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How to Choose Wire for Wire Wrapping

Chunky Gold Statement Necklace Drusy Agate by Popnicute Jewelry

In this post I will answer two questions from my followers on Facebook.

How to choose wire for wire wrapping?

The first question came from Olga Bodan, a self taught wire wrapper.

From my years of doing wire wrapping and metal working, my rule of thumb is to always go with a solid metal wire. Meaning: I will not work with plated metals. Stay away from any plated or coated wire. Plated and coated wire have their place in the jewelry industry but if longevity is what you seek, especially for something that will be worn often, I’d stay away from it.

The plating on metal or wire has the tendency to rub off after a short while on places that are in contact with the body and the coatings on wire can flake off, sometimes even during the making process if you’re not careful enough.

Is it really cost effective?

If cost effectiveness is your concern, I’d go for sterling silver filled or gold filled wire. Gold filled or rolled gold has a much thicker layer of gold over base metal that can last 10 – 30 years before exposing the base metal inside it. Metal plating is like a thin coat of precious metal on top of a base metal. Rolled gold as the name suggest is actually a solid layer of gold that is mechanically bonded over the base metal. Gold filled has the requirement to have a minimum of 5% gold layer on top of the base metal. The amount of gold in a gold filled wire can be up to 25 times thicker than its plating counterpart.ve

 

sterling silver filled vs silver plated

While gold filled can be a good economical choice, in my humble opinion, you're losing money working with silver filled wire.

Sterling silver filled or silver filled metal can contains 5% to 10% of sterling silver (.925) layer that’s mechanically bonded over copper or brass core. If you compared the price of solid sterling silver to silver filled, silver filled is priced about half as much as the sterling silver. All in all, silver filled wire gave the illusion of saving money while in reality it’s a much more expensive metal to work with given the amount of silver (10%) that’s in it. And the sale value is much lower than a solid sterling silver jewelry.

While gold filled can be a good economical choice, in my humble opinion, you’re losing money working with silver filled wire.

My advice is and always will be: work with solid metal, whether it’s a base metal like copper and brass, or a precious metal like sterling silver and gold.

In what ways do I get my inspiration from?

This question came from Michael Ma.

I’ve always loved nature and that’s where I drew my inspirations from. As you can see in my gallery, I have a lot of jewelry that are made in the forms of flowersbirdsleaves, and such. I took their real forms as my inspirations and transformed them into a more contemporary style that are wearable. The process of simplifying and abstracting the shapes is so much fun. 

My stones and materials also inspired my creativity. Something about their colors and shapes that would trigger ideas in my head. As a touchy-feely person who likes to touch and smell random objects in stores, textures make me happy. When I see an interesting texture, I’d think of ways I can replicate it in metal. I like to use all of my senses when designing. 

Another source of inspirations for me is textile. Growing up with a mother that sew all the time, I’ve developed a fondness to high quality fabrics and embellishments. The pliability of fabric intrigues me. Although I can’t sew as well as my mother, the things she taught me definitely influenced my metal work. You can see this in my ruffles and fold forming work!

When I see an interesting texture, I'd think of ways I can replicate it in metal. I like to use all of my senses when designing.

So tell me, what inspires you? I'd love to learn where other artists draw their inspirations from.

 

I took a challenge to do a facebook live video, once a day, for 5 days in a row to familiarize myself with the format. Of course, the first video I did, I goofed up and forgot to turn on the screen rotation on my phone so my video was sideways. Good thing it was only a less than 2 minutes introduction video so nothing was lost. And if you viewed it from your phone it wouldn’t matter much anyway. I asked my followers to ask me questions for the next video. I hope you liked my answers!

Choosing wire for wire wrapping. In the sea of wire options, which wire is the right one for your projects? Is it sterling silver, silver/gold filled, silver/gold plate?
Kharisma.

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Kharisma Sommers

Kharisma Sommers

When I'm not working on improving my metalsmithing skills, I like to take macro photos of flowers (but only when the weather is warm because I'm picky like that). I spend my days watching funny animal videos on Facebook and/or glued on Netflix. It's hard to imagine that I won awards for my jewelry if you judge me by my silly pajamas.

I wanna know... What are you thinking? Tell me what's on you mind...

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