About Sterling Silver Jewelry Wire
for Jewelry Making

A popular jewelry wire for wire jewelry making is sterling silver jewelry wire. Get must know facts to make jewelry with wire and beads easily.

Silver Jewelry Wire

Knowing what you can and cannot do with wire is key to making beautiful, lasting wire jewelry.

Sterling silver is an alloy made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. An alloy is a metal that is made of two or more metals.

The copper in wire causes it to tarnish.

Silver wire is very malleable or pliable, which is referred to as temper. Temper gives an indication of the malleability of the wire, or its ability to hold its shape and to bend fluidly

Sterling silver jewelry wire is most commonly available in three tempers: dead soft (most malleable), half hard (less malleable) and full hard (least malleable).

There's a lot to learn about jewelry making wire made of sterling silver and other metals.

As a beginner, look to a project's supply list for which wire temper to purchase. As you gain more experience, you'll decide which temper of wire you want to use in a project.

When in doubt, half hard wire is the best all-around choice for making wire jewelry. I use half hard wire most often and have never used full hard wire.

Common Sterling Silver Jewelry Wire Gauges

Use these guidelines to make different types of wire and bead jewelry.

Wire gauge measures the diameter or thickness of wire.

The smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire. Twenty gauge wire is thicker than 22 or 24 gauge wire.

General Guide to Wire Gauge Uses
for Making Wire Jewelry

  • 10 gauge - Suitable for making wire cuff bracelets
  • 12 gauge - Suitable for making wire bracelets, neck wires
  • 14 gauge - Suitable for making wire bracelets, neck wires
  • 16 gauge - Suitable for making rings, neck wires
  • 18 gauge - Suitable for general wire jewelry making, neck wires
  • 20 gauge - Common for general wire jewelry making, earwires and findings
  • 22 gauge - Suitable as a wire wrap wire and making some findings
  • 24 gauge - Suitable as a wire wrap wire
  • 26 gauge - Suitable for knitting, crocheting or twisting
  • 28 gauge - Suitable for knitting, crocheting or twisting
  • 30 gauge - Suitable for knitting, crocheting or twisting

You may find this wire gauge chart of millimeter and gauge equivalents handy when making wire jewelry.

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