This Article is About
chain maille jewelry
little bits and pieces
nose pliers
jewelry maker
jewelry designer
hyperventilating
bits and pieces
blinders
Jump Ring Madness
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Making my first piece of jewelry was a breeze! It came in a kit.

Not long after (alright, immediately after) I decided I wanted to do more and headed off, wallet in hand to my local craft shop. I browsed wide-eyed through the jewelry making supply aisles until I was more zombie than jewelry maker. OK, take a deep breath and concentrate. You want those little ring-link kind of thingies used to make chain maille jewelry. There were signs for beads, wires, tools. No ring-link kind of thingies sign. Keep looking!

There they are! They're called jump rings! Well that makes complete sense. Oh my gosh, there are dozens of different sizes, gauges, millimeters, silver plated, sterling silver, gold, brass, copper, antiqued. Now that I've found them I'm in even more trouble than before. What do I want? What do I need?

Grabbing bits-and-pieces of the little bits-and-pieces, (excuse me, they're called jump rings), I headed to the clasps. Lobster, toggle, slide, *sigh* here we go again. More selections, heavier basket. Wow... those beads are really pretty. Can't resist a little sparkle. A few of these won't hurt. Heavier basket still.

Slightly out of breath and worrying about hyperventilating I put on my imaginary blinders and headed off to the check-out counter. I gladly paid for everything, still nurturing the jewelry making demon passion, and headed home to become the greatest jewelry designer and creator since Tiffany.

I was determined to be organized so I unpacked everything and found an old craft box that had great little nests for all my new supplies. Before my shopping expedition, I had browsed the internet and found a few easy beginners weaves that I decided I would master. Sitting in my brightly lit little corner, glasses perched on my nose, pliers in hand at the ready, elbow deep in jump rings, I discovered that I didn't have much of what I needed and had lots of what I didn't need.

After all this I finally decided to pull the reins in on my now overfed, raging passion and do some research. Sure, I'd found weaves that I wanted to learn, but I'd never taken the time to educate myself about the details of the supplies needed.

I never imaged that the variety and scope of simple little metal rings could range so widely. I won't bore you with the details of what I learned. Especially because I've found that it will be long time before I'm experienced enough to qualify as a teacher.

I can, however, speak with experience about the value of taking the time to educate yourself before taking big steps. I suppose you noticed that I didn't mention how much my first little trip to the craft store cost me. Let's just say that it was surprisingly less than I had expected and more than it should have been.

Internet resources and suppliers for jewelry making information and supplies are almost endless. You just need to spend some time at it. Give your passion an ice pop and make it sit quietly beside you while you learn, learn, learn.

Just like a new puppy, my passion needs to be educated and trained and will, just like a puppy, be a much happier companion for it. My creations are now produced with love and imagination with my growing knowledge as my most valuable material.


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