Greetings & Salutations, Folks!
How are you? I hope that all is well in your world. I apologize for not touching base with you for several days, but right up until the end of Super Bowl Sunday night I was crazy busy at my regular job as a supermarket cashier. I won’t bother going into detail because I’m sure you can understand why. Suffice to say that because of the increased level of sales I ended up feeling completely burned out, physically and mentally. Rarely am I so tired that I lack the energy to run my mouth or create a piece of jewelry, but this time my qi said, “Oh, HELL no; sit your butt down NOW!”
So I did. I learned long ago to defer to the wisdom of my body. However, even though my body was at rest, my mind was still operating in hyper-drive. It was during this phase of physical rest & regeneration that I decided to explore the chainmaille variations possible when using oval shaped jump rings.
However, before I could try out my ideas I had to get my hands on some oval rings. As usual I went to the Fire Mountain Gems website. Also as usual, FMG had what I was looking for. Since I had never used oval rings, I didn’t lose my mind and buy a bazillion of them (as I would normally do). Instead, I bought 4 packages of 2 different sizes, in 2 different finishes. Specifically:
> 1 package oval, 8×5 mm, 16ga, 100ea, silver-plated brass [H20-5339FD]
> 1 package oval, 8×6 mm, 16ga, 100ea, silver-plated brass [H20-5340FD]
> 1 package oval, 8×5 mm, 16ga, 100ea, gold-plated brass [H20-5322FD]
> 1 package oval, 8×6 mm, 16ga, 100ea, gold-plated brass [H20-5323FD]
The first thing I noticed about the oval rings offered by FMG is that the cut is located in the widest area of the ring. I was surprised; I envisioned the cut being located in the most narrow area. The second thing I noticed is that because the rings are machine cut, the kerf is not very clean. I don’t know yet if that’s the standard configuration for oval rings. The photos below are of the 8x6mm gold-plated and silver-plated brass rings. Check them out:
The third thing I noticed is that oval rings are a HELLUVA lot more challenging to work with compared to round rings! Generally speaking, when using round rings one needn’t be too concerned with the orientation of the rings or placement of the cut in the ring because in a circle all sides are equal. Conversely, with oval rings the sides are NOT equal. There are 2 narrow “poles” and 2 wide “poles”. This makes it necessary for one to be constantly aware of the orientation of the oval rings because the rings must be strategically placed so that the chain (or sheet of maille) will drape properly. Also, in the case of these FMG jump rings, the cut is located on one of the wide “poles. This makes the kerf VERY noticeable, so again, one must be constantly aware of ring orientation and placement. Below are some photos that show what a piece can look like (YIKES!) if proper care and attention are not given, and if high quality jump rings are not used.
Overall, I’m happy with how my experiment turned out. I learned much but I still have more research to do regarding where I can purchase good quality oval rings. I prefer that they be saw cut on one of the narrow “poles” because the kerf would be much cleaner and almost imperceptible. Despite my ongoing and undying love affair with chainmaille, I DO NOT want to be bothered with making my own specialty rings! So if anyone knows of a supplier of non-round shaped jump rings, PLEASE hit me up! In the meantime, I’ll continue my online research, including learning how to make my own specialty rings…
… because if I must, I will.
Until we chat again, go forth and Birth Something Beautiful!