Aspect Ratio

This is a term applied to jump rings and is particularly useful to chain maille practitioners, as it refers to the internal diameter of a jump ring in relation to the thickness of the wire gauge.



AWG stands for American wire gauge, while SWG stands for standard wire gauge - both are wire measurements that use a numerical system to indicate the thickness of wire, however they are not equivalent to one another. eg 16 AWG is 18 SWG, however some gauges will have a fraction of a milimetre difference to the closest equivalent - AWG is used in item descriptions, and thickness in milimetres is also provided.



I use the following terms to describe the surface finish of items: 

  • Matte - these items will not be shiny 
  • Unpolished - these items will generally have surface imperfections, such as small and light scratches
  • Semi-polished - these items will have a smoother surface, with minor imperfections polished out, but will generally be matte
  • Polished - these items will have a smooth, shiny and / or glossy mirror-like finish
  • Brushed - these items will be matte, and have a visible grain going in one direction


Flush Cut

This refers to the method used (and result) of cut jump rings - a fine blade is used to get a flush cut, resulting in less material being removed during the cutting process, and much smoother, less visible closures (please see images below for machine cut vs saw cut rings)



This refers to the thickness of wire - the lower the gauge, the thicker the wire (eg 12 gauge wire is thicker than 18 gauge).


Internal Diamter (ID)

This refers to the diameter on the inside of holes or loops in findings, so that you can determine the most suitable components to fit.


Machine Cut

This refers to the method used to cut jump rings - machine cut rings are faster to prepare, and will have more material removed during the cutting process, resulting in more visible closures since there may be small gaps, or a pinched effect on the wire ends (please see image below for machine cut vs saw cut rings)



This stands for physical vapour deposition, which is a high quality vacuum plating or coating method with particularly good benefits when coating stainless steel. PVD coating has a ceramic base (titanium nitride), resulting in a very durable finish that is difficult to damage and won't discolour, however the layer is very thin and translucent, so the surface finish of the metal will show through (if the metal is matte and unpolished, the coated finish will be, too). 



This refers to how hard or soft the metal is (particularly wire, and wire-based items like jump rings and pins), which in turn helps determine how malleable the metal is, however keep in mind that the gauge of the wire will also affect how easy it is to work with (eg a 12 gauge half hard wire is harder to work with than an 18 gauge half hard wire, due to the thickness)

  • Annealed - highly malleable, metal in this temper can be easily worked into various shapes and designs, but may have difficulty retaining those shapes under stress
  • Half / Quarter hard - still quite malleable, but will retain their shape a little better and will work harden more easily
  • 3/4 Hard - not being quite a full-hard temper, this is helpful for heavy (thick) guage wire items (especially in steel) that would be very difficult to work with otherwise. 3/4 hard wire will retain shape and work harden very well
  • Hard (or full hard) - this can be difficult to work with but is excellent for designs that need to retain shape through stress or heavy usage (eg earring wires, clasps etc)
  • Spring - very high strength and shape retention, but also more brittle and difficult to work with, cold-working is usually not recommended and best results are gained by annealing then re-tempering the wire



This refers to the process of wire or other metal items becoming harder and stronger through cold-working. Work-hardening occurs naturally when forming or shaping wire and metal items, and will also occur through other procedures such as tumbling or hammering. It is possible to over-work metal items so that they become hard and brittle, to the point of snapping