Buying Sterling Silver Jewelry Wire – by Katie Hacker

Please welcome guest writer, Katie Hacker!katie

Katie Hacker has been wire wrapping for a long time and there is still a whole world of wire to explore. Katie is the content strategist for Halstead and hosts Beads, Baubles & Jewels on public television. Today, Katie shares tips on how to buy sterling silver jewelry wire.


Thinking about buying sterling silver jewelry wire? There are a few important things you need to know before you make your purchase. Sterling silver jewelry wire is available in a wide range of tempers, gauges and shapes, which you’ll choose based on what you want to make.

About Sterling Silver Wire

“Sterling silver jewelry wire is an alloy of 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper, though sometimes other metals are used. The other metals are added to the alloy to increase the hardness, so the metal will be more durable, and to create the color and luster that is so prized by consumers,” says Hilary Halstead Scott, President of Halstead.

Sterling silver jewelry wire can be soldered, formed and annealed. You can use it to make your own findings like head pins, eye pins, jump rings and clasps or you can use it to do wire wrapping, make rivets, bezel-set stones and more. It is wonderfully accommodating and versatile for a variety of techniques.

Jewelry Wire Temper

Dead soft wire is easy to bend with just your hands. Unless it is a very heavy gauge, it doesn’t hold its shape without work-hardening. Use dead soft wire to make loops and spirals. Once you have finished forming the wire, you may wish to harden your shapes by gently hammering with a rawhide or nylon hammer. This will work harden the pieces, so they hold their form. Otherwise, the dead soft wire can be easily bent out of shape.

Half-hard wire is more difficult to bend. It’s the standard choice for components that need to hold their shape, like earrings or clasps. Use half-hard wire to make crisp angles.

Jewelry Wire Gauge

Gauge refers to the thickness of the wire. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire. So, 24-gauge wire is thinner than 12-gauge wire.

The word “gauge” was originally based on the number of times that a wire had to be pulled through a draw plate.  That’s why the thinner gauges have higher numbers and thicker gauges have lower numbers.

The gauge you’ll need depends on the design you have in mind. If you want to make your own rivets, 14-18-gauge is a good choice. For ear wires, 18-20-gauge (work-hardened) is common. For wire wrapping, fine gauges 24-30-gauge are best.

Jewelry Wire Shape

Round wire is the most prevalent style of wire because it’s so versatile and used for everything from wire wrapping to making findings and bracelets. All of the Wubbers Mandrel Pliers work well with round wire. It can be hammered or run through a rolling mill to flatten it for a different look.

round wire

Half-round wire is domed on the top and flat on the bottom. It’s perfect for using as a binding square wire when making wire wrapped jewelry. Large gauges can be used to make finger ring bands or ring shanks.

half round wire

Square wire is often used for portrait settings or other types of wire-wrapped designs where several wires are bundled together. Because the wire edges are square, the wires will lay flush without gaps. Make crisp right angles with Wubbers Designer Square Mandrel Pliers.

square wire

Gallery wire is typically used to form bezel settings, but it can also be used in other jewelry making applications, such as decorative bails or soldered embellishments. If you are using the gallery wire to bezel-set a stone, you’ll need to consider the height of the stone when selecting the wire width.

wire 1

Pattern wire makes beautiful finger ring bands using Wubbers Extra Large Round Mandrel Pliers, custom bangles and other creative jewelry. It’s commonly used with a patina to highlight the decorative details. The pattern is only on the front side, so the back is plain and flat.

wire 2

Fancy wire is round wire that has been put through a secondary process, such as diamond cutting, shaping or twisting. The surface of the wire has a texture and is very shiny because the extra surfaces reflect the light. Fancy wires can be used for wire wrapping, making components, and to make lovely double bezel embellishments around the outside of a bezel setting.

wire 3

Flat wire is perfect for making finger ring shanks, bails, bracelets, collars and more. The surface is plain and shiny so you can leave it as-is or use a Wubbers Artisan’s Mark Texture Hammer to decorate the surface. It’s also ideal for hand stamping.

Caring for Sterling Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry tarnishes when exposed to sulfur and other compounds that are common in the air and water. Once you’ve made your amazing jewelry from sterling silver wire, you’ll want to take care of it. Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t swim, shower, sweat or sleep in your sterling silver jewelry.
  2. Avoid contact with perfume, makeup, lotion and hairspray.
  3. Use a silver polishing cloth or ultra polish pad to remove tarnish.
  4. If your wire is textured, use a spray or a dip to clean it. Be careful to avoid stones or pearls.
  5. Store your jewelry inside a bag with an anti-tarnish tab. 


