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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 28, 2011

Question:

Good morning to everyone at Wire-Sculpture! My question is, how much silver is in Argentium silver? Is it as much as sterling silver, and has anyone ever reported having allergies to it?

-Deborah in Wenden, Arizona

Answer:

Good Morning to you Deborah! A common misconception is that Argentium┬« is not as good or as pure as sterling silver. Like many companies in the United States, Wire-Sculpture carries anti-tarnish .930 Argentium┬« Silver Wire, which is 93.0% pure silver, and contains absolutely no nickel, a major culprit for those allergic to metal. And yes – Argentium is always more pure than sterling silver (92.5% silver).

Looking for the facts, I would like to quote the company who makes Argentium® itself:

 

  • Natural Beauty: Plating is prone to wear and tear and is commonly used on silver items to give the temporary illusion of purity. Argentium is the natural colour of pure silver through and through.
  • Brighter: Argentium silver is brighter than platinum, white gold and traditional sterling. It is the whitest of them all.
  • Longer Lasting Shine: Argentium silver is low maintenance, easy to care for and simple to clean.
    Source: “About Argentium,” Argentium.com

I have never heard of anyone reporting an allergy to Argentium, and I have personally been using Argentium since 2005.

The only caution I give my students is not to use Argentium unless they can make the project in their sleep – meaning use confident tool moves – because it work-hardens faster than sterling. It is a gorgeous product!

You can discover more about Silver and its different varieties (including Coin Silver and Fine Silver) in Mary Bailey’s article All About Silver.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Tip April 21: Wire Temper by Number

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 21, 2011

Question:

I want to buy some half hard practice wire in a store, but can’t find where on the spools that says it is half hard or not. Is there a different word or number that is used for whether it is half hard or not?

-Betty in Binghamton, New York

Answer:

Betty, most craft wire purchased in stores does not state the temper or hardness, and about all of the wire in stores is dead soft. When you purchase jewelry making wire from a supplier, the temper might be labeled with a number. As shown in the table below, Half Hard is designated by the #2.

Wire Temper Number
Annealed/Dead Soft #0
Quarter Hard #1
Half Hard #2
Hard Temper #4
Extra Hard #6
Spring Hard #8
Extra Spring Temper #10

The most-used wire tempers in wire jewelry are dead soft, half hard, and spring hard.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 17, 2011

Question:

Hi Dale, I love that your instructional style is so clear and concise. It really helps me create an impressive first try!

I read recently that fruit named quartzes, like cherry quartz, are really manmade glass based. I always figured they were dyed quartz. What are your thoughts?

-Jeanne in Waukesha, Wisconsin

Answer:

Hi Jeanne, thanks for your kind comments regarding my teaching style (I really do love what I do!).

Yes, you are correct. With the exception of authentic Lemon Quartz, unfortunately nearly all of the "Fruit Quartz" items available today are made of glass.

The reasoning behind these sales labels is that glass is made of high-quality sand (meaning the mineral silica, which is Quartz), therefore, vendors deem it OK to label these glass variations as quartz.

We have had a couple of discussions on these terms, that you might also find interesting such as Red Ruby Quartz and what really is Kiwi Lapis. If you are looking for an inexpensive, yet pretty item to include in your summer designs, Fruit Quartz will fit that need.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 10, 2011

Question:

How would I price chain maille jewelry?

-Donna in Springfield, Missouri

Answer:

Donna, chain maille is jewelry, and should be priced using the same methods and formulas that you would use to price any of your handmade jewelry pieces. For details, please read How to Price Your Wire Jewelry and the great comments and advice added by our readers. Good luck with your summer shows!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 5, 2011

Question:

Hi Dale, I have a question about craft wire. I know it comes in different colors and different gauges, what I don’t know is- can you get it in square or half round?

-Deborah in Wenden, Arizona

Answer:

Hi Deborah, most of the craft wire that can be purchased in retail stores is only available in a round shape. Here at Wire-Sculpture, in both the Enameled Craft Wire and the Silver Plated Copper Craft Wire categories, you can choose from both 18-gauge and 21-gauge in square and half round shapes (both are soft).

I have personally worked with samples of both types of craft wire. I have beaten, twisted, rolled, folded, wrapped, and bent it, and I am seriously impressed! It is a lot of fun to work with the colors, and with today’s economy being as sad as it is, this wire is an affordable product to practice in as well as to make and sell finished items out of. (I personally like making Puffed Gemstone Heart pendants with it (tutorial here; at a retail price of $15 to $18, each they always sell well!)

Heart Wrapped in Craft Wire
Earthy Puffed Heart Pendant made using 21-gauge square Vintage Bronze Enameled Craft Wire

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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