Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wire Review: Diamond Cut Sterling Silver Wire From Rio Grande

While perusing Rio Grande recently, I ran across this: Diamond cut, faceted sterling silver wire. I grabbed some so fast, you would have thought it was chocolate! I got the 20g to try.

As you may know, I don't use a lot of twisted square wire in my work. I find it to be overwhelming on a majority of pieces. I was hoping this wire would have a more subtle effect and it does.

Lets take a look at it:

20g faceted diamond cut sterling silver wire

Compared to smooth square wire:

diamond cut, faceted sterling silver round wire compared to smooth wire

and.... compared to square twisted wire:

As you can see, this wire is radically different. I was sold on the looks, I wondered how it would work.

I chose a beautiful bustamite pendant to work with because I believe this wire is best just for accent and that was all I wanted for this stone.

My impressions:

The wire looks very rough. It is actually surprisingly soft. It is not smooth, mind you, but I don't think it would cause a lot of problems to wear. 

I thought the wire would be much more hard or stiff. It is not. Despite what Rio Grande says on the website, "to avoid annealing, use only after soldering" this is very soft wire. In fact, the lack of harness is a bit of an issue for me. It doesn't want to hold it's shape well. You have very few options to harden it, as well. You can't hammer or twist it and running it through a cloth tears up your cloth.

The look is quite nice. It has a bright but not garish twinkle. It is almost subtle. I can see using this for accent to great effect.

The gauge seems smaller than 20g. That is because the surface is textured leaving a slightly smaller solid diameter. It did bundle very well with 20g round, though. But, because the core is smaller, it is less strong. I wouldn't use the 20g for earring drops, as an example. I think it would be fine for small components which will be work hardened, but for larger components, I don't think it is strong or hard enough. However, as I found out, a single wire in a bundle works very well. One just has to remember to work harden the angles a bit. I think this would be very nice to add to a wire sculptured piece- better than twisted square even. The cost may make that unacceptable, though.

Overall, I have to say that I like the wire. For what I would use it for, that is, accent in a bundle for a pendant, it is perfectly acceptable and fairly easy to use. However, because of the softness, I think it has its limits.

I haven't given it a patina. I'm not sure that I want to. I will try it at some point when I think it might be called for and let you know what I think.

I tumbled this piece for an hour. It tumbles fine and I think I could have tumbled much longer. 

Thanks for reading :) I hope this was helpful and that you decide to try this new wire. I may get some more to do a wire sculpted piece. I haven't done one in awhile.


  1. Thank you for that Tela!

    Very helpful. I would imagine then to get the same diameter/rigidity as 20g you may need to buy 18g in order to account for the 'cuts'?

    I'm going to check Rio out now!

    Glenda x

    1. Hey, Miss Glenda :) The diameter is the same, but the exterior of the wire is the cuts/not solid. The wire snugs up nicely with the other wires, so technically, it is the same diameter. But, I think 18g would be better if needed a stiffer wire.

  2. Interesting. And looks *awesome* on that stone!
    You mentioned that it tears the polishing cloth.. I suppose similar thing happens to hands too? It really looks quite rough to work with..

    1. Hey Laura :) Thanks!

      You know I use a sunshine cloth, which is like a heavy flannel. It will pull at the flannel, tearing balls off it. It is really not that bad on the hands. It looks more rough than it is. Of course, I didn't work with a bundle of just that wire for a long period, either.

  3. Hi Tela! I saw this wire recently & was intrigued. I was wondering about it's usage & had all the questions you identified. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Cindy was in Texas

  4. I bought 18g. diamond cut sterling years ago from a different vender. It looked beautiful, but I was concerned that it would snag fabric. I've never used it.

    I need to think of ways to "couch it" between smooth wires, as you have. It adds a lovely sparkle to your piece.


  5. Hi there I was doing a google search for faceted sterling silver wire and this post popped up. Rio doesn't sell this anymore and I was wondering if you found another supplier? Any help would be appreciated as I use this in 16 gauge in a listed design on my website. Thank you!

    1. Hi- I'm sorry, but I haven't seen it anywhere else. I wasn't even aware that Rio stopped selling it. Thanks for posting!


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