When you first start crafting jewellery, choosing the appropriate beading wire might be challenging because there are so many options and each spool of wire has a lot of complicated numbers on it. Beadalon, Soft Flex, and Accu-Flex are the three most common beading wire producers, each with a broad selection of wires to fit your jewelry-making needs.
It’s vital to distinguish between beading wire and jewellery wire, which is a solid strand of wire available in a variety of hardnesses and thicknesses. Beading wire, on the other hand, is made up of many small wire strands that are twisted together to make a robust wire that is protected by a nylon sheath. The bigger the number of strands, the better the wire’s flexibility and strength. If you want to mould the wire in your design, choose for a wire with fewer strands because it will hold its shape better once bent. On the other hand, if you want additional flexibility so that the wire bends gently or drapes beautifully, go for a wire with a higher number of strands. Wires from Beadalon are available in 7, 19, and 49 strands.
Each manufacturer’s wire range will differ significantly; for example, Soft Flex comes in four different wire grades: Very Fine, Fine, Medium, and Heavy. The difference is that Very Fine, for example, has only seven strands and has a far lower breaking strength than Heavy, which has 49. All of the wire varieties are available in a variety of diameters and spool lengths, which are indicated on the reel.
Things to think about before you start your jewellery project
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before beginning your jewelry-making activity.
- How often will the piece of jewellery be worn?
- What is the smallest hole size that the beads that will be utilised in the project can have?
- What degree of flexibility is required of the wire?
- What kind of beads will be utilised in the design, and will they be light or heavy?
- Are the edges of glass or semi-precious beads abrasive?
- Is it going to be pricey Sterling Silver / Gold findings or anything else?
If the jewellery will be worn frequently, a stronger wire with more threads will ensure that the piece will last longer.
The smallest bead hole utilised in the jewellery piece determines the wire thickness. The wire should ideally fill as much of the hole as possible to prevent the wire from rubbing against the edges of the bead hole and wearing out prematurely.
If your jewellery design includes heavy lampwork glass beads or semi-precious beads, a wire with additional strands is recommended. Glass and gemstone beads can have abrasive edges that can rub against the wire and cut through the strands over time. If there are any abrasive edges, it’s good filing them away with a small file to reduce wear and tear.
Finally, attempt to match the wire quality to the jewellery components you’re using. If the piece of jewellery is just going to be worn once or is only a demonstration piece, there’s no need in utilising 49 strand wire. Using a higher grade beading wire if the design includes valuable stones and findings will assist to extend the life of the jewellery, as the wire is often the first component to fail over time due to wear and tear.