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Wire Wrapping

This piece of red sea glass was found on a beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico and is wire wrapped with thick gauge sterling silver wire.

Wrapping objects for adornment with precious metal wire has been practiced for thousands of years. It is believed to have been originated by the ancient Phoenicians. A wire wrap serves as a casual and sometimes rustic jewelry setting. In addition to decorating an item wire wrapping offers some protection to the wrapped object.

When I set out to wire wrap a piece of sea glass I strive to make a soulful piece of jewelry that not only has an organic beauty but that also has a lot of strength. To achieve a durable wire setting I have made an unusual choice in wire gauge selection.

Before going any further let me explain about wire gauge. The thinner the wire the higher the gauge and the thicker the wire the smaller the gauge. For instance 26g is ultra fine while 10g is very thick.

Wire wrapping is commonly done with thin or light gauge wire from 24g-20g (.5mm-.8mm). After experimenting with thin gauge wire I was curious to see what would happen if I used thicker gauge wire. My initial attempts were extremely frustrating. However, I was determined to create an unusually strong wire wrap! After much trial and error I evolved a method using 16g wire ( 1.3mm) and now Out Of The Blue Sea Glass Jewelry is renowned for the quality and strength of wire wrapped sea glass jewelry.

Wire wrapping with such a thick gauge requires real skill and a great deal of hand strength. 16g wire has a solid tactile quality and hammers beautifully. I start with dead soft sterling silver wire and work harden and burnish it as I go along. The result is an heirloom quality piece of wire wrapped jewelry that with proper care will be enjoyed by for decades.

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