Connections are one of the most important processes used in Jewelry making. 

No matter what technique you use, there will be a point when you have to connect your work to some other element or finding. 

When talking about metalsmithing, most of the time we automatically think that soldering or brazing is involved, but it doesn’t have to be. 

A Cold Connection is a term that refers to the process of joining two pieces of metal without. the use of heat.

There two categories of cold connections in metal jewelry making:

  1. Piercing Cold Connections
  2. Adhering Cold Connections

Our Focus for today, with be Piercing Techniques. Piercing techniques involve the use of the saw, hole punches and other metalworking tools to form a connection between the metals we are working with.  

 Adhered cold connections are created using glues, clays and bonding materials.

Examples of Piercing Cold Connections

Loops (Simple and Wrapped)

Wire Weaving or Stitching with Wire

Jump Rings 

Tabs

Rivets and Micro-Screws

Hinges

As with any other jewelry making technique, there are going to be tools involved. 

So once again, I will break them down as they relate to each task and cold connection technique as we go along. 

Loops

Loops are one the most commonly used and undersung heroes of the Jewelry making world.

You will find them everywhere once you start looking closer. The next time you are in a store that sells jewelry, walk over and take a look at a single display and you will see what I am talking about.  Nearly every ear wire on the rack will have a loop on one end to hold the rest of the earring. 

There are two types of loops in cold connection techniques:

  • Simple Loops or Open Loops 
  • Wrapped Loop or Closed Loops
Simple Loops can be opened and closed once completed.
Wire Wrapped Loops can not be reopened but are much more secure. 

Loops - Simple Open Loops

Made from wire, the Simple Loops is can be formed using a variety of tools.

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Stepped Looping  Pliers
  • One Step Looping Pliers

You will also need Flush Cutters.

If you are using your Round Nose Pliers, it is a good idea to mark your spot on the pliers with a Sharpie so that you get the same size loops each time. 

My Simple Loop Resources

Wire Work Basics – Perfect Simple Loops And Beaded Links PDF Guide

Loops - Wire Wrapped Closed Loops

When talking about secure cold connections, the conversation turns to wire wrapped loops. 

Made with wire and either Round Nose or Stepped Looping Pliers, the wrapped loop is more secure than the open loop and has a different aesthetic appeal. 

You will also need a pair Chain Nose Pliers and your Flush Cutters to master this technique. 

Tip – When connecting with wrapped loops, make sure to add the second piece before wrapping the loop. I can’t tell you how many times I have wrapped the loop too soon. HAHA

My Wrapped Loop Resources

Wire Work Basics ~ Perfecting The Wire Wrapped Loop PDF W/Free Earring Pattern

Wire Weaving

Wire Weaving is a technique that can be used as a Cold Connection.  Very similar to sewing, the wire is wrapped around the two metal pieces in varying patterns to connect them together and give texture and appeal to the Jewelry. 

In most instances, a thinner gauge wire is used to stitch back and forth between two thicker metal pieces to connect them. 

In this example, I used  16 gauge copper wire to form the turtle shaped base and 20 gauge copper wire to make the looped bezel for the gemstone cabochon.

I wove back and forth between the two pieces using 26 gauge wire to secure them together and to capture the gemstone in the center. 

Most of the actual weaving is done by hand, but you will need measuring tools, chain nose pliers and flush cutters when using this technique. 

Jump Rings

The Jump ring may be tiny but it is a mighty workhorse in the Jewelry world. 

As a Cold Connection, the jump ring can be opened and closed more than once. In other words it is not soldered closed.

The uses for a jump ring are only limited by the amount of security you need for you connection. 

The properly closed jump ring uses Friction to close and secure the connection between the two ends of the ring itself.

You can purchase premade Jump Rings in various Sizes and Gauges, but you can also make your own pretty easily. 

 

In this Example, I used Jump Rings to connect the four separate Metal Components to form these cute Pretty Kitty Pendulum Earrings. 

