In this ‘guide to jewellery wire’ article I will outline the difference between the most common types and sizes of wire used in jewellery making. It can be a little confusing when you see different size information for the same wire and it’s not always easy to know which one is best for which project. Therefore I’m going to try and explain what the size different sizes mean and what each one is most commonly used for.
The stiff but moldable wire that we use for jewellery making comes in many different colours, types and sizes and can measured by either gauge or by actual size, which is usually stated in centimeters. The general rule is that the higher the wire gauge number is, the thinner the wire will be, which is the exact opposite to what you might imagine it to be.
Wire Sizes and Uses
Here is a rough conversion guide for the most popular sizes and their common uses.
- 14 gauge – 1.5mm – Very thick wire used for structure. Great for making chokers, bracelets and sculpted rings.
- 16 gauge – 1.2mm – Thick wire used for structure. Great for making chokers and strong clasps.
- 18 gauge – 1.0mm – Medium thick wire used for structure. Great for creating shapes, ring shanks, chokers and wire sculptures.
- 20 gauge – 0.8mm – Medium wire and the most useful to start with, can be used for structure. Great for making findings, using with a jig and creating light weight clasps.
- 22 gauge – 0.6mm – Medium fine wire and another very useful size with many uses. Most beads will fit onto this wire yet it’s still thick enough for making findings and wrapped links. Great for tiaras and rings.
- 26 gauge – 0.4mm – Fine wire commonly used for wrapping. Great for tiara making and making rosary links. Also good for using with small hole beads such as pearls.
- 32 gauge – 0.2mm – Very fine wire also known as lacemakers wire. Great for using as thread with seed beads when making brooches and for doing fine work. Good for wire crochet and knitting.
There are of some other sizes in between but I’ve concentrated on the most commonly used ones. These also just happen to be the ones we stock here on Downland Crafts. To see what’s currently in stock simply look for wire under our jewellery making supplies section.
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I hope you’ve found this ‘Guide To Jewellery Wire’ article useful. If you have any questions either leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer you.
Until next time, happy crafting,