The Chinese Linking Rings illusion is achieved by using rings that appear to be solid but actually have gaps to allow other rings to pass through them. The illusion can also be achieved by using multiple pre-linked rings that can be made to appear separate to the audience. When a magician performs the illusions of the Chinese Linking Rings, he appears to make solid steel rings pass through one another, linking and unlinking or otherwise interacting in impossible ways.
There are a few ways that "magical" linking rings can be constructed. Some rings, called "key rings," have a gap or an opening. This opening is often so well concealed that audience members can examine the rings and believe that they are solid. Other rings are linked and cannot be separated, but can be shown to the audience in ways that make them appear to be a single ring. In addition to these gimmicked rings, magicians use distracting verbal and physical tactics to keep the audience's focus away from the rings and conceal the magician's true actions.
Linking rings can be purchased from a magician's supply store. The most popular choice is the 12-inch diameter ring. Most magicians prefer steel rings that make a dramatic ringing tone when struck together.