How to Choose a Jewelry-making Wire Gauge

by Michelle Belle

Making your own jewelry is fun and rewarding. With jewelry findings and your creative imagination, you can make jewelry in every style to complement each outfit in your closet or give jewelry projects as gifts. The use of jewelry wire in both decorative and practical applications has always been important in creating complex, attractive jewelry designs. You can use jewelry-making wire to craft links for chains, create stone settings and make rings, pendants and earrings. Jewelry wire is measured by different gauges, or diameter sizes. Thick jewelry-making wire is best for some jewelry making, while delicate jewelry-making wire is easiest for other pieces. Use our tips to choose wire for a jewelry project and make jewelry with professional flair.

Choosing Jewelry-making Wire Gauge:

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  1. Thick jewelry wire:

    Heavy-duty jewelry wire is excellent for large shapes, bracelet bases, big clasps, and hefty rings. Typical thick jewelry wire is 14-gauge or 16-gauge and is great for supporting heavy jewelry pieces. Thicker jewelry wire is also available and is the perfect choice for artistic or outlandish projects. Thick jewelry wire offers a dramatic look with a heavy-metal aesthetic. You will need strong jewelry-making tools when working with thick wire gauges.

  2. Medium jewelry wire:

    Medium-gauge jewelry wire is very versatile and can be used for many projects. Thicker wire, such as 18-gauge and 20-guage wire, is strong enough for average-sized jump rings, clasps and pins. Large bead holes and stone settings are easily crafted using 22-gauge wire. Medium-gauge wire is easy to use and can be found in many colors. Use medium-gauge wire for dramatic sculpted pendants and chandelier earrings that make a statement.

  3. Thin jewelry wire:

    Thin jewelry wire is delicate and perfect for decorative pieces. When creating beaded wire pieces, use 24-gauge wire, which is likely to fit most beads used in wire wrapping. A thin wire, such as 26-gauge, is perfect for making small detailed pieces like chain loops and small wire-wrapped beads. Fine wire, such as 28-guage and 30-guage, is required for very delicate jewelry projects, such as wire weaving or tiny chains and beadwork. Use thin jewelry wire to make woven rings, twisted bracelets and gorgeous delicate pendants.

Jewelry Wire Gauge Tip:

Treat these tips about jewelry wire gauges as simple guidelines. There are no hard and fast rules about which wire gauge you must use for a particular project. Get creative and use an unusually heavy or extraordinarily delicate wire for some jewelry projects.