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To wire or not to wire, that is the question

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  • To wire or not to wire, that is the question

    We've got so many varied opinions about pearls and wire and scratching and so forth, I thought I'd start a post re: wire.

    Personally, I love it and have no problem wiring pearls. My only problem with wiring pearls is sterling. Everything I have wired is sterling and you can't clean sterling effectively because that WILL damage the pearls. So, you either like the oxidized look, which I personally don't care for. Or, one day, you remake everything with argentium.

    Next ...
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  • #2
    Argentium is definitely the way to go. At first you couldn't get much in it other than sheet and wire, but findings are popping up now. There are silversmiths that have completely switched over to Argentium, putting an end to the regular polishing of their inventory.

    I just made and sold a pair of wire and pearl earrings that were artfully wrapped because they were center-drilled stick pearls. Too bad I didn't take a photo.

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    • #3
      I switched to argentium a couple of years ago, but discovered that my spool of argentium wire actually tarnished worse than my sterling in my studio! When I called my source to inquire why, I was told that argentium will still tarnish in high humidity areas. Designing with silver & pearls has been one of my major frustrations! I started a thread about it a while back. I even experimented with casting in silver alloyed with platinum - also tarnishes. Now I'm trying to find a source that will rhodium plate some of my silver pieces for me, but it seems like the only place I can find is in California. So there is no compromise it seems. Just learn to love the tarnish... If you can't beat 'em, join 'em they say. So now I just go ahead and blacken everything to begin with!

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      • #4
        Think of it as adding contrast!

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        • #5
          Yeah... frustrating. Silver and pearls look so great together and go along so badly!

          Good to know about those fussy alloys tarnishing ...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sleight
            I switched to argentium a couple of years ago, but discovered that my spool of argentium wire actually tarnished worse than my sterling in my studio!
            Wow! Thanks for the heads up before I went out a bought a bunch of it! I'm going to do a little investigative research. This is the first time of heard of it tarnishing in less than 50 years.
            Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

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            • #7
              sts tarnishing - try fine silver

              I use fine silver quite a lot in my designs; both wire and beads. It doesn't tarnish so quickly as sterling, and the Karen Hilltribes in Thailand recommend using lime juice to clean their fine silver products. There's a U.S. company called Speedbrite which manufacturers ionic cleaners, which are much more gentle than sonic cleaners. I've used mine for designs which have sts and pearls combined, with no detriment to the pearls.

              Morna

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pmorna742
                I use fine silver quite a lot in my designs; both wire and beads. It doesn't tarnish so quickly as sterling, and the Karen Hilltribes in Thailand recommend using lime juice to clean their fine silver products. There's a U.S. company called Speedbrite which manufacturers ionic cleaners, which are much more gentle than sonic cleaners. I've used mine for designs which have sts and pearls combined, with no detriment to the pearls.

                Morna
                Thanks for the detailed info --

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                • #9
                  Hi PMorna! Your ionic cleanser sounds like an answer we have long sought on this forum. Where do you get one?

                  Also- being as I really am just a lowly beader and don't know much about different kinds of silver- I thought there was sterling and silverplate and that's it- so I would really like to know what fine silver is and where to get findings made from it. I only use silver findings, but never thought about it beyond that.
                  Thanks
                  Caitlin

                  How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

                  My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

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                  • #10
                    Fine silver is 99% pure silver. I would imagine it's too soft to make findings, but then again, people make 22kt and 24kt findings which are extremely soft, so I guess findings are out there somewhere. Their strength and ability to hold would be questionable IMO. Fine silver is so soft it's not even soldered together, it's melted to bond. There is fine silver wire, but there's no reason why you can't use your regular sterling findings.
                    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

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                    • #11
                      Hi All,

                      Wire and Pearls, Okay now I am starting to slowly be a convert. with creating and fixing some of my pearl jewelry.. I only use "silver headpins" at this point but who knows. Just wanted ya'll to know that I am slowly converting..,

                      Cheers
                      Last edited by Ash; 01-02-2008, 07:08 AM.

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                      • #12
                        speedbrite and fine silver findings

                        Originally posted by Caitlin Williams
                        Hi PMorna! Your ionic cleanser sounds like an answer we have long sought on this forum. Where do you get one?

                        Also- being as I really am just a lowly beader and don't know much about different kinds of silver- I thought there was sterling and silverplate and that's it- so I would really like to know what fine silver is and where to get findings made from it. I only use silver findings, but never thought about it beyond that.
                        Thanks
                        Caitlin,

                        Just google "Speedbrite", and you'll get several sources which sell the product.

                        I use Hilltribe fine silver toggles all time, usually crimping either Soft Touch or Beadalon thread directly onto the toggle. I don't use their jumprings though - not sturdy enough. I import all my sterling jumprings from an American lady who's company is called Precious Maille dot com. Her rings give that very satisfying "click" when they're closed, and eliminate the possibility of the thread disappearing through the space between less well made jumprings. Also, there are gadgets (expensive ones!) which enable you to make your own jumprings, if you want to work independantly of other crafters.

                        I hope that helps a bit.

                        Morna

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                        • #13
                          Oh yeah, Ashby's right. Headpins. I've used a few of those......Never thought I'd learn so much when first i came......
                          Caitlin

                          How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

                          My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Caitlyn,

                            I ventured into the Silver headpins when I found some Fleur-Du-Lys findings and thought they would look great with pearls hanging from them. I took the Plunge.... I have also used them on my Kondor & Kestral memorial bracelet. Fire moutain gems has them in real silver unsure of the % content but they are pretty easy to use.

                            Hope eveyone has a Happy New Year!

                            Cheers

                            Ashby

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