No one really knows when or where the ancient art of wire wrap originated. It is known that Egyptian and Phoenician artists practiced the art over 5,000 years ago as pieces have been found in the pyramids as well as ancient Pharaoh’s tombs.
It is the only known metal jewelry that is created completely without soldering or casting. The wire used may be from many different alloys such as copper, brass, sterling silver or gold. Although this art was lost for a while in history, it reappeared during the Victorian Era, where it’s popularity surpassed traditional cast jewelry. In the last 30 years, wire wrapped jewelry has continued to increase in it’s popularity due to uniqueness, flexibility, and the “create ability” of it’s artisans.
Some of the most frequently asked questions at Sand N Stones are....
What is Gold Filled Wire?
Pure gold is 24Kt. and is so soft that is it impossible to utilize it in wire wrap. Gold-filled (GF) refers to the process in which a layer of 10Kt. or better gold is mechanically bonded under heat and pressure to one or more surfaces of supporting base metal (usually jewelers brass), then rolled or drawn to a given thickness (since it is a surface layer of gold, you cannot cast with it).
The finished product thus has a surface layer of gold of the appropriate karat weight which is very thick compared to gold plate, gold electroplated or rolled gold plate. The quantity of gold must be at least 1/20th by weight of the total product. This is commonly marked as 14/20, 12/20 or 10/20, which mean receptively 1/20th by weight 14Kt. gold-filled, 12Kt. gold-filled, etc.
Rolled Gold Plate is made the same way as gold-filled material, but with a lower gold content. The minimum standard is 1/40th the total weight of the product must be gold. An item marked 10KRGP is 1/40th 10Kt. gold by weight.
Beware of the difference! A 14Kt. Gold filled material carries over a 10% cost increase over 12Kt. material. Most jewelry designers who wire wrap use 12Kt. gold filled wire. The MJB’s Gemwrap uses only 14Kt. gold-filled and Sterling Silver and Anti-Tarnish Argentium® Sterling Silver wire.
What is Argentium 930 Silver?
Imagine Silver jewelry that rarely needs polishing and is firescale-free, that is what you get with Argentium 935 Silver (AS). It is made with a little bit of germanium to strongly inhibit tarnishing. AS silver is just like the traditional Sterling Silver, it is never less than 93% silver and still can be stamped “AS935″, “.935″ or Sterling.
Karat/purity: 935, 93.5 % silver, 6.5 % copper, germanium trace elements,
What type of Wire does Sand N Stones use?
A: 14k Gold-filled: This wire is made by layering 14k gold over a base material, usually jeweler’s brass. The coating in 14/20 gold-filled wire is about 100 times thicker than gold plate. Most of what we use is 14/20 gold-filled wire. Gold-filled items are considered life-time products for most people, and the gold layer will not wear off, as it will in electroplated products. We can now do special orders in Red or White Gold-filled in some cases.
I have used less Sterling Silver wire, and working more with the Anti-Tarnish Sterling Silver wire known as Argentium®Sterling Silver Wire.
Argentium® Sterling Silver is real sterling silver — it is 935 parts out of 1000 silver, or .935. The difference is what the other 075 parts are. Traditional sterling silver uses copper as the balance of the sterling. Argentium® Sterling Silver is a trademarked and patented alloy that uses a combination copper and Germanium to make up the 075 parts of the sterling silver.
Argentium® Sterling Silver is highly tarnish resistant. One jewelry designer who has used it for years in testing claims that she has never seen tarnish on any of her Argentium® pieces! In fact, Argentium® increases its tarnish resistance over time. Argentium® wire is just a bit harder to work with than standard sterling. At only about $1.00 to $2.00 more per ounce, its tarnish resistance makes it well worth the money.Personally, I have found it depends on the acidity level of the person. If you are highly acidic than all silver even the Argentium Silver will tarnish over time.We are positive that our jewelry will bring many generation great joy and appreciation.
Wire wrap jewelry, as with all fine jewelry, requires reasonable and sensible care. You can safely use the same cleaner that you use on your other fine jewelry. You can either take it to your jeweler, or if you prefer it is recommend you use a household soapy detergent, like Lemon scented Joy or Dawn, and a soft (old) toothbrush. First dip both the jewelry and the toothbrush in water. Now dip the toothbrush into the soapy detergent and gently scrub the jewelry. Rinse well. This process may be used on all fine jewelry and works especially well on blackened sterling. All fine jewelry should be cleaned often to maintain it’s beauty and prevent oxidation, that hand creams and soaps build up.
Wash with warm soapy water, avoid harsh detergents, never clean ultrasonically, and never steam clean. Each piece of jewelry that you buy from Sand N Stones has an anti-tarnish strip tab that helps prolong the protection against tarnishing for up to 6 months. The tabs will not leave a deposit on the jewelry and are non-toxic and not abrasive. When the strip changes color it is time to replace.
You can also save all those little silica gel desiccant packets that are packaged with new handbags and shoes. They are like little moisture absorbs and if you slip them in a plastic bag or in your jewelry box with your sterling jewelry they will help keep it from tarnishing. Just be sure to keep the packets away from children and pets as the contents are poisonous.
In 1812 the Moh’s scale of mineral hardness was devised by the German mineralogist Frederich Mohs (1773-1839). He selected the ten minerals because they were common or readily available. The scale is not a linear scale, but somewhat arbitrary.
