Working With Jewelry Wire for Beginners

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Some of the prettiest jewelry can be made with just wire and beads. Working with jewelry wire, however, takes a certain skill that is learned through time. So if you're a beginner in jewelry making, here are some tips to working wire.

Typically, any wire can be used to make jewelry as long as it is malleable and ductile. This is important because wire is easier to work with when you can manipulate it easily. However, remember that even soft wire will become harder the more you bend and shape it.

Work hardening can be demonstrated by the bending of a paper clip. You can bend the paper clip back and forth until it snaps. As the mettle is being worked, it becomes brittle and breaks apart. This is called work hardening. This will happen with jewelry wire. You can bend it to any shape you want, but if it is overworked the metal may snap or break.

For beginners it may be best to practice with cheap wire. Even the most experienced wire workers will make prototypes with less expensive wires before making a final product with wire made out of precious metals.

Copper wire has many benefits. First of all, it's probably the most readily available wire on the market and is usually quite affordable. Copper is also pliable and can easily be bent and twisted into intricate shapes. You can find copper wire in different thicknesses and grades, as well. While copper is a great material for the beginner, it does have a few drawbacks.

Sometimes the material will develop patina on its surface. Patina - tarnish that forms on bronze and similar metals - will also rub off onto the wearer of the jewelry, so just be aware that the wire may discolor and consider that in your design.

Once you have honed your craft, you can move up into more expensive wires such as gold filled wire, stainless steel wire, and sterling silver wire. Using more expensive wires will give a great look to your jewelry, but you don't want to jump right into using these types of wires.

You may end up breaking or ruining a lot of jewelry wire that can be quite expensive. Once you're a master of jewelry wire, the process will be very rewarding both monetarily and artistically.

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