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A Word About Wire

I guess it’s all very well to talk about the wire we use in our creations, but perhaps it would be nice if everyone understood what it means when we talk about Gold/Silver Filled and Argentium.  Even Sterling Silver – I’m sure I only learned about what Sterling Silver really was when we made the decision to use only these types of metals.

IMG_6181I’ll start with Sterling Silver:  I don’t want to get too technical but basically, Sterling Silver is a mixture of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.  Sterling Silver wire does tarnish reasonably easily.

Argentium Silver is a modern silver alloy made up of 93.5% around 6.5% metalloid germanium. Now that doesn’t mean much to me but I figure that the silver component is higher so that has to be a good thing.  Essentially, there is a great deal of information about this metal but Argentiumwhat concerns me is this:  it’s easy to work with; there is no firescale which means less tedious work to get it all nice and shiny; it is highly tarnish resistant and it is much cheaper than both fine silver and even Sterling Silver.  This all makes Argentium wire a good metal to use in jewellery making.

Silver Filled WireSilver Filled wire is 5 or 10% Sterling Silver bonded to copper or brass alloy.  The silver is thick enough to withstand small nicks and won’t wear off and it is much cheaper than the other silvers. The downside of Silver Filled wire is that the inner copper or alloy is a different colour so if the ends of the wire were to show in a piece of jewellery, it would spoil the look.

Gold Filled wire (or Rolled Gold) became very popular early in the 20th century and is a percentage of gold bonded to jewellers brass.  The gold can be ofGold Filled Wire 10/20, 12/20 or 14k thickness.  The minimum allowable is 1/20th, by weight, of the total piece. Our usual supplier uses 14k.   14/20k means that there is 14/20ths gold of the total weight of the piece. Because jewellers brass is a similar colour to the 14 karat gold, there is no problem with cut ends showing and makes an ideal much cheaper replacement for 9 karat gold.  It is highly durable, tarnish resistant and needs no special care.

We believe in quality so we always choose the best material for the pieces and we will always state what our pieces are made from.  As we can make to order, each of our designs can be requested in the wire of your choice.

 

 

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