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Copper Wire & Sheet

This is one of my favorite materials to work with, in both sheet or wire forms.

I love the color and the workability of it. It can be polished, patinated, or treated with fire or chemicals to change and enhance its appearance.

I prefer to use bare copper wire rather than coated copper because the latter is treated to be non-tarnishing.

I find much of the beauty of copper to be in the ways you can alter and enhance its appearance and then apply a non-tarnishing sealant as a final step.

Some people observe that copper interacts with their body chemistry and turns their skin green; I try to minimize this happening by coating my pieces with either lacquer or acrylic sealer, or by using microcrystalline wax (aka Renaissance Wax).

Copper can be cleaned with vinegar and salt and a toothbrush if so desired, however this will destroy any patination that has been used.

My best advice to anyone who is still skeptical about copper is to wear copper jewelry on the outside of your clothing.

Red Brass/Bronze Wire & Sheet

This is another of my favorite metals to work with.

I like the color, both when new and when it's aged a little.

In antiquity, bronze was an alloy of copper and tin.

Today's jeweler's bronze (also known as red brass or rich low brass) is alloyed with zinc instead.

It gives a richness and an "antique" feel to pieces, especially when hammered, patinated, and perhaps used with antique or ancient-appearing beads.

Yellow Brass Wire & Sheet

This is an alloy of copper and zinc with a bright yellow color.

I use it as an accent with other metals occasionally, and rarely as a wrap for cabochons that seem to call for it.

It is fairly resistant to tarnishing, but if it does tarnish, a commercial compound called Brasso and a little elbow grease will fix it right up, or you could go with the vinegar-salt method if you don't like chemicals.

Nickel Silver Wire & Sheet

Also known as German silver, this is not silver at all.

It is an alloy containing copper, nickel, and usually zinc.

The common formulation is 60-20-20.

Many people are allergic to one or more of the components of this alloy, and for that reason I don't use it much.

I do like to use it occasionally for pendants or necklace components, but in that case I seal it with lacquer, acrylic sealer, or microcrystalline wax.

Nickel silver takes heat patination beautifully.

Aluminum Wire & Sheet

A lightweight material and very soft.

I don't use it a great deal, with one exception--the larger gauges of wire make very handsome bangles that are lightweight and don't tarnish. Aluminum strip likewise makes an extremely handsome cuff.

It's also, as far as I know, non-allergenic.

Pewter Wire

Modern pewter used is mostly tin, along with antimony and copper; products meant to come into contact with the skin use an alloy that contains NO lead.

I have used pewter wire on occasion for bracelets, but find it too soft to use on a regular basis, even in heavy gauge.

If anyone can come up with a good idea for it, please let me know!

Niobium Wire

A soft gray metal that is hypoallergenic.

It can be anodized to a variety of brilliant and not-so-brilliant colors.

My primary use for it is in earwires; it can emulate the color of silver or copper and provide a completely hypo-allergenic material.

I will exchange sterling silver wires for niobium on request, at no extra charge.

The natural niobium may not be quite as bright as sterling, but your ears will thank you.

Niobium is also available in an antique copper color and will be used with copper earrings in many cases.

Titanium Wire

This is a strong and lightweight silvery metal that is non-reactive and hypoallergenic.

As such, it is very useful for earwires, as there are no secondary metals alloyed with it to cause a reaction.

Stainless Steel Wire & Sheet

I will occasionally use stainless steel (an alloy of steel + chromium) to wrap a pendant, or in my "Industrielle" line of jewelry that includes various hardware components.

I have also made earrings of it and even though it is not "surgical stainless", I have been told by those who purchased pieces that it is not irritating to their skin.


Craft wire is usually copper wire that may be plated with a layer of some other metal or may be color coated.

Formerly I used craft wire quite a bit, but I am now committed to using higher quality materials. The one exception is a color called “Vintage Natural Bronze” which has found a high degree of favor among my customers.

If requested, I can make a custom craft wire piece, but there will be a small fabrication charge as even though the materials will be less expensive, I am committed to the same quality of work as I put into pieces made of higher quality metals.