Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Fine versus sterling silver

I received the following question:

"You always mention sterling silver, but, recently, my metal guy suggested that I use fine silver instead, for the wrapping... he said it is less likely to break, and less likely to tarnish, than sterling...... What is your take on that? "

The answer:
Fine silver is 99.9 percent pure or higher while sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure or higher. The remaining percentage is usually copper because it is the best metal to alloy with silver. The percentage difference between fine and sterling silver may seem small, but that extra amount of copper is just enough to make the sterling harder than fine silver.

I personally don't like fine silver for wrapping and coiling, because it is so soft that it normally comes undone, while sterling seems to "hold" and stick better. I prefer to use dead-soft sterling silver, which is soft enough, but still holds it shape well.

Pearls with wire wrapping

YOJ 2007 Week 19 - Woman Necklace