I’ve been lurking for a few months and learning a lot about areas of
jewelry-making that are far beyond my experience and imagination.
But now I have a beginner’s question.
I do bead stringing, pearl knotting and wire wrapping. I always test
out my wire designs by starting with craft wire (brass, copper and
silver plated) and once I’m satisfied, I switch to sterling.
So far I’ve only used full round wire in half-hard and dead-soft
flexibilities, but I’d like to try some half-round and square wire
as well. I’m on a budget so price is important to me.
Where would you advise me to look for .925 wire in all gauges from
14 to 26 in round, half-round and square shapes? So far, I’ve
purchased my wire at my local bead store and from Fire Mountain
Thanks in advance.
I know lots of ppl in the USA buy their wire from Rio Grande and/or
Monsterslayer.com, and say that they have the best prices.
10/1 I like Thunderbird Jewelry Supply out of NM, & have used them
aout 20 yrs.
Try DH Fell. You need to specify the hardness.
Amery Carriere Designs
It’s nice to meet another lurker! The amount of here is
mind boggling, isn’t it?
I order my sterling wire and sheet from either
www.hauserandmiller.com or www.riogrande.com. Hauser and Miller
usually has the best prices and they’re really nice to work with. If
I’m ordering other supplies from Rio, I’ll get my metal there and
save on shipping costs. They’re nice, too. Be sure to get yourself a
Rio catalogue, also.
If I may offer a suggestion, try argentium sterling. Its tarnish
resistant properties make it well worth the small price increase.
Another great supplier I use in the Midwest is G & S Metals. They
are out of Ann Arbor. MI and ship VERY fast, for the Ohio area
anyway. Here is their link; http://www.gsgold.com
They are very good refiners as well, and I use them once a year for
my shop scraps. Great prices, low shipping and they package things
really well. (no scratches at all on any sheet I have ever ordered
There have been a lot of great suggestions on where to purchase
sterling wire. I am surprised that no one has suggested Hoover &
Strong. I have been a customer of theirs for many years. They offer a
mind boggling range of wire from 1 gauge to 32 gauge-round, triangle,
square, sizing, bezel, etc., They offer the full range of Argentium,
sterling & fine silver, platinum & palladium & yellow, green, pink &
peach golds. They’ve also added a new alloy which name I forget. They
will accommodate (happily) any unusual request I’ve had for a nominal
fee. Recently it was 2 dozen 15mm x40mm 14 ga fine silver
pieces-saved me hours of sawing time & their lines are a lot
straighter than mine. They are very fast & efficient both taking &
filling orders & are exceptionally friendly. I can’t say enough about
them (as you probably have already figured that out w/ my
Be well, Do good work, Cristine McC
Regarding the best place to buy wire, I make and teach wire wrap
classes and Rio Grande has always been a mainstay for me until
recently. The last three times I’ve ordered, I’ve had a backorder.
The most recent one was just plain sterling wire 21 G, dead soft
square and it was back ordered. The time before, I ordered 14 G half
round GF and was fortunate enough to get half the amount that I
ordered. I didn’t get enough to make an advance sample of the
bracelet and had to use the one that I made during class for an
example. I had paid for 2nd day air so when the backordered wire did
come in, they shipped it “Smart Mail,” which is an oxymoron if I’ve
ever heard one. It took 7 days from the time it was shipped to get to
me and I needed it bad. The first back order was a sterling twist
wire that I ordered a couple of months ago and I’ve yet to receive
I don’t know what is going on with Rio but I do know that I can no
longer recommend them as a wire vendor. I can only hope that they
figure out how to fix this problem and regain the excellent service
to which I have been spoiled for years. I’ve heard that Hoover and
Strong is excellent and Metalliferous has a large selection… Also,
a company called Brandywine handles square copper wire. Then, as
you’ve discovered, there is Fire Mountain.
I have ordered from Hoover and Strong in the past and received
stellar service (and fast too). I highly recommend them.
There is a price increase for Argentium Sterling? I was offered a
full swap, weight for weight, from G & S Metals. Hmmm, they made me
think it was all the same price, just different alloys and no more
expensive. I opted to stay with the sterling for now because I did
not want to have to then replace all my solders, of which I have a
large stock right now.
Does anyone know, is it essential to use Argentium sterling solder,
or can you get away with using regular sterling solders? I wondered
about it having color differences as well as the tarnish factors. Is
there is a difference working with patinas on Argentium Sterling. Has
anyone had any issues with patina failure in Argentium? I use LOS
(Liver of Sulfur) quite a lot, and would be interested to know if
anyone has had any experience with how well it takes a patina.
Also interested to know if it forges as well as Sterling; as in
raising, as well as wire forging and such. I imagine the crystalline
structure would be somewhat different, but is it so different to make
any difference in, say, how often you anneal? Is there the same
firescale issues, can you raise the fine silver layer like you can
with Sterling depletion guilding? Can you enamel on Argentium? How
well does it take Keum Boo?
HAHA, I guess I had quite a few questions about it, didn’t I?
Thanks ahead of time!
The company I use for my silver and gold needs is Silversupplies.com
I have researched every site and they are the most inexpensive and
most prompt in shipping that I have found so far.
Previously I posted on the best place to buy sterling wire and stated
that I could no longer recommend Rio Grande. When they saw my post,
they contacted me immediately with concern that my experience had
been less than the best. Cathy Lovett called me and could not have
First of all, no one and no vendor is perfect 100% of the time but, I
have been spoiled by them over the years. We all are, at times, less
than we would prefer to be and it is obvious to me that Rio Grande
truly does care about their customers. I have a philosophy that you
should never say negative things without pointing out the positive.
First, I have to say that the Rio Grande telephone sales staff is
second to none. In fact, the young man who took my order on 8/26/09
As to my backorder issues, the item that has been on backorder for a
few months was an item that Rio’s vendor could not seem to get right
and due to Rio’s high quality standards, they decided to discontinue
carrying the item. As for the most recent item, Cathy assisted me
with something that I can use in the interim, leaving part of my
order to be filled when it is received from the refiner. She went
above and beyond to assist me in getting my materials so that I can
meet my deadlines. That is all I can ask.
I apologize for my hasty words and I intend to continue using Rio
Grande as I have for many years. I urge anyone who read my post to
please retract it to the dumpster.
I’ve had good results from D.H. Fell. I’ve found they’d sell to me
when some others would only sell to “established businesses”. You
can find them at http://www.dhfco.com/
Mike DeBurgh, GJG