You cannot make jewellery without jewellery wire, and it is in almost every jewel maker’s kit. The wire is available in various sizes, colours, strengths, metal substances. Jewellery wire is also sold in bulk on spools, and as smaller coils.
As a jewel maker, you are likely to consume a lot of wire, so it may be best to start with a smaller coil until you are sure that you need more for your project, when you can purchase in bulk, which may be cheaper. The type of jewellery that you choose will be determined by your project, as there are different types of wires for different purposes.
Memory wire is pre-coiled jewellery wire that is use for making necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The wire gets its name, because it can retain the coiled shape, even when it is stretched.
Super- thin beading jewellery wire is super thin and is useful when working with small beads. It can be difficult to work with, and should be handled carefully.
Coloured jewellery wire is coloured-coated copper or sometimes based on nobium, and is available in several diameters, and is soft and extremely malleable. Relatively inexpensive, the wire retains its shape very well, and is easy to work with.
You may also find the need for plastic coated wire that features brightly coloured plastic. It is easy to work with and bends very easily.
As a jewel maker you may often need wires made of precious metals. Precious metal jewellery wire is used for making chains and wire wrapping. Precious metals fluctuate in price, and the costs of precious metal wires can vary. The wires are made of precious metal such as silver, gold, and platinum, and are available in different shapes and hardness. The most commonly used are gold and silver. Precious metal jewellery can be difficult to work with because they become brittle as they are bent.
Like the cords and threads, wires come in weights and diameters, known as gauges. Generally, the higher the gauge number denotes wire that is softer and thinner. As a guide to choosing jewellery wire, you should choose higher gauge wire for more delicate jobs. The 30 gauge wire can be suitable for making chains, rings or working with beads. The tools needed with also be more delicate. For heavier jewellery, you can opt to use 16 gauge wires for making items such as napkin rings, or for the frames of lampshades.
Another important property of metal and the wires is the hardness. Jewellery wire is defined by hardness with designations of hard, half-hard, or dead soft. Working with different wires can be one of the joys of jewellery making, as it provides various options for designing.