When getting started in jewellery making, it can be difficult to know what sized wire is suitable for the project you have in mind. So we've created this visual information page, so you can see and compare various designs using different sized wire.
If you have any questions, please do get in touch - we'd love to help!
Please bear in mind that this page is for guidance only - choosing the most suitable wire always depends on your choice of wire, bead and project. As a beginner, we recommend purchasing various sizes of wire to experiment with your designs. Plated jewellery wire is great to practice with as it's affordable however be aware that sterling silver is much easier to bend and manipulate. Have fun and be creative!
Wire is measured in either mm - which is the UK's measurement guide, or in gauge - which is America's measurement guide.
Sometimes, when following projects from the internet or books, the American measurement is used. We recommend taking a look at our handy wire gauge conversion chart showing the AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes and their equivalents in both inches and millimeters. We provide up to 10 different sizes in sterling silver round wire, starting at 0.2mm (32 gauge) ranging to 4mm (6 gauge).
This sized wire is very soft and easy to manipulate, which makes it great for using with small and fiddly beads. We tend to reach for this wire for wire wrapping beads which are in need of delicate and intricate designs. Depending on the size of the bead hole, being able to use the thickest wire possible will ensure your design is secure. Be careful not to put too much pressure on your beads when wire wrapping, and choose a thinner wire if it's struggling to get through the hole - as this will likely break your bead. Take a look at some examples of designs using 0.2mm - 0.5mm round wire below.
For small beads like our 2.5 x 1.5mm multicoloured aquamarine, we chose to use 0.2mm sterling silver round wire as this was secure enough and looks lovely and delicate once hung on ear wires and attaching one of our geometric charms. This sized wire is very easy to bend and manipulate which makes it perfect for earring drops as the wire is less likely to lose its shape, therefore it wouldn't be suitable for designs which may be handled more often such as on rings or bracelets. You can however work harden your jewellery wire to add more strength to your design - read our top tips here.
Briolette beads are one of our favourite beads to work with! Most of our briolettes will work best with 0.3mm round sterling silver wire, however we recommend always checking the hole size in the product description or keep a few different sizes at hand just in case. You can also see below, where we have used 0.4mm wire on our peridot briolettes to add a chunky look for comparison. Wire wrapping a briolette is very similar to wire wrapping any other bead, but with a briolette you can choose whether you would like to continue to wrap the wire down the top part of the bead to form a cap.
0.4mm round wire is great to use for using alongside thicker wire for adding featured beads like these designs! Above we have used 9ct gold plated round wire to wrap some sparkly spinel beads around our popular hoop earrings. Our customer, Deb Briggs founder of Debonair Creations features in the middle design above using 0.8mm square wire and 0.4mm copper wire to weave around the frame with metal beads. Not only that, you can see how using a slightly thicker wire on briolette beads can add a different and bolder look to your design - just make sure you're not forcing wire through the bead hole or it may break!
0.5mm round wire is also suitable for wire wrapping beads however this works best with larger, statement beads such as the crystal point bead and amazonite beads which have big holes as shown above. This size wire is a little harder to wrap compared to 0.2mm wire but with a little practice you will be a pro in no time!
0.6mm and 0.8mm round wire is perfect for creating wire wrapped rings featuring your favourite gemstone! Louisa from 'Jewellery By Louisa' shows off this gorgeous silver ring featuring a round bead for a classic yet contemporary design. Great to use on suitable large beads, cabochons, crystals and sea glass.
0.8mm is the most suitable sized wire for using for creating your own ear wires and earring designs. As you can see above, we have created numerous earrings in a range of styles including wire wrapped earstuds using crystals and round beads, hammered earrings and beaded hoops. The possibilities are endless, all you need is to get a little creative!
1mm wire is wonderful for creating stacking rings, pendants and adding dimensions to your jewellery designs! We created the boho amazonite earrings featuring dangling hammered 1mm wire, the project and kit can be found here.
Ali from Buttons & Beads: "I used 1mm for this dainty bracelet, the first and only of its kind! It was a gift for my lovely cousin, I really need to use it more often as it’s fab for keeping a beautiful shape and is so malleable, no chance of snapping unlike elastic."
Also featuring a gorgeous geometric pendant design using 1mm wire by Claire from Pop Up Jewellery Ltd, plus delicate stacking gemstone rings by the talented Ceri Dalton the jeweller behind Groovy Jewellery.
1.5mm is a lovely thick wire for creating many jewellery designs. Top left photo is a stunning wire wrapped rainbow moonstone pendant, created with a mixture of 1.5mm, 1mm and 0.6mm round copper wire made by Tamzyn Shaw. Next up with have gorgeous earrings made from 0.8mm wire with 1.5mm hanging posts by Lily Alexandra Handmade Silver. We created the eye catching cuff bracelet, with a base of 1.5mm copper wire, wrapped with 0.4mm 9t gold plated wire complete with aquamarine beads! The bottom right ring is made from 1.5mm wire featuring labradorite cabochons from Kernowcraft, handmade by Jules from Scrappo Worko.
2mm is great for those big and bold designs! Here we've made a simple diamond wrapped ring using 2mm sterling silver round wire, with delicately wrapped natural diamond nuggets beads using 0.2mm wire. The gorgeous necklace by Susan Webb is made using 2mm wire and a thinner wire for the round circles.
If you really want to make a statement, 3mm - 6mm wire will certainly do just that! Thanks to Hayley Agar Jewellery and Kim Thomson (the jeweller behind 12 Months Of Metal series available on our blog), for sharing these big and bold jewellery designs using thick wire. Hayley's design at the bottom features a beautiful star charm bangle which is made from 4.8mm x 3.2mm rectangular wire.
We stock a wide range of metal wire to suit your jewellery making needs. Our range of metal wire includes sterling silver, eco-friendly, 9ct gold, copper and brass. You will also find d-shape wire, square & rectangular wire, beaded wire, twisted wire, gallery wire and bezel strip. Our sterling silver, eco-friendly silver wire and 9ct gold wire can be cut to the size that suits you.
Now you know what sized wire is suitable for what jewellery designs, now it's time to look at the difference between metals, learn about the shapes available and choosing the right tools for your projects - plus more!
Wire wrapping is a great place to start if you want to give jewellery making a try! Discover more advice pages, plus step by step tutorials, jewellery making kits and more so you can get started in no time.
Explore over 300 types of gemstone beads to complete your designs! Available as loose, packs of 10 or beads strands.
Always take care when using gemstone beads in your jewellery designs - our top tips are not to put pressure on the beads and use suitable sized wire or thread which fits easily through the bead hole.