Topics: Gemstones, Wire
I am designing a piece which uses mostly seed beads (11/0) on a fine wire, which has to bend and then double-back through some small gem beads a second time. The wire has to be thin enough to go through 4mm gem beads twice, but still hold the shape to which I bend it. What do you suggest?
Gemstone beads usually have a small hole so a 26-, 28- or 30-gauge wire should work. (The higher the number the thinner the gauge.) To have maximum strength and the ability to hold its shape in your design, use the thickest wire that will pass through twice. Work with the most malleable temper of wire, called dead-soft, as it will take the stress of the manipulation as well as make your life easier. Types of wire with these parameters include sterling silver, gold-filled, sterling silver-filled or colored copper wires, such as Zebra Wire™. The color of the wire is an important factor to consider as you want it to blend with beads that are transparent or translucent.
- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Artist and Instructor