Choosing a Wire Type for your Wire Wrapped Jewelry
Sterling, antiqued, plated, non-tarnish, 925, bare copper, patina, jewellers brass - WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Hopefully, I can help you understand it all a bit better so that you can pick the option that best suites you and your jewelry needs.
This is a wire that is given a protective clear coating to keep them from getting a tarnished/antiqued look to them. In other words they stay bright and shiny. I use the brand Parawire for all my non-tarnish wire jewelry. It is the top recommended non-tarnish wire in the industry, but it is still possible for the coating to wear off. This option is less expensive
I use Parawire for this which has a copper core and then has a thin plating of fine silver and finally a clear enamel to keep it from tarnishing. Even though this is the top recommended brand in the industry, it is still possible for one or both of these coatings to wear off. That being said, silver plated wire is a much more economical option if you want the silver color without the sterling silver price.
Antiqued - Oxidized - Patina (all the same thing)
This is an effect that is done to the metal after a piece has been otherwise completed. Wire that has been antiqued has had a patina added to it either by chemicals or by a more natural process. This is something that happens to metal naturally over time as it is exposed to air and humidity, but for the sake of productivity this process is artificially sped up. After it has been oxidized the metal looks black and kind of dirty. So the next step is to remove the patina from the high points of the design, and bring these areas back to a beautiful lustre. What your left with is a piece that shows off the natural beauty of the individual metal while the crevices and hard to reach areas of the design are left quite dark. This gives the item an aged look that makes it much easier to see the fine details in the piece. Finally the item is polished and ready to go. Personally, I find that this option highlights the design and gives it a much more "finished" look. Due to the amount of time and labour spent adding this effect though, it is a bit more money.
Bare or Polished Metals
These metals do not have an enamel coating and they have not been antiqued. It is just the bare metal polished up all bright and shiny and ready for purchase. Over time these may eventually start to tarnish but can still be cleaned.
925 Sterling Silver
Sterling silver refers to the actual metal in the wire. It means that it is 92.5% pure silver, with the other 7.5% usually being copper. Since this is a precious metal instead of a base metal, it is going to be more money. It is a good option though for people with metal sensitivities.
This option also refers to the the actual metal content (85% copper and 15% zinc). It's color is very close to a 14K yellow gold. So if you like the look of gold without the corresponding price tag, this option is for you.