We carry a wide selection of jewelry wire for all of your wire wrapping and jewelry making needs. From sterling silver jewelry wire & gold filled jewelry wire to high quality inexpensive copper wire, brass wire and gunmetal wire. Gemstones and pearls are a few of the beads that make beautiful wire jewelry. Find everything you need for wire wrapping and beading in sizes from 16 gauge wire to 30 gauge wire. Beadworks also offers silver wire and gold wire by the yard for small projects.
If the wire you had in mind is beading wire for bead stringing, please explore our range of Beadalon Beading Wire in a wide range of sizes and finishes. The strand sizes for Beadalon indicate the flexibility and strength of the wire. Higher strand wires are composed of smaller strands of tension wire woven together.
When working with jewelry wire, it is important to take into consideration the metal’s hardness and gauge. By knowing the different options available and appropriate uses for the different types of jewelry wire, you can really open up your creative possibilities.
Gauges: This is the term used to talk about metal thicknesses. However, unlike most measuring systems, as the gauge number gets larger, the jewelry wire is getting thinner.
16 gauge Jewelry Wire: The thickest jewelry wire typically used in beading applications. This jewelry wire is useful when making wire wrapped ring shanks or metal frameworks for pendants, bangles and clasps.
18 gauge Jewelry Wire: Great for making chandelier style earring findings, clasps, and wire frameworks of many kinds.
20 gauge Jewelry Wire: This is the gauge that most people’s ears are pierced at so if you make your own earring findings, this is the gauge you would want to use for that.
22 gauge Jewelry Wire: Use this wire to wire wrap larger or heavier beads. Some are sensitive to the larger 20 gauge through their ears and prefer this gauge. This gauge also is great for wire wrapped bails on medium to larger sized pendants.
24 gauge Jewelry Wire: Good for linking together medium sized beads. A very convenient gauge to have at hand since it fits through most glass, naturals, pearl and stone beads.
26 gauge Jewelry Wire: The most common gauge used to wrap beads that are smaller in size or have notoriously small holes. These include small sized pearls, apatite, sapphires, and most semi precious briolette beads; trying to use a larger gauge can result in breaking these beads!
28 gauge Jewelry Wire: This gauge is helpful when even 26 gauge does not fit through your beads. Also used most commonly in earring design since it does not add metal weight and is a popular gauge for use in briolette clusters.
30 gauge Jewelry Wire: Your last resort when any of the thicker gauges do not fit. Most commonly has to be used on diamond beads since they can come very small.
Wire Hardness: From Dead Soft to Hard
Jewelry Wire is sold in a few different work hardnesses. As you work with the metal, it gradually becomes harder. Since the only way to return metal to a soft state is by firing it in a process called annealing, it is important to know that you can purchase jewelry wire in the state that you need it in.
Dead Soft: This jewelry wire is closest to just having been annealed. It is very malleable and moves quickly. This is good if you intend on doing a lot of work (hammering, bending, twisting, etc) with the wire before it is made into a finished piece.
Soft: Not as fluid as the dead soft but still allows for a lot of play. This is ideal for intricate wire wrappers and weavers.
Half Hard: This is the most common wire used in beaded jewelry applications. It is still soft enough to work with but hardens quickly. Use this type of hardness when making wire wrapped loops for linking beads. Also good for making you own clasps or ear wires that are more intricate and the wire will harden as you make the piece.
Hard: This wire comes already work hardened into a state that is ideal for making clasps, ear wires or hard structural frameworks (hoops, holding stones in place, etc...)
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