Help contain your parts while making them easy to grasp…
A bead mat is a soft cloth made of vellux. The high pile of the fibers helps to keep your beads, jump rings, and other components from rolling all over the place. But it also allows you to grasp your open rings easily with your chain-nose pliers. These vellux mats are commonly found in bead stores or wherever you find beading supplies, but in a pinch you could also use a fluffy hand towel, or a scrap of a similar type fabric. Ideally, you want something without loops in the fibers, so that your pliers don’t “catch” the loops.
There are also a variety of sticky bead mats available which can work great for containing your parts, but the loft of the vellux is what aids in the ability to grasp a jump ring for quick assembly. Because the fiber holds the rings “aloft”, you are able to grasp the rings in the exact position you need to open or close them, without re-positioning your grasp every time.