The Best Wire Temper for Rings
by Dale Armstrong
Question #1:

I recently purchased some beautiful faceted stones from WireJewerly, and now I want to wrap them into a ring using gold filled wire 22-gauge dead soft. Everything goes together well (thanks to your DVD lessons), but when I get to the prongs, they don't stay where they are supposed to be, and the stone slips out easily. Do you have any hints as how you get your prongs to stay in place? Thank you for your answer.

-Gloria in Kettle Falls, Washington

Question #2:

Which wire temper should be used for making rings (in general), dead soft or half hard?

-Barbie in Girard, Ohi
Instructions
Answer #1:

Hi Gloria, the reason your prongs will not stay in place (or possibly in shape) is because you are using dead soft wire! Please use half hard when making prong rings. In a small gauge like 22, half-hard wire is really not that hard to work with and actually will behave much better than soft because it will keep its shape after you have bent it, where you want it to be bent! Some folks teach and work in nothing but dead soft, however it will not hold up to a serious geometric design like the prong ring.
Think about it this way - yes, the soft wire will work harden where you make the prong bends, but the length that runs from the ring construction to the pronged end will still be soft; as such, it will have the tendency to bend where it wants to. Also, when you use the side wires to lock the prongs around the stone, these connections can easily pull a soft wire out of place.
I can't speak for other instructors, but I know that when I specify a wire gauge and temper for a project, it is for very this very reason - they work! Now, try the design again using half-hard wire, and see if your prongs don't stay where you would like them to be - and let me know how it works for you!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
Dale Armstrong's The Best Wire Temper for Rings - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Design, , Prong Ring
Answer #2: Additional info to #1

Hi Barbie, this is a tricky question! Most traditional wire rings are made using half hard wire, but as you will read below, soft is perfect for some designs.

The classic Pharaoh's cabochon ring is generally made using half hard wire, however when using a fragile stone like an opal or malachite it is smart to mix the tempers, using soft wire where the wire crosses the top of the stone.

The traditional Prong Ring is best made using half hard wire because the wires the prongs are made of must be able to keep their "spring" to hold the stone in its setting. (No, in my opinion soft wire cannot be substituted for the creator's "ease," because it will not hold up!)

My personal designs, both the Anything Cocktail and Filigree Pearl rings are best made using half hard wire, again for construction stability in the artist-created filigree as well as for locking in the snapsets.

When working on ring designs such as the Crystal Wave ring, soft wire is necessary because the design process depends on the shape being "stretched" as the ring is created (which also hardens the project while it is being made).

Simple single or multiple bead rings created for children or as adult pinkie or toe rings can easily be made in soft wire, as well as button ring designs.

In my personal opinion, I guess the easiest way to determine which temper of wire should be chosen for a ring design is to think about the "reason" for the ring. Will the ring be worn on a regular basis? Is the design large and/or ornate? Is it to be worn by a man or a woman? I am sure that there are many wire artists who have their own preferences, however I have been making and selling wire rings for about 18 years and the above is based on my experience and many happy customers. Properly made and sized wire rings are very popular. Have fun with them, but make sure when you sell one that it is a "stable" product.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
Dale Armstrong's The Best Wire Temper for Rings - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Design, , Filigree ring
Dale Armstrong's The Best Wire Temper for Rings - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Design, , Cocktail rings
Dale Armstrong's The Best Wire Temper for Rings - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Design, , Cocktail ring

Materials

Ring Series - Part 5
DVD-RINGS5
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $39.95
  • Gold Club Price: $29.96
Add to Bag
21 Gauge Square Half Hard 14/20 Gold Filled Wire
H4-21SQH
  • Lesson Quantity: 3.00 feet
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 5FT
  • Price: $24.30
  • Gold Club Price: $18.22
Add to Bag
21 Gauge Half Round Half Hard 14/20 Gold Filled Wire
H4-21HRH
  • Lesson Quantity: 16.00 inches
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 5FT
  • Price: $10.80
  • Gold Club Price: $8.10
Add to Bag
Wire
Shop Now
Add All Items to Cart

Tools

Chain Nose Wire Plier
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
Add to Bag
Flat Nose Wire Plier
G2-506
  • G2-506
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
Add to Bag
Round Nose Wire Plier
G2-507
  • G2-507
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
Add to Bag
C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
Add to Bag
Stainless Steel Ring Mandrel Sizes 1-15
G7-2
  • G7-2
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
Out of Stock
Small Rawhide Hammer 1 Inch - Pack of 1
G3-1
  • G3-1
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $21.95
  • Gold Club Price: $16.46
Add to Bag
Add All Items to Cart
  • Category: Classic
  • Technique(s): Wrapping, Design, General Education