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Posted in Handmade Business, jewelry making, Jewelry Making Q&A, Jewelry Tips, Tools

Spring Into Action!

Spring Pantone 2018 Report

I always look forward to the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report. Although some of the colors may not be my favorite, or look the best with my pale skin tone, the combinations of colors always fascinate me.  The possibilities and the thoughts they provoke are exciting to explore.

This Spring, I felt butterflies would be appropriate to grace the color report. Print it off, hang it above your workspace, and fly away with it in your jewelry designs to places you never thought you could go!

Spring into Action – A Wubbers Tool Tip

Did you know, the light action springs in our Classic Wubbers Pliers are especially designed to save wear and tear on your hands?

It takes less strength to open and close the Classic Wubbers, and they are especially great when doing repetitive work or when working for extended periods of time. The longer handles of the Classics keep the pressure off the palms of your hands and provide extra leverage, which is important for large and small hands alike! The broader shoulders of the Classics allow you to easily “get a grip,” reducing the need to clench your hands as tightly.  With tools like the Wubbers Classics, what are you waiting for? Spring into Action today!

Spring Jewelry Trend – A Walk on the Wild Side
One of the Spring trends in jewelry, reported from the runways of New York’s Fashion Week, took us on a wild safari ride into tropical destinations. From butterflies, to fruit, to giant bright flowers, the jewelry was bold. It definitely made me feel as if I could create my own fashionable pieces with splashes of color and a little walk on the wild side.

We want to see your Creations!

Have you created any pieces lately that speak to your wild side? Have you connected more with bright bold colors or created any animal jewelry recently?

Click on our image below to link to our Facebook page and post a picture of your jewelry in our Walk on the Wild Side Facebook Post. If you do not have Facebook and would like us to include your picture in the thread, email your photo to and we will gladly add it for you.


And in case you need ideas to get started…   

Check out these wildly free courses on!

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Posted in Creative words of wisdom, Free Classes, jewelry making, Jewelry Tips, Tools

Halstead and Wubbers – Rings Made Easy!

Please welcome guest writer, Erica Stice.   
Erica Stice is the Studio Coordinator at Halstead, a wholesale jewelry supplier and proud
reseller of Wubbers pliers. She teaches metalsmithing classes to the Halstead team in their on-site jewelry studio. Her designs have appeared in Lapidary Journal, Belle Armoire and Beadwork Magazines.
Making Sterling Silver Pattern Wire Ring Bands

You can make a lot of great hoops, loops and round jewelry findings with Wubbers Mandrel Pliers; but, did you know you can also shape rings made out of sterling silver pattern wire?

Playing in the studio the other day, I picked up our Wubbers Jumbo Round Mandrel Pliers and a piece of pattern wire, and began to shape the pattern wire around the smaller mandrel. The sterling silver pattern wire that I used was dead soft and I was pleased to see it wrapped around the 18mm jaws fairly easily. I knew then and there that it would make a great tool to use when making pattern wire ring bands. Rings are trending so now is a great time to explore ring making techniques
Step 1: 
Choose the jaw size that you wish to use for the band. Next pick out a pattern wire. Because I wanted to match the pattern on the wire so the soldering join blends together, I chose a 3.5in piece of wire and the 18mm jaw. I had plenty of wire left over on either side!
Step 2: 
Wrap the wire around the jaw, if it becomes work hardened use a rawhide hammer to help shape it.

Step 3: 
Plan where the cut(s) will be and mark them with a permanent marker.

Step 4:
Use a jewelers saw or your favorite cutters to cut just along the outside of the previously marked spot. You will want it 1-2mm longer than needed.

Step 5:
Straighten out your wire by hand or with a rawhide hammer, then place it in a ring holder with 1mm or less hanging over the edge (make sure the wire is lined up straight inside the ring clamp). Insert the wedge tightly at the other end of the clamp.

Step 6:  

Use a flat file to file away the small piece of pattern wire sticking out at the end of the clamp. This is a quick way to file a piece of wire flat. Repeat with the other end of the wire. This step is important so you will have a tight fit to get a good soldering connection.

Step 7:  

Bring the two ends together using nylon jawed pliers and make sure the ends lie flush together at the join. Don’t worry about the ring shape at this point. You will round it out later.

Flux, add a piece of medium solder, and heat until it flows. Pickle, quench and dry.

Step 8:  
Re-shape the ring using a ring mandrel and rawhide hammer. When finished it should fit perfectly on the jaw of the mandrel that you used.

Step 9:  

Clean and polish up your ring and you’re finished!

