We are wire fanatics at The Bead Gallery, and hope that you've been bitten by the wire bug as well! To us, it's one of the most creative ways of expressing artistically and functionally, AND super fun!! Before I continue, we are putting it on sale by the ounce, for the FIRST TIME EVER in 19 years, stock up, and if it's a hit, we'll do it again in the future! Click here to get super pricing our OUR FAVORITE wires!!
A little bit about wire as we tell you our personal favorites, and why!
Wire comes in different hardnesses from dead soft to hard, and depending on your project, we recommend different malleability AND gauges!
When you want to shape a component, make jump rings or bind tiny beads to a component, soft wire is the best performer! It's easier to shape and bend to your will, however, you must follow through with some kind of hardening like hammering or tumbling for your piece to structurally keep its shape. Half hard is perfect for wire wrapping loops, as it's been pre-hardened a bit for a "tighter" or bouncier feel, and will hold it's shape better than soft. So especially in the thinner gauges, we always use half hard when wire wrapping.
Sterling silver half hard round wire is made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal like copper, to give it strength. Gold filled half hard round wire is 14 karat gold securely bonded to a base metal, and the gold portion is 5% of the total weight. For rose gold, a bit of copper is added to the mix for that pretty pink color!! We rarely used plated wires because the precious metal plating tends to rub and wear off too quickly leaving only the base metal (less than a week in one test case) and we figure that after all your hard work, that's a sad thing!
Wire can be your best friend. It can teach you about resistance, pushing beyond limits, creativity and expression, and it lasts like no other medium we've worked with.
26 gauge half hard is the thinnest on sale and we use it for tiny wire wraps and briolette wraps.
24 gauge half hard is perfect for wrapping pearls and smaller beads.
22 gauge half hard is our go-to for wire wrapping bracelets and anything else that needs a sturdy hold.
18 gauge soft is wonderful for smaller clasps and components, and especially lightweight earring components!
16 gauge soft is probably our most popular of the thicker gauges, as we use is all the time for our wire components that we make and sell, like hearts, clasps, jumprings..
14 gauge soft is the thickest on sale, and popular for bangles! We also use it interchangeably with the 16 gauge for larger components. Please note, you need specialized cutters to safely and effectively cut this wire. Ask us!
Watch Jason's quick favorite wire review HERE!
Watch Michelle's quick favorite wire review HERE!
Watch Anna's quick favorite wire review HERE!