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topic 61188

Q&A's about 'Memory Wire' in Jewelry

December 13, 2020

Q. I am interested in finding information and a reliable source for Memory Wire for beading bracelets. I would like to find reliable information regarding Cadmium. Safety is a major concern. [I design and fabricate jewelry for adult/child]. Thank you for your assistance.

Julia Kilguss
- HOPE Rhode Island

December 2020

affil. link

A. Hi Julia. The term 'memory wire' is slang, and it's easy to get derailed by slang because other people can adopt similar slang to mean something different than you expect :-)

For example, I thought at first that you were talking about 'shape memory' materials like nitinol wire (which can be deformed, but when heated will morph back to their original form) -- but you're not. 'Memory wire' to jewelry makers apparently means either a stainless wire or a plated steel wire which struggles to remain in its original shape (straight or, more commonly, a circle a bit bigger than a wrist) -- pretty much the opposite of baling wire which, as soon as you start to bend it a bit, wants to be bent.

Memory wire is apparently quite high in carbon, quite hard, and pretty similar in behavior to 'music wire', 'piano wire', or 'spring steel'. Music wire might work or it might be a bit too hard, and snap when you try to form hooks or loops on the end (I don't know).

As for cadmium, it's a bio-cumulative poison similar to lead or mercury and it should have absolutely no presence at all in jewelry either as a plating or as a substrate.

Luck & Regards,


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