Ask the Experts Wire Gauges Q&A

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What is the best gauge wire to use with the wire jig? The best gauge to make jump rings?

- Sandra

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Wire jigs can accommodate a range of wire gauges, from the very fine 32-gauge up to the heavier 16- to 14-gauges. 22- to 16-gauge wires are strong enough to be jigged as earring components, bracelet links and necklace chains.

Jump rings can also be made using a range of wires; for strength and durability, it is better to work between 22- to 16-gauges in a half-hard strength. 

The rule of thumb is to use the heaviest wire that suits your design as well as your components. A very delicate chain would look better finished with a 22-gauge jump ring versus a 16-gauge jump ring, and a large pendant would look better, as well as will hold up better, by being connected to a chain or finding using an 18- to 16-gauge jump ring versus a 22-gauge jump ring.

Types of round wire to use when using the jig or creating jump rings include sterling silver, gold-filled and colored copper.

- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Artist and Instructor