If you’re reading this, you probably have some interest in jewelry wire – that’s great! Jewelry making is a popular hobby, and for a good reason! It can be incredibly rewarding to take a piece of metal and turn it into something beautiful.
A wire is a fantastic medium for creating jewelry, and there are many possibilities when it comes to what you can do with it.
In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of jewelry wire: what it is, the different types available, and how to use it. We’ll also provide some tips on working with wire so that you can create beautiful pieces that will stand the test of time.
What Is a Jewelry Wire?
Jewelry wire is a type of metal that is specifically designed for use in making jewelry. It is typically made from copper, brass, or sterling silver and is often plated with another metal, such as gold or silver.
A wire is sold in a variety of thicknesses, called gauges. The thicker the wire, the higher the gauge number. For example, a 12-gauge wire is thicker than a 16-gauge wire.
Wire Gauge Systems
There are two main systems for measuring the thickness of jewelry wire: the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system and the Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) system.
The AWG system is used in the United States, while the SWG system is used in Europe. In general, you will want to use the same gauge system throughout your project so that all your pieces are consistent.
See the chart below for the gauge measurement in inches and millimeters.
Types of Jewelry Wire
Many different types of jewelry wire are available on the market, each with its unique properties. The type of wire you use will depend on the project you’re working on. Some of the most common types of jewelry wire include:
- Sterling silver wire: Sterling silver is a popular choice for jewelry making because it is soft and easy to work with. It is also a very strong metal, so your pieces will be durable.
- Gold-filled wire: Gold-filled wire is made by bonding a layer of gold to a base metal. It is much less expensive than solid gold, but it still has a beautiful, lustrous finish.
- Copper wire: Copper wire is a great choice for beginners, as it is relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. It does tend to tarnish over time, so you will need to take care of your pieces.
- Brass wire: Brass wire is similar to copper wire but has a yellow-gold color. It is also a bit more difficult to work with than copper wire.
- Round Wire
- Half-round wire
- Square wire
- Twisted wire
The most common type of jewelry wire is round wire, which is exactly what it sounds like – a piece of metal formed into a circular shape. It’s the most popular choice for wire wrapping and wire forming. It is also widely available at all jewelry-making supplies vendors. If some vendors do not specify the shape of the wire, normally, it is a round shape wire.
However, the wire also comes in other shapes, such as flat, square, and half-round.
Flat wire is, as you might expect, a piece of metal flattened into a thin strip. It is often used for making wire-wrapped jewelry, as it can be easily wrapped around stones.
Square wire is, as you might guess, a piece of metal formed into a square shape. It can be used for various purposes, including making links and wire-wrapped settings.
Square wires can also be easily bundled together since the connecting sides are flat, allowing designers to create unique designs. One thing to be aware of in the square wire is that you must keep the wire straight to avoid unwanted twists. The twist in the square wire can be very noticeable.
As the name implies, the half-round wire is a piece of metal that is half round and half flat. It is often used for making jump rings, as it is easy to bend into a circle.
- Dead soft
The hardness of wire is measured on a scale of dead soft to the full hard.
Dead soft wire is the most malleable type of wire and is often used for projects that require a lot of bending.
The half-hard wire is less malleable and is often used for projects that require less bending.
The full-hard wire is the least malleable type and is typically only used for projects requiring very little bending.
Tools Required When Working with Jewelry Wire
Jewelry wire can be worked with various tools, including pliers, cutters, and files.
How to Use Jewelry Wire
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of jewelry wire and its available types let’s talk about how to use it.
Step One: Always use sharp tools: When cutting or shaping wire, be sure to use sharp tools. This will help you get a clean, precise cut.
Step Two: Work slowly and carefully: When working with wire, take your time and be careful. This is not material that you want to rush through.
Step Three: Pliers are a must-have tool for anyone working with jewelry. Pliers grip the wire, bend it, and twist it into shape. There are a variety of different types of pliers available, each with its own specific purpose.
Step Four: Cutters are used to cut the wire to the desired length. There are various types of cutters available, each designed for cutting different types of wire.
Step Five: Files are used to smooth the edges of the wire after being cut. This is important, as sharp edges can be dangerous.
One of the most important things to remember when working with wire is always using the correct tools. Wire cutters are specifically designed for cutting wire and will give you a clean cut that won’t damage the wire.
Helpful Techniques When Working with Jewelry Wire
There are a few different techniques that you can use when working with wire.
Wrapping is a common technique used to add decoration to a piece of jewelry. For example, to wrap the wire around a stone, simply place the stone in the center of a length of wire, and then use your pliers to wrap the wire around the stone.
Coiling is another common technique that is used to create the decoration, as well as to add structure to a piece of jewelry. To coil wire, start by wrapping it around a mandrel (a rod used to shape metal). Once you have wrapped the wire around the mandrel a few times, use your pliers to gently squeeze the coils together.
Once you have mastered the basics of working with jewelry wire, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can create.
So, get out your tools and give it a try – we’re sure you’ll love the results!
What is the difference between dead soft, half-hard, and full-hard wire?
The hardness of wire is measured on a scale of dead soft to the full hard. Dead soft wire is the most malleable type of wire and is often used for projects that require a lot of bending. The half-hard wire is less malleable and is often used for projects that require less bending. Finally, the full-hard wire is the least malleable type of wire and is typically only used for projects that require very little bending.
We hope this article has helped you understand the basics of jewelry wire. Now that you know the different types of wire available and the tools and techniques used to work with it, you’re ready to start creating your own unique jewelry pieces! Thanks for reading!