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Types of Jewelry Wire
There are numerous types of wire that are used to make different pieces of jewelry, depending on their gauge and hardness.
- Memory Wire - rigid, pre-coiled wire that is used to make rings, bracelets and necklaces.
- Beading Wire - twisted wire made of stainless steel wire with a nylon coating. It is good to use with abrasive beads. Used to make beaded jewelry.
- Super-thin Beading Wire - a 34-gauge wire used for lightweight beaded jewelry.
- Color-Coated Copper Wire (aka enameled copper wire/magnet wire) - soft, crafting wire that is used to to make jewelry designs.
- Precious Metal Wire - commonly made of sterling silver, fine silver, or gold and used for wire-wrapping, chain-making and other jewelry construction.
The type of wire supplied by TEMCo will be color-coated copper wire.
Jewelry Wire Specifications
Jewelry wire can be made of either non-precious metals like copper and brass, or precious metals like sterling silver or gold.
Copper and brass wire are fairly flexible and easy to shape, with brass wire being stiffer than copper, but it can be manipulated very easily. Copper wire can be hammered to be very thin. Sterling silver is soft, but still holds its shape.
Gold wire is made by fusing 12-karat gold to another material, creating a permanent bond.
The wires offered by TEMCo will be copper.
Wire Size (Gauge)
Wire is measured by diameter, which is indicated by American Wire Gauge (AWG) numbers. American wire gauge (AWG) is used to represent specific standard of round wire, such as diameter, resistance and current. It is used in the United States and Canada. In total, there are 44 standard wire gauges. They range from 0000-40. The thicker the wire, the lower the gauge will be.
Different types of jewelry will use varying wire gauges. Jewelry will mostly be made out of 12-28 gauge wire. For example, bangles and chokers will use a 12 or 14 gauge wire. 16 or 18 gauge wire is used for making jump rings, as well as links used for necklaces and bracelets. Earring wires are usually made out of 18- or 20-gauge wire.
All metals have a certain hardness, which will determine their flexibility.
Currently, wire comes in one of three designated hardnesses: dead soft, half-hard and full hard.
- Dead soft wire is extremely flexible and easily bent into different shapes, especially spirals and other rounded shapes. It does not hold its shape well at stress points, such as clasps. Will be manufactured with a hardness of 0.
- Half-hard wire is flexible, but less so than dead soft wire. It is better at holding its shape under stress and is good for parts of jewelry that are weight-bearing. It is used for making wire loops, and for wrapping wire around itself. Will be manufactured with a hardness of 2.
- Full hard wire is best at holding its shape and tends to spring back after being bent. It is also very good for clasps. It is difficult to make jewelry from hard wire, but it very durable. Will be manufactured with a hardness of 4.
Wire hardness was, at one point, graded on a scale of 0 through 4, based on how many times the wire was pulled through a draw plate, with the wire becoming harder each time it was drawn. This system no longer applies, though, since the hardness of the wire can be adjusted through a process called annealing, where the wire hardness will be changed through heat treating.
Soldering is the process of fusing the jewelry wire to another wire or to a finding, like a head pin or a clasp. To do this, a third metal, which will have a lower melting point than the wire, will be melted down and then filled in to join the two components together.
One technique for making handmade jewelry is wire wrapping, where wire will be connected without being soldered. Instead, the jewelry wire is connected to findings by a wire made into a decorative shape, such as a loop, and which is then wrapped around itself.
Where can I purchase my Jewelry Wire?
TEMCo offers a variety of jewelry wire, in many different colors. View our product selection below. All of TEMCo's wire is made in the USA.
"I needed a 3 phase rotary phase converter to run a DoAll Mill."
The family friend I purchased the mill from had purchased one from TEMCo several years ago, and told me that's the company to deal with. Very competitive price, fast delivery, and a solid, quality product. The shipping was fast, and the phase converter was crated very well and had zero damage from shipping. This thing runs so quietly I hardly know it's running.
I HIGHLY recommend TEMCo!
- mrtriton, 3/15/10
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The staff helped determine exactly the size converter I needed, answered any questions I had thoroughly. The unit was shipped quickly & was very welled packed. The product is so well designed that installation was a breeze & the converter works great.
Got me up and running very quickly.
- Michael Hall, 3/25/11
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