Some minerals are very soft; others are very hard. The degree of hardness is an aid in identifying the minerals. Diamonds are harder than quartz and will therefore scratch quartz, quartz will scratch calcite, calcite will scratch gypsum, and so on. To help identify minerals, geologists have assigned numbers to the hardness of several minerals. In this hardness scale, the softer minerals are assigned a low number and the harder minerals a higher number.
In the field, an easy way of estimating the hardness of a mineral is by trying to scratch it with common objects such as a fingernail with a hardness of 2.5, a penny is the hardness of a 3, or a pocketknife, hardness 5.5. Glass has a hardness of slightly less than 6 and will scratch most minerals. Anything on the Moh’s scale that is less than a 7 is easily scratched.
Hardness Mineral Associations and Uses
2.5-3 -Gold, Silver
3 -Copper penny
5.5- Knife blade
6.5- Iron pyrite
7+- Hardened steel file
To test a mineral for hardness, try to scratch it with one of these common objects. For example, a sample can be scratched by the knife (H=5.5) but NOT by the penny (H=3). Therefore, the sample has a hardness of about 4. Using other property tests that you will learn in lab, you then determine that the mineral is calcite.
The Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness goes as follows….1 is Talc- Talcum powder.
2 is Gypsum- Plaster of Paris. Gypsum is formed when seawater evaporates from the Earth’s surface
3 is Calcite- Limestone and most shells contain calcite
4 is Fluorite- Fluorine in fluorite prevents tooth decay.
5 is Apatite- When you are hungry you have a big “appetite”.
6 is Orthoclase- Orthoclase is a feldspar, and in German, “feld” means “field
7 is Quartz
8 is Topaz- The November birthstone. Emerald and aquamarine are varieties of beryl with a hardness of 8.
9 is Corundum- Corundum Sapphire and ruby are varieties of corundum. Twice as hard as topaz.
10 is Diamond- Used in jewelry and cutting tools. Four times as hard as corundum
If I have something can I ship it to you to wire wrap?
Yes, I will be happy to wire wrap something that you may already own. It need to be the size of a dime or larger. Sorry, I will not do any animal parts with the exception of shark’s teeth. Please ship the item to my P.O. Box ( P.O. Box 352, Lewes, Delaware 19958) or you can drop them off at Sand N Stones. Please also include your name, phone number, and address and e-mail address, and how you would like to be contacted. When I receive the item, I will contact you, so that we can discuss details. How you want it wrapped in 14 K gold-filled, Anti-Tarnish Sterling Silver, or two-tone. Pendant, pin, earrings, or a ring. If you want a swish or a rosette at the top. How much the it will cost to wire wrap it. Prices start at $80.00 and go up from there. You tell me to go ahead or not, and I get your credit card information at that time.
Fine China, take a little longer to get done, but it is very similar to a wire wrapped stone or sea glass. I have a friend that cuts the plates, saucers, or tea cups up for me. It usually takes him about a week or so to do. He still does shows, so the time frame really depends on if he is away at a show or not. I usually let him decide on the shapes. He cuts stones for a living and really has a wonderful eye. What I will need to know to guide him is if you want large (broach or pin size), medium (medium to large pendant size), or small pieces (earrings or small pendant size). He usually charged $15.00 to cut each piece of fine bone china, (earring would be two separate cuts) which I think is extremely fair, worth it.
How do you price your pieces?
My wire wrapped jewelry starts at $80.00.The price really depends on…
§ If I am wrapping one of my pieces or if you are bring in or sending me something that you already own.
§ The price of the stone or glass or china if it is something out of my cases at Sand N Stones.
§ If you want it wrapped in 14 k gold-filled, anti-tarnish Sterling Silver, or a combination of both,
§ If you want a pendant, pin, earrings (which is like wrapping two pendants with a bit of a discount) or a ring.
§ It also depends on how big and how thick the piece is, because that determine how much wire I use.
§ Chains do not come with my pendants. There are so many different styles, lengths, and thicknesses, so I sell the chains separately.
Which credit cards do you accept?
We request that Checks meet this criteria?
-The check must have a complete Street Address not just a PO Box and a verified phone number.
-Sand N Stones, reserves the right to record identification numbers (such as drives license, Military ID, or State Identification Card numbers) on the check.
-The figure and the written amount must match.
-Check must not be postmarked.
-Checks that I receive in the mail, I try to put in the bank within 24 hours of receiving them. The check must be cleared before I send the merchandise.
-There will be a $35.00 return check fee along with any other accrued charges that may apply. It is also my policy to attempt to contact the customer regarding this matter.Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Can I cancel my order?
Yes, you can, as long as the item has not been shipped if it is a stone from Sand N Stones. Your order can be canceled as long as I have not wrapped it already if it is a piece that you own. If you do receive an order that was canceled, accept delivery of the item and call or text Michele Buckler at 302-270-7027 or send me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I canceled my order but I haven’t received a credit yet. How long do credits take?
We submit all requests for credits within 72 hours of receipt; however, it may take 7-10 business days for you to receive your credit. You should see this on your next credit card statement or the following one, depending on where you are in your billing cycle.
Can I return an item that is damaged, defective, or change my mind?
If, within 10 days, you are not satisfied with your purchase, The merchandise must be in re-sellable condition. We will replace the item or provide a store credit for the full merchandise amount less any shipping charges. Merchandise returned without authorization will be refused, and the carrier will charge you freight in both directions. We request that you please return your merchandise in the original box and packing materials. Do not destroy or discard original packing for 30 days.