Additional tools are required to use Jump Rings in this manner are Hole Punching Pliers or Screw-Down Hole Punching Tool. 

The handmade ear wires are another cold connection example. 

Tips for using Jump Rings

Make sure to rub the ends back and forth across each other to build up the friction action for a secure closure. 

If you buy premade, check the ends to make sure they are both flush so they will close properly.

I do not have a lot of experience in these next few types of Cold Connections so forgive me for not being able to provide much of my own photos or resources. 

But I feel is it important to talk about what they are because hopefully, I will be expanding on them later this year. 

Tabs

Tabs are little pieces of metal that fold up or down and then over another piece of metal you want to connect.

Think of paper dolls and their paper clothes. Those little rectangles of paper that you fold around a sleeve or shoulder are tabs, and they work great in metal, too.

Just saw them out of the same sheet of metal as the rest of the piece.

Tabs can extend up, fold inside, be pressed flush, be decorative and can also be combined with other cold joins like rivets. They can also function as prongs to hold flat-backed objects or stones to a base plate. They can also be used with Slots to create articulated connections. 

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In this instance, you can see that I have used my saw to create 3 tabs at the top of this form. 

I did solder the U-Shaped bezel wire to the backplate, but I will use the tabs at the top to fold over the stone to secure it in the bezel and to create a bail for to connect the pendant to a chain for cording. 

Rivets and Micro-Screws

A Rivet is a short metal pin or bolt for holding together two plates of metal, its headless end being beaten out or pressed down when in place.

Rivets can be made of Wire or Tubing and you can buy premade rivets to use as cold connections in your Jewelry design. 
 
The Tools you will need depend on the type of Rivet you plan to use. 
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Basic Tools for Wire Rivets

  • Steel Bench Block 
  • Flush Cutters
  • Drill and Bits
  • Files
  • Riveting Hammer

Basic Tools for Tube Rivets

  • Steel Bench Block
  • Flaring Tool
  • Jeweler’s Saw
  • Files
  • Riveting Hammer

 

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Micro Screws

The name is a little deceiving because these tiny fasteners are actually more of a bolt than a screw. 

The premise is pretty self explanatory, you will have to drill holes in your metal pieces and the use the bolts and nuts to secure them together. 

Tools needed for using Micro-Screws

  • Drill and Bits or Hole Punch
  • Chain Nose Pliers 
  • Small Screwdrivers
  • Saw or Super Strong Cutters
  • Files

Hinges

A Hinge is a movable joint or mechanism which connects linked objects. 

Let’s take a look at the parts of a typical Hinge.

Diagram of a Hinge

When looking at the make-up of a Hinge, we can ignore the Screw Holes of the Diagrams since we will not be fastening our hinge to a stationary object. 

For our purposes in Jewelry making, the Leaf constitutes the individual pieces of metal to be joined to another. 

As you can see the Knuckles are just Tabs, rolled to form a tubular shape. The Knuckles are fitted together with the tubular opening centered and the Pin is inserted down the length of the opening. 

The ends of the Pins are then finished in such a way that the Pin can not slide out of the Hinge. 

Examples of Hinges in Jewelry

  • Pins for Brooches
  • Lockets
  • Layering 
  • Hoop Earring Posts

 

There are many more ways you can incorporate Cold Connections into your Jewelry Designs and I hope to be able to show you many of them as we go along.

While researching for this post, I even found an idea for using a Rivet to hold a bezel cup onto the backplate which I thought was just fascinating. 

If you take look back at our Outline for the Metalsmithing at Home Basics, you can see that we are nearing the end of the Series. 

Metalsmithing Tasks

The last segment on Finishing and Polishing Basics will be broken down into two parts:

  1. Hand Finishing Tools 
  2. Motorized Finishing Tools

Then we can begin to work on Metal Jewelry Projects together here at The Alluring Bead Boutique. 

I am very excited and so happy to have you here with me. 

Thank you for Stopping by and your Continued Support!

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