Metal Wire FAQ

Metal wire comes in a variety of metals, shapes, gages and condition. We carry copper, brass, nickel silver, sterling silver, argentium, gold-filled, fine silver, bronze, stainless steel, bronze wire and craft wire. Most wire comes in the shape of round, but many of them also come in square and half-round (one side flat, one side domed).

Gage refers to the diameter or thickness of the wire. The higher the gage number, the thinner the wire. Very heavy gages such as 10, 12, and 14 are used for bigger pieces, such as bracelet shanks, ring shanks and heavy chains. Medium gages such as 16, 18 and 20 are the most commonly used for wire wrapping projects. For instance, most headpins and earrings are formed with 20 gage wire. Thinner gages such as 22, 24 and 26 tend to be used more for decorative elements in wire wrapping projects or coiled around other wires. The smallest gages, such as 28 and 30 are primarily used solely for decoration or knitting and crocheting with wire.

Wire comes in the condition of either dead-soft or half-hard. Dead soft wire is much softer as the name implies and is more appropriate for most wire wrapping projects. Half-hard wire has been treated to make it work hard (usually by drawing it through a wire plate). It is much stiffer than dead-soft wire and is a good choice for items you don’t want to bend (i.e. ear wires, clasps).