Gauge is a terminology which refers to the thickness or diameter of the wire. It is measured in numbers, the lower the number, the thicker the wire is. Choosing the right wire gauge is important to create fabulous jewelry or elaborate components used in jewelry. With our wire gauge guide, you will find it no longer difficult to determine what gauge wire should be used for jewelry making.
Here is the detailed information:
Typically thick jewelry wires are 12 to 16 gauge, and the thickness of 12 gauge wire is about 2mm (from AWG). They are excellent for supporting heavy jewelry pieces and making neck collars, bangles, rings, frames, thick jump rings and clasps. You can also use thick jewelry wire to make jewelry pieces with heavy-metal aesthetic. One thing should be noted is that thick jewelry wires are generally available in dead soft temper and need to be shaped and cut with strong jewelry making tools.
Select 18 to 22 gauge wires to make average-sized jump rings, clasps, head pins, eye pins, spirals, earring hooks, wire settings for medium stones, bails for light stones and open link chains. Medium jewelry wires are commonly used for lots of jewelry making projects because they are easy to use and can pass through most bead holes. You can easily shape medium jewelry wires by hand and cut them with regular jewelry making tools.
24 to 28 gauge wires are perfect choices for wire wrapping, coiling, weaving and binding. Thin jewelry wires are also suitable for tiny chains and beadwork. If you want to knit or crochet, it is best to use 28 gauge wire. The diameter of 28 gauge wire is about 0.3mm just like thread and it may bend or break easily, so you have to work slowly with it. You can use either regular or fine tipped jewelry making tools to shape and cut thin jewelry wires.
This guide introduces common jewelry wire gauges to help you choose right wire gauge. Actually there are no hard-and-fast rules about what gauge wire must be used in particular jewelry making projects, you can be creative if possible.