Because sometimes a jump ring just isn’t enough ..
Sometimes you need something a little more versatile …or a little more exciting … like a figure 8 or infinity connector that can be made in the perfect shape and proportions for your project. And once you get the basics down, you can dress these connectors up with all sorts of cool ideas. But for now… let’s get the basics. We’ll play with embellishments in future blogs…
So … what are the questions you need to ask yourself?
- When would you want to use a figure 8?
- How do you use a figure 8?
- What gauge wire should you use?
You can use a figure 8 connector in any and all of the same situations that call for a jump ring, because, in the end, they both just hook two things together. However, a figure 8 connector gives you more freedom in that you can control the length, shape, and direction of your connection without unnecessary bulk in your design. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you can vary the size of each loop on the connector as well as the direction of the loops, as shown in the photo immediately below. Note how each of the connectors is made and used differently.
And then… how do you decide what gauge wire to use? The amount of strain that will be put on your connection, combined with the size of the loops that you’ll be making, will play a large part in your decision. Bracelets, necklaces, and earrings all have varying stress levels on their connectors. The greater the stress on the connectors will be, the higher your wire gauge should be. However, smaller loops are stronger than bigger loops, so it becomes a matter of juggling these variables against your plans for the design. Personally, for everyday jewelry, my preference is 16 gauge. It’s strong. It holds its shape. It generally fits standard holes in most blanks and charms you may purchase. (And, just as a side plug… it will definitely fit the holes sizes of any pieces you purchase from my line of artisan jewelry supplies at Copper Witch Findings on Etsy!) However, if I’m making a delicate piece, I will use 18 gauge wire. If you need to go below 18 gauge, you should consider doing a figure 8 connectors that has wrapped loops …which will he covered in another blog.