All about Jewelry Wire Gauges

Starting a beading craft may make you feel confused or overwhelmed with all the different supplies and tools terms used. This feeling may be present even if you have been crafting for a while, but would like to try making new jewelry designs and using new supplies. The gauge of jewelry wires is among those terms that can make you wondering: “which wire should I use for which project?”

Jewelry wires are available for sale at your local craft stores and online, along with the various beads, tools, findings and more. As in other beading supplies, the wires may come in different colors also. When displayed on stores, these wires have labels according to their gauges the most common of which include the 24 gauge, 22 gauges, 20 gauges, and 18 gauges. These sizes have different uses and it can be difficult to know where to begin.

The gauges represent the thickness of the jewelry wire, and it is often represented by a letter “g”. In some cases, the size is expressed in millimeters (mm). The gauge doesnt tell whether the wire is strong or not, however, most of the time the thicker a jewelry wire is, the stronger you expect it to be. It is also worth noting that the higher the gauge number is, the thinner is the wire. Following is a list of the common gauges of wire and in what type of jewelry can they be used.

24, 26 and 28 gauges

These numbers are the thinnest jewelry wire that you can possibly find. Some bead shops have only the 24g, but there are other places where you can find 26 and 28 gauges. Because these sizes are very thin, they may not provide a lot of support to heavier beads. For wire wrapping purposes, these gauges can be ideally used.

20 and 22 gauges

These sizes are both commonly use, and are thicker than the previous sizes, so they are stronger and can be used with heavier beads. You can use these wires also for making eye and head pins, jump rings, earring wires and for wire wrapping purposes. The thick size may not allow the wire for use with seed beads or small pearls. The other regular beads with larger holes may accommodate these thicker jewelry wires.

18 gauge

This thickness can very well support larger and heavier beads and are also used to make clasps and in wire wrapping. Because this jewelry wire is thick, this is therefore tough and not easy to bend. There are wires that are larger than this gauge, but their uses are limited due to thickness.

Jewelry wires are made from different materials like silver, gold, brass, copper, etc. They also have 3 different strength levels, which are expressed as dead soft, half hard, and full hard. The dead soft wire can easily be bent and manipulated despite the thickness. The half hard wire can be fairly manipulated and can offer support with enough strength. The full hard is the hardest and may require tools to bend and manipulate.

It can be helpful to understand the jewelry wire gauges; knowing them can make it easy for you to choose the wire whenever you start a new project.

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