I make most of my own jump rings in my studio because I get just the right size and thickness for my project at hand. The humble jump ring is easy to overlook, yet much is asked of it in jewelry design. As a connection between design elements which allows for movement, its placement and proportion can make or break a jewelry project. The perfect jump ring, that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, is well worth the investment in time and effort. Here's how to make them.
Start with a mandrel. I'm beginning with an old nail. I keep a selection of old nails around for making jump rings. I saw the heads off the nails ahead of time. You can use other things for mandrels, like hardwood dowels, but I think this is the best. I'm using 20 guage wire and my nail is 5mm in diameter. The size you choose will vary according to your project. Sometimes I make a variety of sizes and pick the best fit. That way, you build up a nice selection to use in the future.
Make a few crude coils with pliers, slide them onto your mandrel, and tighten them into a vise. Pull taught on the wire and wrap it tightly around the mandrel. Each revolution of the wire will become a jump ring. You can make a few or a few dozen.
When you're done coiling the wire, it's time to start sawing the jump rings apart. I release the coil from the vise and push the jump rings up to the top of the mandrel. Go ahead and cut right into. It's just a nail. As you cut through the jump rings, they will slide down your sawblade. Sometimes, they fall onto the work surface or the floor. I just pick them up at the end.
After they are cut free, I thread them onto a piece of scrap wire and store them that way. They'll be ready for the next project!