How to Decide What Gauge Metal to Use in Jewelry Projects

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Brass, copper, sterling silver and gold sheet metal all come in a variety of gauges. Choosing the correct gauge metal can have a significant impact on the success of your jewelry design. This tutorial will explain how to select the best gauge metal to use in your jewelry making project.

  • Consider the weight and thickness of the metal and how it will enhance or inhibit the aesthetics of your jewelry design.

  • Consider the use of the final jewelry piece. Thicker metal is more sturdy but it will weigh more. Heavy metal is often useful in bracelets and rings that are often subject to abuse when worn. Lighter metal is often selected when the jewelry will be pined to light weight clothing, such as silk or worn in an earring.

  • Consider typical uses. The chart below provides guidelines for what gauge sheet metal are often used in jewelry projects:
    12 gauge -- very heavy rings & forged bracelets
    14 gauge -- heavy rings and bracelets
    16 gauge -- average rings
    18 gauge -- lightweight pierced designs
    18 to 26 gauge -- beads, bezels for settings, brooches, buttons, earrings

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