Musings of an Obsessed Jeweler and Former Mermaid

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Silver filled wire?!?!

There are soooo many different wires and variations on metals out there! I have just come across a new one to confuse people even more! Silver filled wire.Not really new, but gaining more popularity and with the rise of silver, it seems to some jewelers an economical way to make jewelry.
Many of you may already be familiar with gold filled. This is a "new" take on it.
So, what is it? Fire Mountain defines it as "wire made of a durable outer layer of sterling silver bonded to a copper core." it has a thick bonded plating of sterling on the outside, unlike plated which is just a thin layer of silver on base metal. Plated will tarnish and turn as the layer of silver wears. Silver filled wire, if you take care of it, will last a very very long time looking new. You must be careful not to scratch or nick the outer layer, though. The copper will show through and there is nothing you can do to fix it.
I think Fire Mountain Gems is the original distributor of it, but many people are selling it as the middleman on Artfire and Etsy for those of you wishing to work with it. It also comes in many gauges and tempers. They make jumprings and earwires that are premade.
Fire Mountain touts it as being cheaper than sterling. If you look at many other stores on the internet, Monsterslayer for one, you will find the price is not a whole lot different than sterling. I would rather pay the extra couple bucks and get the real deal. Gold filled, on the other hand. is a different story. With the prices of gold soaring higher and higher, using gold filled makes sense. You get the look of gold without the outrageous expense. I'll check back later after I have tested it out and let you know what I think.