Daily Wire Tip June 1: What are Cold Connections?

By on May 31, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
June 1, 2011


What are cold connections, and how do I make them?

-Marilyn in Westcliffe, Colorado


Hello Marilyn, in the jewelry making industry, the term "cold connection" refers to any procedure that does not include the use of heat or flame. As a reader of our tips on this Wire-Sculpture blog, you are probably a wire artist, and therefore you already make cold connections! It doesn’t matter what your skill level is: if you make a simple wrapped loop on a piece of wire or a headpin, or if you create elaborate collars with multiple wires and wire bindings (wraps): as long as there is no heat or flame involved, these are all cold connections. Of course, cold connections can be enhanced by hammering, which has been recently termed by others in this industry as "forging" (this makes no sense to me, because true forging involves heat, and the basic process of hammering to stretch, temper, and/or texture wire or metal doesn’t need the addition of heat).

As most of us already know, the use of wire to make personal ornamentation is the oldest known form of "organized" jewelry making. One of the theories for this fact is because ancient craftsmen found it easy to roll soft copper, silver and gold sheets into a product with no edges that was easy to manipulate without the use of heat: wire! In Chapter 5 of The Complete Metalsmith, Tim McCreight refers to wire wrapping as "the original cold connection." Thanks for asking!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    June 1, 2011 at 8:39 am

    In today’s jewelry markets, the term “cold connections” refers to the ability to stack and join metal pieces, findings, etc. without heat by drilling through and using brads, rivets, etc. to attach pieces together. Add in bending and shaping larger gauges of wire, acid etching flat sheets of metals, such as copper, and incorporating all into one final creation.
    There are several good books out on cold connections if that is the way you want to go, that explain the process more in depth. While we are basically true wire artists, we do occasionally take a step outside of our field and “play” in other mediums. I have taken a class in cold connections when I needed a creative break and found it to be a lot of fun.

  2. avatar

    Pat Whitlow

    June 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Go girl on the forging mention. Someone is always trying to create a new word or term for something that has been done a long time.
    Shame the person creating the new term did not know what they were talking about when creating the new term.
    I do not understand the need for new words when we already have more than any other language in the world.

    • avatar


      June 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Pat, I am sometimes considered ‘old school’ :) but I have found that in today’s world often keeping things simple is best.