Daily Wire Tip: Transferring Designs from Craft Wire to Argentium Wire

By on September 24, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

I make wire wrapped rosaries using a 22-gauge copper non-tarnish silver craft wire. What would I need to use in Argentium® wire? Still 22-gauge? Hard or soft? Thanks for your help.

-Jana in Carrollton, Texas

Answer:

Hi Jana, hen choosing to work with Argentium wire, you would use the same gauges, shapes, and tempers that you normally would. The only difference I have found is that the temper (hardness) of Argentium is just a bit harder than gold-filled wire, about the same as sterling silver. These metals tend to be harder than copper.

Congratulations on your choice to try a wonderful product! I hope you enjoy it as much as the WS Faculty and I do.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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3 Comments

  1. avatar

    Laurie Baker

    September 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Argentium Wire is BEAUTIFUL to work with. The temper I have found to be absolutely perfect! Good luck to you & great choice!

  2. avatar

    Vanessa

    September 26, 2010 at 1:02 am

    I also make rosaries, and I find that 22 gauge is perfect for most rosary applications no matter what metal you are using.

    As to temper, well, half hard is my usual favorite for a straight-forward design (going straight through the bead, ending on both ends with a eyelet). Some large beads or rosary bracelets can take a 20 or even an 18 gauge wire, (and I’ve even seen wrapped rosaries use 16 gauge wire!) so it pays to experiment if you are branching out into fancier
    designs.

    As picking a temper for your wire, wire wrapped beads are another story.

    Using a dead soft wire, then using a rubber mallet to harden the straight bit going through the bead (I’m sure there’s a technical term for it) works very nicely for having both a stiff support for your bead, AND the wire is soft enough to bend around the bead.

    As for the eyelets themselves, I find that the wire, even dead soft wire,
    hardens nicely when you make the eyelet. It’s just you have to be a bit
    careful, because if you are used to exerting the force needed for a
    half-hard wire, you can over-exert and break your eyelet!

    So take it slow for the first 20 or so rosary wraps, and you’ll get the
    hang of it. Keep that “wasted wire” because some places will happily give you money for it! Just make sure your scraps are carefully labeled, because they WILL NOT sort the metal for you.

  3. avatar

    Karen

    September 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Vanessa: Thank you very much for the wonderful information. I just today asked a question about this very medium. I am a beginner and have had trouble with my wraps on the rosaries when the links are connected. I can wrap perfectly if just making a straight headpin design for earrings or the like but when it comes to connecting links I have trouble. I have been wanteing to try the dead soft wire in my rosarie type links but was afraid it would be too weak to support the entire piece. Now I have a good idea how to make it work. You have encouraged me to try it at least. I don’t own any dead soft wire as of yet, but will get some soon and try. Thanks for taking the time to post the information.

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