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Wire jewelry is, essentially, jewelry made from wire. Beads or gems may be wrapped in wire or attached to wire links to create necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The wire used for jewelry making varies in gauge, or thickness, with the higher numbers indicating thicker wire. Gauges of 24, 26 and 28 grams are popular sizes for making wire jewelry.
While silver and gold are the most commonly used colors for creating wire jewelry, copper, black and brown wire are also sometimes used. Wire in colors such as green, purple, pink and blue are used less often, but can add interesting accents to wire jewelry pieces. A technique for making a wire ring, bracelet or choker involves taking several lengths of wire and placing them side by side. Then, shorter lengths of the same colored or contrasting colored wire can be wrapped horizontally across a few different sections of the wire lengths to form an interesting two-directional look
Tools used for wire jewelry making include cutters, jigs and pliers. A wire cutter has a cutting edge to snip or cut lengths of wire into pieces. A jig is a flat, rectangular piece of plastic or wood that features rows of pegs. When wire is wrapped around jig pegs in different patterns, many possible designs can be created. These intricate wire jewelry pieces may be used as pendants or links for bracelets and necklaces.
Pliers are tools with handles on one end and an opening called a "nose" on the other end. The nose end holds, bends and shapes wire. Differently shaped noses on pliers create different shapes in wire pieces. For instance, needle-nosed pliers have a long narrow end and are used to make small, precise bends in wire. Round-nosed pliers help create curves and loops, while flat-nosed pliers have straight edges that straighten bent wire and create angles.
Split ring pliers are designed to separate the loops in a split ring so that a wire jewelry finding may be inserted and then held in place by the ring. A split ring is a type of jewelry finding that is basically just a smaller version of a key ring. Jewelry findings are any type of connecting piece used in making jewelry. Besides split rings, other common jewelry findings include earring backs, pin backs and necklace clasps.
Beading wire is very fine wire that may be used for making wire jewelry with beads. Glass and ceramic beads are popular types of beads used with beading wire to create beaded necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Beading wire may also be used on its own to make hoop earrings. Different thicknesses or gauges of beading wire create different thicknesses of hoop earrings. Hoop earrings usually feature smooth single wire circles, but the wire may be hammered, doubled or twisted to add texture.