When all was said and done, the mandrels saved time and you could knock out several rings at once without needing to use calipers and the formula. Also the jaws are not tapered like a ring mandrel so you could shape it on the mandrel jaw at the end for a perfect round stacking ring.
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Posted in Free Classes, jewelry making, Jewelry Tips, Tools, Uncategorized

The Story of Patti’s Pepe Rolling Mill

Once upon a time in Tucson, Patti went on the search for the perfect item to buy.
Low and behold during her search, she ran into metalsmith, Melissa Muir! Her booth was a combination of creativity and excitement. After watching Melissa’s demonstration of the PepeTools Rolling Mill, Patti couldn’t help but add the 160MM Double Electric Flat & Wire Mill to her collection.  A short, yet clamorous, celebration was held right there in Melissa’s booth when the decision was made…even the random guy in the background held a bottle of wine up to photobomb/celebrate the purchase.
After the journey home and a short wait, the big day came and the rolling mill arrived!
It was amazing! Like Christmas in February! All 200 pounds of the 160MM Double Electric Flat & Wire Mill was a sight to behold.  A moment when the clouds part, the sun shines down and the angels sing.  Yes, it was that amazing.  If you don’t believe us, just ask Patti’s studio side kick Jackson…he was mesmerized.
Patti started right away.
First she selected just the right pattern for her copper strip.
With the push of a button, the wheels started turning and the metal was sent through like butter. It was that smooth.  No hiccups, no loud squeaks, just pure butter.

And then the big moment.  The moment we all waited for.  The metal was perfected into a sparkling, textured, glorious transformation.
It was almost too much to take, but Patti couldn’t stop there. 
She had to keep going….5 more times to be exact. Only, each time was a new pattern, a new idea sparked, a new creation.  With a machine like this, the possibilities just kept rolling (yes, that was a pun).

The End (or is it?) 
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Posted in jewelry making, Jewelry Tips, Patti's Jewelry Travels, Tools

Get Your FREE ProLine Pliers!

It has been a great year and we have so much to be thankful for here at Wubbers.
We are especially grateful for each and every one of our Wubbers friends!
In fact, we have put together this special offer just for you to launch your holiday season!
Your FREE PAIR OF PROLINE ROUND AND FLAT NYLON JAW PLIERS ($19.95 value) will be automatically added to your shipment when you purchase any Artisan’s Mark Hammer sets – no coupon code needed.
Free pair of pliers offer is valid through Midnight, Friday December 1st, 2017

 The Artisan’s Mark Hammer Set
Artisan’s Mark Hammers by Wubbers are a high quality line of finely detailed designer hammers. They are perfect for texturing, riveting, forming, planishing, embossing, getting into tight places, and so much more.  This set has five different types of hammers and includes a convenient stand to keep them handy.  Your set will include:
*  Artisan’s Mark Planishing Hammer
*  Artisan’s Mark Embossing Hammer-Round
*  Artisan’s Mark Embossing Hammer-Fine Tip
*  Artisan’s Mark Raising Hammer
*  Artisan’s Mark Sharp Texture Hammer
*  FREE Wooden Holding Stand
The Artisan’s Mark Texture Hammer Set
Smaller in size and uniquely shaped, the patent pending Artisan’s Mark Shaped Texture Hammers are perfect for detailed work.  They have been carefully designed with ergonomic handles made of high quality white oak, shaped to encourage the correct grip from the moment you pick up your new hammer.  Your set will include:
*  Square Artisan’s Mark Texturing Hammer
*  Oval Artisan’s Mark Texturing Hammer
*  Triangle #1 Artisan’s Mark Texturing Hammer
*  Triangle #2 Artisan’s Mark Texturing Hammer
*  FREE Wooden Holding Rack
Want to add to your ProLine Pliers collection?
The ProLine Pliers are available to purchase individually making it easy to add to your collection!

Perfect for texturing, riveting, forming, planishing, embossing, getting into tight places, and so much more!
Shop Now

Wubbers Artisan’s Mark Texture Hammer Set

Different from any other jewelry making hammers on the market!  Each hammer offers two unique textures.
Posted in jewelry making, Tools, Wubbers Cares

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaways!


Random Acts of Kindness

I have known about the “pay it forward” movement for a long time, but had never really experienced it in a drive-through. Now, many of you know that I love large Diet Cokes from the MacDonald’s drive-through. These large drinks cost all of $1.08, which makes them even better!

The other day I was entertaining myself in the drive-through line, awaiting my Diet Coke. When I pulled up to the window, the cashier told me that the driver in front of me had paid my bill.


It was like Christmas! I know that it was just $1.08 for the drink, but this random act of kindness gave my day a million-dollar boost!

