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Understanding The Most Frequently Used Wires For Wire Jewelry

Updated on November 21, 2011

Wires for Jewelry Making

Choose the best wire for the job
Choose the best wire for the job | Source

Metal Wire Types For Jewelry Making

Learning about the wide variety of wires available for wire jewelry making can not only give a wire art jeweler a greater arena of interesting materials to work with, it can definitely provide a boost in creativity. Give yourself a leg up by familiarizing yourself with these lovely wires available for you wire jewelry "palette":

PURE SILVER, also known as fine silver, has the highest silver content and is often the preferred metal for wire weaving. It’s the whitest colored silver as well as the softest. While most wire gets harder the more it’s worked, fine silver does not harden as quickly or as much as some of the other metals.

STERLING SILVER is an alloy of copper and fine silver, if the ratio is 925 parts fine silver to 75 parts copper. This proportion gives the resultant sterling wire greater strength without altering its coloration too greatly. Sterling silver is often the preferred metal for jewelry making because of its combined appeal in terms of price, durability, malleability and decorative appearance.

ARGENTIUM SILVER, a new silver alloy, is tarnish-proof (well, mostly) and because of that, it’s replacing the use of sterling silver for many. If you want to heat the ends of your wire to make little balls, argentium also will form those balls more nicely than sterling.

Copper and Brass Wires for Jewelry Making

COPPER is an almost pure metal, malleable yet sturdy, and in ready supply. With its rich color and flexibility, copper is a desirable metal for jewelry and has roots in ancient history. While often used for prototyping metal jewelry, copper holds some promise for more extensive use in wire jewelry today. As the price of precious metals today soars, copper is becoming an obvious alternative for making jewelry although this phenomena is also now beginning to focus on copper as more "precious".

BRASS, an alloy of copper and zinc, is a hard metal. Its color range from bright yellow to greenish or reddish yellow, making this anappealing metal for jewelry making . Yellow brass has the greatest amount of zinc in it and is the most malleable of the brass alloys. An inexpensive metal, brass has wide applications for jewelry.

Colored Wires For Jewelry Making

COLORED WIRES are a wonderful addition to wire work for wire jewelry. Their ability to enhance, coordinate and contrast with the above metals makes them an exciting and valuable design asset. Another advantage that makes colored wires a particularly appealing option is that they don’t tarnish.

COLORED ALUMINUN WIRE, known as anodized aluminum, is available in a number of vibrant colors. Very soft, pliable and easy to use, it also can be sensitive to scratching and is more costly.

NIOBIUM WIRE is also vibrantly colored but quite stiff, and it can be difficult to manipulate. Its strength and vibrancy however, do make it an obvious choice for certain wire jewelry making applications.


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