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Friday, March 27, 2009

sterling silver wire

In looking for new ways to create stunning jewelry pieces, many jewelers and artisans have started to turn to new materials in their art. Some choose to use metals that may not have been in common usage before – such as titanium or stainless steel. Others look at metals that have been used for centuries in a new way. Silver has been a mainstay in the jewelry industry for hundreds of years, but today's artisans choose to work with it in a different format, as is seen in silver wire jewelry.

Silver wire is an incredibly useful form of silver. It can be shaped into many different pieces of jewelry, and it can also be used as components of other jewelry pieces. Sterling silver wire is the most expensive type of silver wire – it is composed of 925 (92.5% pure) silver and is solid throughout. This type of wire can be easy to work with or it can be quite stiff – depending on the gauge of the wire used. The heavier the silver wire is, the harder it is to bend. Silver wire jewelry that is hammered, flattened or textured is usually made with pure silver wire, as it retains its properties while worked.

An alternative to sterling silver wire is silver plated wire. This type of jewelry wire is composed of a core (usually copper, but occasionally base metal or brass) that is coated with several layers of sterling silver finish. It looks virtually the same as sterling wire, but this type of silver wire is much less expensive to purchase. Silver plated wire can also be easier to work with – copper is much easier to bend and mold, so having the copper at the wire's core makes it a more easily shaped material. Higher quality silver plated wire will also be coated with an anti-tarnish coating, which also helps to keep it from reacting with your skin.

Most silver wire jewelry is made with a series of wraps or spirals, and can also include glass beads, crystals and even precious gems. The wire can be used as an accent, or as the base of the jewelry piece - it can also be used to hold other materials together. The free form nature of silver wire jewelry means that most pieces are one of a kind, which appeals to many jewelry collectors. The affordability of silver wire jewelry over other types of silver jewelry is also a draw to this craft.

Try your hand at making your own silver wire pieces, or find one of the many craftspeople who make this jewelry to create a custom piece just for you. This sort of jewelry is an excellent way to have a one of a kind piece without having to spend the money to have a high end jeweler create something for you.

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