I've recently been soldering a lot. I quite enjoy doing this, the method, routine and ritual. The concentration. The ever-present slight fear that everything will just melt if the concentration wavers. Hmm.
|Soldered jump rings|
But, specifically, I've been soldering jump rings, working the two edges carefully together and then filling them up with solder and heat, so they hold firm.
|More soldered jump rings|
As I was doing this, I started wondering whether I was being too fussy and creating a whole lof of unecessary work. Assuming they've soldered correctly, they then need pickling out. Then I have to check them to see if they need filing and generally tidying up. And then they need a polish to clean them up and make the silver shine again, even if I'm going to mattify them eventually. Something my tutor taught me, and a lesson worth following, most of the time anyway . . .
|Jump rings waiting to be soldered|
I know that for certain pieces of jewellery, soldering jump rings makes the difference between things staying together and things falling apart. But with many of the jump rings I solder, especially the small ones, they are then used as components for earrings and for pendants, fixing earrings to ear wires, and pendants to thread or chain.
|Soldered and pickled|
In the examples of my finished work shown here, I think with the earrings, pictured above, jump rings may work just as well unsoldered, and this may protect the ear more, should anything catch and pull on the earring.
In both these pairs of earrings, the smaller jump ring is unsoldered, the larger soldered, so I've kind of reached a potential compromise - under pressure the smaller jump ring would come open. But the larger jump ring, being soldered, should hold the earrings a little more securely to the ear hook. Larger jump rings also seem a little more likely to pull apart to me, whereas the smaller sized ones, in the same thickness of wire, have less movement and give to them, and are less likely to pull apart easily.
|Soldered jump ring|
So what I'm asking is, overall, are jump rings really any better for doing this extra work? Are they more dangerous, as should jewellery break easily if this is needed for safety reasons, rather than holding firm and potentially tear or trap someone. Is the best compromise one soldered jump ring, and one unsoldered? Or am I just worrying too much on all counts? I'd love to know what you think, and what you do?