Topics: Proper Gauge Wire for Wrapped Loops

Q.
I am making a bracelet with Swarovski crystals. I am inserting a long eyepin (made of nickel) and wrapping both sides of the bead to make a link. I am linking them together to make a chain of crystals. I don't know what wire I should use for this project, as I am afraid of tarnishing. Please suggest (gauge, hard, soft etc.) a precious wire and also a non-precious wire that will not tarnish.
- Maxine
A.
All metal items tarnish over time (except 24Kt gold). The amount of time it takes for metal items to tarnish depends upon the kind of metal and the environment the metal is subjected to (this includes individual body chemistry, as well as cleaners, solvents, perfumes and more).

For low-tarnish options, you have three options. Color-coated copper wire is a good option if you want to add color to the design. The color coating protects the surface of the wire from tarnishing agents; depending on the use, it can wear off over time.

Gold-filled wire takes advantage of the tarnish resistant qualities of gold, at a more affordable price than pure gold.

Sterling silver Argentium™ wire is a special alloy of sterling silver that is resistant to tarnishing.

For your application, the recommended wire hardness is half-hard as it will hold whatever shape you give it. Most Swarovski crystals will fit on 22-gauge wire. If you add other beads to your current design, be sure to check the ''How big are the bead holes?'' chart to get an idea of what stringing material will best suit the beads.

Choose from any of these half-hard, 22-gauge wires for your jewelry design.

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