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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wired

One of my favorite materials to work with when I am creating jewelry is silver wire. I love the versatility to be able to create basic jewelry components like headpins and jump rings, as well as coils, cages and clasps. Wire comes in different gauges or thicknesses, different shapes and also comes in 3 types of hardness, full hard, half hard and dead soft. I work with half hard and dead soft wire. Dead soft wire is pliable and very easy to manipulate. This type is great for making coils, spirals, coiled beads and wrapping.

Half hard wire is great for loops, holds its shape well, and is a staple in making earrings, connectors etc.

Wire can comes in different shapes such as round which is the most common, half round and square. The gauge of a wire refers to the thickness, with the higher the number meaning the thinner the wire. I use mostly 21 or 22 gauge wire, but the thicker 18 and 16 gauge wire is great for making heavier clasps, bangles and rings.

Whereas 26 and 28 gauge would be very fine delicate wire for finer pieces of jewelry. You can get interesting effects by hammering silver wire which will also "work harden" your piece, meaning that it will get stiffer as you work with it. If you want to learn more about making jewelry with wire, I would recommend these great books:


Wire Style by Denise Peck

Bead on a wire by Sharilyn Miller Pin It

5 comments:

Beaderjojo said...

Fantastic job! Your wire working is superb!

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Ooooo, love that first bracelet. Gorgeous!

storybeader said...

great post and definitions! Always wondered about the dead soft and half hard! Thanks, {:-D

Waterrose said...

That is a beautiful piece of art! Thanks for the information on the different wires. It's always interesting reading about other's crafts.

Lara Lutrick said...

WOW, what great and beautiful wire work. Just love the pale green first bracelet. Lovely

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