Daily Wire Tip Mar. 13: One Jump Ring Gauge to Rule Them All?

By on March 12, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
March 13, 2011


What gauge wire is best for jump rings for chain maille designs?

-Linda in Alum Creek, West Virginia


I am sorry to tell you, Linda, that there is no specific jump ring gauge for chain maille designs. Each weave is made using either the size ring suggested by the author of a pattern, or (with experience) the weight that will suit the chosen design.

For example, I have seen the lovely Full Persian done in a lacy 18-gauge and in a very tight 22-gauge. My advice here would be to first practice a chosen weave, within the design suggested by a chain maille author. When you feel comfortable with the pattern, then alter the gauge of the rings according to your desires, choosing a size that will work both in the weave itself, and the look you want to achieve.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    March 13, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Having recently gotten into “chain maille”, I can tell you that if you use anything lighter than 18ga. wire, you run the risk of your creations pulling apart. The full Persian weave is very difficult for me personally if I use anything smaller than 8mm. rings. I tried using 7mm rings and it was a labor of frustration to make the appropriate turns in the weave. That’s just me. I love the process of chain maille and wish you luck and many hours of creative joy. Buddy Rice

  2. avatar


    March 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Each chain maille pattern has a gauge and ring size requirement. If you wish to change the size of rings, you need to take into account something called “aspect ratio (AR)”. AR is a ratio of ring diameter and wire diameter. If you disregard aspect ratio, your piece of jewelry may not look its best…it may be to loose or too tight (and not flex).

  3. avatar

    Tara T

    March 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Here are some websites that have awesome information on ring sizes for different weaves, all are well experienced in chainmaille, and have a lot of resources and personal experience available.

    http://www.metaldesignz.com (Canada)
    http://www.theringlord.com (Canada)
    http://www.spiderchain.com (USA)
    http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com (USA)

  4. avatar


    March 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Jump ring size is quite a science, as you will know if you have randomly picked up rings and attempted a weave or chain. The most important ratio you need to know is the inner diameter (ID) to the outer diameter (OD) and how they relate to each other. Each weave or chain has a specific ratio to result in both strength and flexibility. So you either have to brush up on your math, or follow a pattern to the letter until you get enough experience to figure it out on your own.

    Chain maille is beautiful and historic, and will be frustrating unless you do your research. Good luck, and stick to it!

  5. avatar


    March 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Urban Maille is another good resource. They have a sectioon called, “Shop by Weave,” that lists appropriate sizes of rings.


  6. avatar


    March 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

    If you are just starting out then I suggest 18g saw cut rings. You can order rings in the AR size needed (I use many of the websites mentioned already and they are wonderful). 18G works up fast, is easier to see, and easier to tell if your ring is properly closed. I’ve worked in 18g through 22g and 22g is blinding for me but oh so wonderful for delicate designs. Pick a weave first then order your rings (or make them). European 4 in 1 and Byzatine are great starter weaves. For me the hardest weave is still Dragonscale…it is my enemy and exists to torture me.