Page 21B   Jewelry Making with Beads and Wire -- What a Beginner Needs to Know

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Jewelry Making -- Choosing Your Jewelry Wire (Continued)

Wire/Attribute Advantages Disadvantages
 

Sterling Silver

More Info.

  • Jewelry made in sterling silver is perceived to have value
  • Sterling silver can be purchased in soft or 1/2 hard
  • Sterling Silver Tarnishes easily in the presence of sulfur compounds like those found in air pollution. 
  • Sterling Silver is expensive.
  • It is harder to take pictures of sterling silver jewelry.
 

Gold

More Info.

  • Jewelry made in solid gold has very high perceived value.
  • Gold can be purchased in soft or 1/2 hard.
  • Gold is naturally tarnish resistant. 
  • Solid gold is very, very expensive.  It is considerably more expensive than sterling silver. 
 

Anti-Tarnish Sterling Silver
(Argentium)

More Info.

  • Jewelry made in sterling silver is perceived to have value
  • Sterling silver can be purchased in soft or 1/2 hard
  • Argentium sterling silver has a natural tarnish resistance.
  • Argentium sterling silver when tarnished, the tarnish is a light yellow color and can be washed off with soap and water.
  • Argentium Sterling Silver is more expensive than ordinary sterling silver but is far less expensive than solid gold. 
  • It is harder to take pictures of sterling silver jewelry.
  • Argentium Sterling Silver comes from the manufacturer with a light coating of tarnish.  It is recommended that you wash this wire with soap and water before you use it to make jewelry components. 
 

Gold-Filled

More Info.

  • Gold-filled wire appears and wears exactly like solid gold.
  • Gold-filled wire is slightly stronger than solid gold.
  • Gold-filled wire can be purchased in soft or 1/2 hard.
  • Gold-filled wire has the same natural tarnish resistance as solid gold.
  • Gold-filled wire has 5% gold alloy squeezed around a gold colored metal core.  For this reason the gold on the wire can not be scratched off by normal wear and tear.
  • Gold-filled wire costs more than sterling silver, but much, much less than solid gold. 
Silver-Plate
  • Silver-plated wire is inexpensive.
  • Silver-plated wire appears like sterling silver for jewelry items that receive limited abrasion like earrings. 
  • Some silver plated wire has an anti-tarnish enamel coating. 
  • The silver plating is 1-2 molecules of silver thick and can be scratched off by normal wear and tear.
  • Silver-plated wire can tarnish.
  • Silver-plated wire is only available as soft wire.
  • Most silver-plated wire contains traces of nickel. 
 

Gold-Plate

More Info.

  • Gold-plated wire is inexpensive.
  • Gold-plated wire appears like 24 kt gold and is suitable for jewelry items that receive limited abrasion like earrings. 
  • Gold-plated wire appears like 24 kt gold and can be hard to match to jewelry components made of other gold alloys.
  • The gold plating is 1-2 molecules of gold thick and can be scratched off by normal wear and tear.
  • Most gold-plated wire contains traces of nickel. 

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