Questions About Sterling Silver Filled Wire

by Lynda Carson.
(Spring Valley, CA)

Hi, everyone– I’ve been hearing about a new metal product that is sterling silver filled wire. Does anyone have information about this product?

How does it compare to sterling silver wire in look, how it handles when forged, solders, wears, patinas…?

And of course, price?

I’m hopeful that it will give jewelry makers an strong option between sterling silver and silver plate craft wire.

I would welcome what you know or if you’ve had experience with this. Thanks so much.

Lynda Carson
Fresh Baked Designs

Comments:

Sterling silver filled wire
by: Jo

I ordered a roll of sterling silver filled wire from an American vendor and sent it back. It looked terrible. The silver fill was cracked and chipped. I looked at it with a loop and it appeared to be that way on the entire roll. Maybe I just got a bad roll. Not sure, but I don’t plan to buy it again.

Sterling silver filled wire
by: Rena

I haven’t used this wire yet but here’s some basic info on it (which you may already know) from my page here on jewelry making silver:

Silver filled metal is made by bonding a layer of sterling silver over a core of another metal (usually copper). It involves a much thicker layer of silver than is used in silver plated metals.

If you’re familiar with gold filled metal – this is the silver version of it.

This metal isn’t widely used as a jewelry making silver yet. I’ve seen it occasionally in jewelry wire and findings, as a type of sterling silver wire that’s more affordable when metal prices skyrocket.

Keep in mind that the copper core of sterling silver filled wire looks very different from the silver outer layer – so deep tool scratches or cut ends may reveal the copper or start to show a pinkish color in the silver.

However, since the sterling silver outer layer can be oxidized just like regular sterling silver, oxidizing can conceal any of the copper that may be peeking through.

Lynda, I hope that if you decide to experiment with silver filled wire, you’ll let us know what happens!

I really appreciate all of your posts on your metal explorations.

Oh, and I’ve been really enjoying the earrings I purchased from you. I’m wearing the copper washer earrings with the abalone centers right now – they’ve become one of my “default” pairs of earrings! :o)

Jo – your experience
by: Rena

Interesting to hear your experience with silver filled wire, Jo – thanks so much for the warning to check it carefully for quality before using!

Good advice
by: Lynda

Thank you, Jo and Rena, for sharing your knowledge and experience. My local supply shop is getting some of this product very soon and do want to give it a try. However, with eyes wide open… I’ll keep you posted.

And, Rena, so happy to hear you’re enjoying those earrings!

Lynda

Silver Filled is OK
by: Lisa of WildGift Designs

You have to be sure you get the right thickness rating wire.

I have asked before buying my silver filled wire and 1/40th (SS/40) silver by weight (thickness of the silver on the copper core) is not the quality you want. That is like silver plated as far as I am concerned, but might be OK with wire wrapping. Not sure.

You want 1/20th (SS/20) or 1/10th (SS/10) weight of silver over other metal.

You need to find someone who deals with this type of wire and knows what they are selling you.

You can be a bit rougher with the ss/20 and ss10.

Sterling Silver Filled Wire
by: Dawn McCreary

Hi Lynda,
I’m new to wire wrapping and decided to try it with copper and silver filled. I’ve ordered from Fire Mountain and Rio Grande as they both have 1/20 SS wire. Before purchasing, I did research and read the press releases. Fire Mountain has a “no questions asked” return policy, so give it a try, you have nothing to lose!!

I have been using it for a few months now and am very impressed with the quality. I’ve done everything with this wire, except soldering, and I love it!!!!

By the way, I love reading your blog and seeing what your latest “experiment” will be. I purchased a variety pack of copper washers from Harbor Freight and have had SO much fun with my torch, a spray bottle, my hammer and a file!! Thanks to your brother for such a great idea!! The results are amazing and they make great earrings. Your designs have inspired me to be more experimental. Thank you!!!

Fondly,
Dawn McCreary
loildf@gmail.com

Silver Fill
by: Nan

I ordered Sf wire when it first came out at RioGrande.I get the 1/10. I moved from practicing with copper to this on my designs before I took out my Sterling.
This stuff takes a beating… I have never had any problems with it and I have every size from 14g to to 24g.
Rio has suggestion to use as a mixed metal by scuffing etc. ; with the 1/10 at least I have not yet been able to scratch to the inner core. If you want that industrial/ steampunk look you can do it much easier on the 1/20. I have rolled it in a mill, hammered, and tumbled.
I have sold some jewelry using it now. Because I have practice with both the wire and sheet I know it will hold up. But at the same time I can give a price break to customers.
Hope that helps.
Nan

Sterling silver filled wire
by: Rena

Cool idea for using it for a mixed-metal or distressed metal look!

Thanks so much for everyone’s tips on this topic!

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