Making Jewelry with Wire

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This blog post serves as a guideline on which wire gauge and hardness to choose for jewelry making. It may take some trial and error with different gauges to get a true feel for what will work best for you.

Always remember:  the larger the gauge, the smaller the wire’s diameter.

30-28 gauge

This wire is very thin and can break easily.
It is primarily used for intricate wire work like coiling, weaving and knitting.
It can also be used for wire wrapping very small beads.

26 gauge

This wire is still very thin but much stronger and not as easily kinked or broken.
It is best used for coiling, weaving, knitting, wire wrapping, wrapping stones and stringing pearls/beads.  

24 gauge

This is the most versatile of the thin wire gauges. It can be used for a variety of things including coiling, weaving, binding, spiraling, making headpins and small jump rings.
This is also a great wire for stringing pearls and beads as well.

22-20 gauge

 This wire is a great all-purpose wire.
This wire if often used for ear wires, head pins, eye pins, jump rings, spirals, frames, small clasps and wire settings for small to medium stones.
These gauges are sturdy enough to hold their shape.

18-16 gauge

This gauge wire is great for sturdy clasps and jump rings.
It can also be used for making bracelets like cuffs and bangles, rings and necklaces.

14-12 gauge

Primarily used for creating thick components like clasps, rings, cuffs and bangles.
A thick gauge wire like this offers a dramatic looks without a heavy metal aesthetic.
You will need strong jewelry making tools while working with this wire.


Wire Hardness

Soft wire offers little to no resistance and is very pliable. This wire won’t form hard angles, but is great for coiling and wrapping.

Half hard wire offers a lot more resistance and can be very versatile. It is soft enough to bend easily but hard enough to hold its shape. It is great for coiling and wrapping as well as making ear wires, clasps, jump rings and hoop earrings.


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