Wire Metal Types
Argentium Silver: Imagine silver jewelry that rarely needs polishing. Argentium Silver is the most tarnish resistant silver available today. Made with a touch of germanium that severely inhibits tarnish, Argentium sterling is never less than 93% silver. Germanium is the “Magic” ingredient in Argentium Silver. It was invented by master silversmith, Peter Johns, during the 1990s.
Brass: Brass is a mixture, or alloy, of the base metals copper and zinc. Regular brass is yellow-gold in color, and “red brass” (which contains a larger amount of copper) is slightly more reddish and warmer in color. There are lots of reasons to consider using brass in your designs, including its affordable price, stylish antiqued look, ease of use, and hypoallergenic nature.
Craft: Copper wire that is coated with an enamel to create the color of the wire. This wire has become very popular and is even available in many large craft stores. It is a lot of fun to work with. However, due to the coating, it can be marked by metal tools, so keep this in mind when using it.
Copper: Copper wire is excellent for practice wire. It also looks great as wire for jewelry, especially with earth tone colors. Copper will darken, discolor or “patina” with age. If you prefer to keep your copper wire bright, you can simply polish it or use some white vinegar to clean it.
German: It is considered a very good craft wire because it is the perfect temper and finish for most jewelry wire wrapping uses. It has a copper core and is usually silver or gold plated.
Gold: It is expensive, but you can get solid gold wire in various karats, usually 10-24. Gold wire can come in different colors.
Gold-filled: While gold-filled metal has many layers of gold, it is not pure gold. On the upside, gold-filled is of much better quality than plated gold (only one layer) so gold-filled lasts for a very long time if cared for properly. It is a wonderful alternative to gold.
Gold or Silver Plated: Items that have an industry standard of .15 to .25 mils thickness of gold or silver which is plated to the surface of the base metal.
Silver: Made of 99.9% pure silver, many wire workers enjoy working with fine silver. Fine silver is softer than sterling. Since it has fewer alloys, it also does not tarnish as quickly as sterling silver does.
Sterling Silver: Sterling indicates that the wire is 92.5% pure silver. The rest is made up of alloys (such as copper or zinc) to provide strength. Sterling will tarnish or oxidize, so it’s best to store it in zip lock bags or some type of sealed containers. When it does tarnish, you can polish by using a polishing kit, ionic cleaner a magnetic polisher or tumbler.
Niobium: It is a hypo-allergenic metal first engineered to protect hypersonic aerospace vehicles from extreme conditions. After manufacturing into the desired shape, such as ear wires, the naturally grey base metal niobium is then anodized to create various colors. Most people who are metal-sensitive can comfortably wear niobium. Linda, one of the co-owners, wears them all the time and highly recommends them.
Vermeil: Made of sterling silver and heavily electroplated with 22K yellow gold.