I never knew who the gift was from,

and I had no idea whether the gift was a stretch or simply pocket change for the person in line in front of me. However, that didn’t really matter. I loved it all the same.

Now, for the challenge…

Let’s dedicate the week to making people happy! It doesn’t take much-just a simple, intentional action. It can be a smile, a pat on the back, or even a Diet Coke. If you have time, it can be a special pair of earrings that you have made or perhaps a plate of warm cookies.

Just remember, no random act of kindness is too small-they all count!

Wubbers wants to start things off

We love all our Wubbers friends, and we would like to make creating jewelry even more fun and productive. So, we are going to sponsor a “Random Acts of Kindness” week to share our tools.

So, here’s the nitty-gritty!

We will post the winners on FaceBook each day, starting Monday, August 21st through Sunday, August 27th. We will also send out a newsletter the following week announcing the winners. Winners will be selected from the customers and registered users in the WubbersUShop database. If you would like to enter, be sure to go to the website and set up an account before Monday, August 21st. No purchases are required! If you have any problems registering, please email, and we will be happy to help you out.

The Prizes!

Monday —  Artisan’s Mark Triangle Hammer

Tuesday — Proline Nylon Jaw Pliers

Wednesday — ProLine Round Nose/ Flat Nylon Jaw Pliers

Thursday — Medium Round Bail Making Plier

Friday —  Medium Square Mandrel Plier

Saturday — Set of 5 Proline Pliers with original stand

Sunday — Set of the original 5 Artisan’s Mark Hammers with the stand

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Going to Tucson!

Every year after the hustle and bustle of the Holidays dies down, patti bullard larger photoI start to pack my bags and get ready for my favorite trip to one of the biggest and best bead shows in the world. The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show hosts over 50 different show venues. This year the Tucson Bead Show, hosted at the Radisson Suites, promises 400 workshops along with free admission to shop and explore among the 350 booths!

If you are considering taking a workshop during your time in Tucson and just don’t know where to begin, we want to help. Some of our dear friends and fellow jewelry enthusiasts will be offering classes which inspire, energize and broaden your creative horizons. Check out our featured instructors below!  We have included a portion of their personal statements as well as pictures of some of their classes offered in Tucson.


Gwen Youngblood 

“As an instructor, Gwen loves the interaction and camaraderie of the classroom.  Her mission is to make metal working techniques accessible to everyone, so that students learn more than they expected, and have fun doing it. Students can expect Gwen to share her knowledge and creativity freely, with a dash of humor and lots of caring patience.”
Gwen is one of the leading cold-connections instructors in the jewelry-making industry.  She is the inventor of the Wubbers Riveting Essentials Tool set.  Learn more about her easy-to-use, cost-effective, and patent pending tool by following this link.

CLICK HERE To Access Gwen’s Classes in Tucson!

Debora Mauser

“As well as designing and making jewelry I travel and teach a wide variety of jewelry techniques.  I love, love, love teaching!  Sharing with other enthusiastic, jewelry loving people is always a joy!”

Eva Sherman

“Eva Sherman began beading as a way to spend time with her daughters but soon became hopelessly addicted. In 2005 she traded in her architectural career for the opportunity to spend all her time among beads, and opened Grand River Bead Studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Eva now happily spends most days in the studio creating, writing and teaching, but has been known to take her show on the road. She has discovered an affinity for working with wire and metals, and prefers to design in an organic and unstructured style. Eva has authored two books on jewelry design: “Organic Wire & Metal Jewelry” and ‘Cool Copper Cuffs'”

Melissa Muir

“While I enjoy creating unique jewelry items, my passion lies in teaching. My classes are filled with energy and an easy going atmosphere. My goal is to have my students walk out comfortable with new techniques and confident in their own jewelry making ability. Working as a professional computer trainer for 10 years I learned that there are many ways to teach, and each person learns differently. I strive to use that knowledge to benefit my students. When you take a class from me, I won’t ever “leave you in the dust”. I will do my very best to make sure you understand the concept and technique we are covering in that course.”


CLICK HERE To Access Melissa’s Classes in Tucson!

Francesca Watson

“My infatuation with making jewelry started in 2007 and in 2013 I ran away from my grown-up career in small business management to spend time rediscovering who I am and what I want my life to be about. Today, I am co-owner of The Makery in Bulverde, Texas, where I spend most of my days experimenting with new techniques and teaching metals and jewelry-making.”


CLICK HERE To Access Francesca’s Classes in Tucson!

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Posted in Gwen Youngblood, jewelry making, Jewelry Tips, Local Classes, Patti's Jewelry Travels, Tools, Uncategorized
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