring clasps were a
recurrent problem when I used to do jewelry repair.

I doubt that a customer who had spent $50 on a sterling chain which
was lost due to an unsoldered link would agree that there was not
enough value in the metal, and if a $50 pendant was lost with it,
would agree even less. Perhaps the jeweler who said this meant that
he did not get enough value for the metal to warrant the extra time,
which sounds like a pricing problem to me, and a lax attitude to
customer service.

If it is compulsory to leave a weak link for the rare times that
someone may be caught up in a chain (and I have never personally
known somebody whose chain did not break before damage to his or her
neck) then how does this balance against the much more frequent loss
of chains due to unsoldered jump rings or bad clasps? The strongest
part of chains I sell tends to be my soldered link.

Mark
http://www.markdefrates.com


#13

So I wonder, Orchid community, is there a law which requires A SINGLE
link to be left unsoldered due to safety issues. This is what I have
been led to understand. Can anyone lend any input to this question?

Kimmyg


#14

Mark,

I am with you on this. I solder every jump ring and bail. It does
not matter how much the product is. For my business it is important
that the customer will come back in the future because he or she
liked the quality of the product and its craftsmanship. There is too
much competition to ignore simple issues like jump rings.

Alex @ Omega Designs


#15

I have been spared harm because the weak link broke. After the
adrenaline wore off, I was really glad some part of the (bracelet;
ring; necklace) gave way before I did. What is my (skin; finger;
hair) worth? A lot more than the jewelry I was wearing.

I would guess a jeweler will see lots of broken chains, but not
necesarily the broken hair & skin. I know that I am very conscious
of the quality of work(wo)manship, but I still believe: Let the weak
link fail before the wearer is injured.

Kelley Dragon


#16
is there a law which requires A SINGLE link to be left unsoldered
due to safety is 

Well if there is I’m in deep you know what. Never knowingly left a
jump ring unsoldered on any piece I’ve made. Never will. However,
given my extensive years of reading on industry issues, I have never,
ever seen anything referring to any law like this. It is possible an
individual state might have their own laws, but I still think I would
have heard about it by now.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#17

Hello Mark,

Yes, of course it’s usually simple to solder the one or two rings you
add to the ends of manufactured chain. When you do that, especially
for the ball chains you say you usually use, you are already
soldering, so you should solder whatever is needed. The original
asker of the question said that they were wanting to add something
very close to delicate stones & such, and soldering isn’t an easy
answer, so they were looking for guidance on what is acceptable in
that situation. I think many of the responders have referred to
situations involving soldering links within a chain, where the chains
were made by hand, not just manufactured ones with clasps added. When
Kim referred to a friend who doesn’t solder the silver ones because
the cost is prohibitive, she said he’s a “chain maker”, meaning he
actually MAKES the chains and chooses not to solder all of the
individual links of the chain. That’s not the same as your situation,
you are only adding clasps to manufactured chain. And I agree that
it’s a good idea to leave one unsoldered ring so that in a tug, the
chain wins over the wearer’s neck. If it’s a 1.5mm cable chain, then
no, the chain probably can’t win no matter what. But if it’s a
heaftier, handmade chain, then yes, the chain could at least put up
an uncomfortable fight, if not really win, against the wearer’s neck.
It can still be made to be very sturdy for normal wear. Perhaps
you’ve dealt with some poorly made chains, but I have to say it irks
me a bit that you are making the claim that to not solder everything
is actually unethical (from your site). I have to assume you’ve never
actually made chains yourself. Sure, to put some flimsy ring on a
piece that will pull open during normal wear is not good
craftsmanship, but that does not mean that properly made and used
unsoldered jump rings are not a professional option.

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.designsbylisag.com


#18

With my filigree work, I usually do the filigree piece for a necklace
and do not solder the jump rings between the chain and the main piece
because if I ever have to repolish them, the chains make it more
risky to run on the polisher, so by leaving the rings unsoldered, I
can remove the chains if necessary. Filigree is fragile enough
without having it caught up in a polishing wheel by the chain and
wacked a hundred times before I can shut off the polisher. I just
make sure I use rings which are strong enough.

Jeanne
http://www.jeannius.com
http://www.silverthreadsfiligree.com


#19

Hello Mark,

I think I understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think
your observations apply to everyone.

I routinely solder all jump rings, even on 1.5 mm bead chain 

If it is fine you will need a fine jump ring and then it should be
soldered, plus the heat is seconds fast and concentrated, so you do
not need to treat the metal and can protect fragile areas from heat.

Pendants also need to be soldered unless you have a reason not to
because they weigh in the bail. Also most pendants can be fitted
over the ends or they can be hinged so the soldered join is very
easy to isolate.

I doubt that a customer who had spent $50 on a sterling chain which
was lost... Perhaps the jeweler who said this meant that he did not
get enough value for the metal to warrant the extra time, which
sounds like a pricing problem to me, and a lax attitude to customer
service. 

I agree. Leaving any piece of jewellery so weak that it WILL fail is
bad regardless of cost.

However, if it is going to fail and the place can be planed but
leaving a join unsoldered does the job, then that is a good thing.

Leaving a week point is not usually the plan but I can think of a
few reasons why you should. It can be helpful if you are polishing a
fragile necklace; if you let it go, neither you or the chain will
get hurt. It doesn’t always pay to solder everything at once in some
fine pieces which need polishing before complete assembly.

A lot depends on aesthetics and it depends on style.

Phillip


#20

Hello Kim Griffith,

So I wonder, Orchid community, is there a law which requires A
SINGLE link to be left unsoldered due to safety issues. This is
what I have been led to understand. Can anyone lend any input to
this question? 

I doubt that there is such a law. Can you imagine trying to enforce
it???

The intentional “weak link” is in my case, personal preference. The
single unsoldered link does have some specifics in that the gauge
must be at least the same, if not larger than the rest of the chain.
I prefer an oval shape with the unsoldered joint on the side, NOT the
end. And most importantly, the joint must be tight and flush with no
gaps or sharp edges.

Judy in Kansas, where fresh cherry pie won’t be on the menu this
summer… nor sand plum jelly… nor pear jam…darnit.