Dark Annealed Wire

 I have been wanting to play around with dark annealed wire since I got a copy of Brenda Schweder's book Steel Wire Jewelry. The book is full of the most interesting and unique designs I have ever seen. I'm a huge fan of Alexander Calder jewelry as well so my taste for wire is growing stronger by the day. Yesterday Joe called me as usual after he was out of school and said he was at Ace picking up some keys he was having made. When he said Ace, I instantly remembered someone had told me that they sell this wire, so I asked him to look around for it for me. He brought me a spool.

This morning I put together a few pair of earrings just to play around with it a little. I like it! It's nice and easy to work with, and you can hammer it nicely too. I didn't have black hands afterwards, 
 surprisingly enough!  And I love how it looks mixed with other metal such as brass components. 

some tips i learned this morning from Brenda as we chatted on FB:

cleaning the wire with steel wool and
then coating with Renaissance wax will
prevent the wire from rusting.

if making ear wires, do these 2 steps VERY well.

 Little does he know, he's going to back to pick up MORE- I hope there's more available!


  1. I love the look of this dark wire! But I'm a bit nervous about the rust factor that I keep hearing about, especially in our humid Kansas summers. I may just have to take the leap....

    Your earrings are just beautiful!

  2. Very cool, great designs as always. I think I need to pick up some of that, it will go great with my Copper pieces! A nice subtle contrast.

  3. I'm crazy for steel wire,and have used it in several of the Bead Soup Party pieces, but i was never quite sure what to use as a coating to prevent the rust...think Brenda's book is a must have.

  4. I love how these look! I'm developing some new ceramic bead styles for darker schemes (kiln unloading later this weekend - wee!) - the dark wire would be fantastic with those. Can't wait to try this out.

  5. I love visiting hardware stores to search for unique jewelry supplies, especially Old Forge Hardware http://www.oldforgehardware.com/ (our favorite shopping destination in the Adirondacks)! I always walk away with something. Thank you for sharing your experience with the wire. The earrings are beautiful!

  6. Burgnewel11/18/2011

    Love the wire and the earrings. Great contrasts with copper and brass. Where can you get Renaissance wax and do you only apply it once?

  7. I see you can find the Ren wax at Ornamentea.com

  8. GORGEOUS! I love the top earrings especially.

  9. Beautiful!! I too, love those top earrings! I will have to try using this steel wire...will be checking out ACE to see if my neighborhood ACE carries it. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I know that's what Deryn Mentock uses for A LOT of her designs. And when you steel wool some of the black off, you get a really gorgeous vintage look. I've got a spool I've been playing with on and off (didn't know about the rust factor!), and I do love the look, but I find it particularly tough to bend, and I am a wire wrapping maniac. It's the exact same brand/gauge you have pictured. My thumb practically seceded from my hand after a working with it on a necklace the other day but few days later and NO jewelry making, my thumb has decided to stay. I might have to try hammering it now. And I'll definitely get on the Ren wax!

  11. I've been intrigued by this wire for a long time but haven't tried any yet. I admit, I'm worried about the difficulty of working with it after being used to the easy bendability of copper and brass wire. The color is so yummy, though!

  12. I looked at some of this yesterday at Lowe's..after seeing someone suggest it on your blog. I really like how it feels too, but the rolls I saw were huge. I wanted to try a smaller roll. After seeing how it worked for you, I just may go get that big ole roll. :)

    Cool earrings!

  13. I've used it quite a bit. I like it, but stopped using it b/c I was paranoid about rust. (But now I have Permalac and Renaissance Wax both...) It tumbles to a high shine beautifully, to look more like gunmetal. You just have to be careful to dry it quickly and thoroughly. I always clean it with steel wool first as there is some black residue on it. You can hammer it too, it just becomes very hard so you want to hammer it when it is already in the shape you want.

  14. It is my wire of choice. I have it in 19 gauge that I use most frequently, and 22 gauge and even 28 gauge. I recently picked up a huge spool of 16 gauge which is what Brenda uses in her book. It was in another part of the hardware store. I think they call it tie wire. I usually clean it with a scrubby pad so that it has the soft silver sheen to it, like gunmetal. If I remember, I rub it down with Renaissance Wax before I start otherwise it is a challenge to seal it later. And recently I bought some galvanized steel wire that is not blackened so it looks more like nice silver in my opinion. Nice earrings, Lorelei. Thanks for sharing your inspirations.
    Enjoy the day.

  15. Wow! This looks really cool! I love your earrings! :)
    ... but is the steel wire nickel free?

  16. Love it!! I think am going to have to get some!!! Thanks

  17. I love your designs with the wire! I played with it a few years ago and, yep, rust! I'm sure you could seal it with a clear coat though. I do like how the rust looked!

  18. Oh, Lorelei.

    I just love both of those pairs of earrings.

    I have some of that wire in my stash. I need to get it out and get to work.

  19. Hey all! What a great bunch of comments on steel wire, my favorite of all wires types!

    A couple of things to note:
    - steel wire is iron + up to 2% carbon--no nickel at all! Yay allergies!
    - steel was the most recycled metal of all, even before being green was cool!
    - steel is a little harder to work than copper and sterling, but easier than boingy brass!
    - I use alot of 16 gauge in my book, but also show 12, 18, 19, 24 and 28 gauges as well.
    - People with hand strength issues like to use the nitrile gloves I suggest in my book for better grip!
    - you can get all your steel wire needs met at my Etsy site (Renaissance wax too). Just enter through my web site at www.BrendaSchweder.com.

    Please feel free to "ask away" whenever you have questions about steel! Hopin' you all become wranglers! xoxo!

  20. PS Is it any wonder that Lorelei has already mastered designing with steel wire! BEE-YOU-TIFUL designs! I'm jealous! xoxo!

  21. These are gorgeous! I love what you're doing with the steel wire.

  22. Anonymous3/17/2016

    Once coated with Renaissance Wax does that protect one from metal allergies

    1. I wasn't sure how to answer this question so I asked Brenda Schweder for some help and here is what she told me :" The two things are very different. Metal allergies are mostly from Nickel. Steel (if we go back to the periodic tables we studied in high school) contains only Iron and up to 2% Carbon, so it is the least allergenic metal there is. Sealing it keeps it from rusting or oxidizing, which is how it interacts with moisture in the air."


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