You Don’t Have to Splurge On Expensive Gold and Silver Wire!

Do you ever want to create a piece of jewelry but choose not to because you just can’t justify shelling over the cash for premium gold-filled or sterling silver wire? Don’t let this hinder your creative ideas! When I want to design wire jewelry on a budget, I use one of the abundance of other wire options at! Here is a break down of affordable wire alternatives that you can use in place of sterling silver or gold filled wire:

1. Copper Wire

Copper wire is much, much less expensive than sterling silver or gold filled wire, but it is also much softer. If you plan to use copper wire for a project in place of sterling silver or gold wire, you will have to go up a gauge or two. Copper does come in half hard and dead soft, so you can use whichever wire corresponds with the sterling or gold filled wire that you would have used. The downside of using copper is that it only comes in one color – copper. If you are looking to still use a gold or silver color, you’ll want to check out the three other options below.

2. Craft Wire

Craft wire is the least expensive wire available at It comes in four colors – silver plated, gold plated, copper plated and vintage bronze, and in limited gauges. Craft wire is very hard, so you can use it for the same types of projects in the same gauge that you would with half hard sterling silver or gold-filled. Because it’s not a soft wire, I don’t recommend that you use it for covering a briolette or any other techniques that call for dead soft wire.

3. Artistic Wire

Artistic wire is another very inexpensive wire. It is made with a copper core and enamel coating, so it is very soft. If you are using Artistic wire for a project in place of sterling or gold filled wire, I recommend that you use a large gauge to accommodate for the fact that it’s so soft. Some of the perks of using this wire include that you have an unbelievably huge range of colors and sizes to choose from. In addition, this wire is also non-tarnish (a bonus that you won’t find with sterling silver!) and it is resistant to chipping and peeling.

4. Parawire

Parawire is very comparable to Artistic wire in the wide range of gauges and colors that it is available in. It also contains a copper core with non-tarnish coating. The benefit of Parawire is that it’s softer than craft wire but harder than Artistic wire. If you are using Parawire for a project in place of sterling silver or gold filled wire, you can use the gauge that the project calls for, since Parawire is only slightly softer than sterling silver.

Happy wire shopping! – Sara

12 comments to You Don’t Have to Splurge On Expensive Gold and Silver Wire!

  • Hi!
    I just wanted to say, thank you… I appreciate all the information… it is always very helpful!
    Take care,

  • Brenda

    Wow! I didn’t realize there were so many choices. I feel kind of behind the times! LOL Thank you for the information.

  • Robbin

    I discovered Parawire a few months ago and I thik it’s fabulous. I feel that it is more durable than Artistic Wire in both temper and coating. I’m also beginning to love the look of copper, it has really grown on me!

  • Karen

    Is Parawire also non-tarnish? My plans are to crochet with this wire or the Artistic wire to make jewelry.
    Thank you, love all your colors of wire. Can’t wait to place an order. I have a wish list started already.


    Karen, both Parawire and Artistic Wire are very similar products and each has a non-tarnish silver. Both will behave in similar ways. When crocheting a plated wire you must be careful not to mar the plating with your hook to avoid the copper underneath showing through. If you are using a colored wire we suggest using the varieties with a silver plating underneath the enamel. You can tell which colors have this additional layer by the higher prices when compared to the colors that have the enamel directly over the copper core. For more information please email Customer Service at

  • Wow! Great info! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Good to know! I haven’t wire wrapped in a while and recently I started a copper bracelet. Maybe I can blame my hideous loops on the softness… ;D

  • Eve

    How hard is parawire compared to half hard copper? Thanks!

  • Laura

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for the comparison. I spent hours trying to find which gauge Parawire to use for projects that require SS or Artistic wire. FINALLY I can confidently order more Parawire to use with a jig!

  • Some genuinely nice and utilitarian info on this website, likewise I think the layout holds excellent features.

  • You really work hard and work well to make this blog a attractive on the topic beaded jewelry.

    I appreciate with your work that you have been done.

    Beaded Jewelry

  • Linda ingalls

    What non tarnish wire is good for wire wrapping, please?

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