Steel Wire Jewelry: Stylish & Simple Designs by Brenda Schweder

Brenda Schweder works simple steel wire into artful jewelry using stylish designs. Color photos and detailed illustrations make recreating the pieces easy.



Hand-made jewelry often brings to mind copper wire, as it is easy to work with and readily available at craft stores. Brenda Schweder, in her book Steel Wire Jewelry, utilizes steel instead and shows how this utilitarian wire can create beautiful works of art. She gives a thorough background of working with steel wire, and shows step-by-step how to do basic pieces that can be expanded upon and changed.

Steel Wire: Properties and Usage

Steel wire is strong, affordable, and at most home improvement stores. This makes it a great choice for someone wanting to try it out without spending a lot upfront and making a special trip to the jewelry section of a craft store. Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world, and is found everywhere. It is a common material used in both industrial and farm applications (construction materials and chicken wire), as well as home furnishings, and it comes in both ferrous and nonferrous styles. Ferrous wire contains iron and nonferrous are all other types of steel wire.

Even though steel wire is cost effective in creating unique jewelry pieces, it is also prone to rust. If rust is not brushed off after occurring and allowed to spread, the pieces made of steel will become weakened. To protect pieces after you make them, Schweder recommends a microcrystalline wax to both seal and protect the steel.

Basic Materials for Creating Steel Jewelry

Not many special tools are required for making steel jewelry. Schweder recommends to have on hand flush cutters, mallets and hammers, and different pliers to form shapes and angles, and files to manipulate and work out any imperfections. Since steel wire can be messy, steel wool is used to clean the pieces themselves, and Schweder's biggest tip: cleaning your hands often to prevent redistribution of the soot that collects on the pieces.

Steel Wire Jewelry Overview and Chapters

Steel Wire Jewelry contains two main parts: The Basics, and The Projects. In The Basics, Schweder delves in the origins of steel wire, and Charles Lewton-Brain does a good job of listing the global history of steel and iron jewelry. The numerous jewelry projects include: wire earrings, bracelets (including cuffs, traditional bracelets, and bangles), necklaces and collars, brooches and fibulas, belts, rings, and more.

Recommended for Artists Looking at Other Materials for Jewelry

Steel jewelry can be both rustic and refined, all depending on what other objects were used around the steel wire and how it was shaped. Being that it is cheap and very durable, trying out new styles that require multiple bends and back and forth movement won't lead to stress points on the wire like it does when working with copper. For those interested in this material and are new to jewelry making, Steel Wire Jewelry goes step-by-step on things like jump rings and plain loops, and gives good tips on basic jewelry making.

Book Information:

  • Steel Wire Jewelry: Stylish Designs Simple Techniques Artful Inspirations; by Brenda Schweder
  • Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
  • ISBN13: 9781600595387
  • Soft cover, 128 pages
Disclosure: This book was provided to the author by the publisher. Any opinions expressed are the author's own.