(OLD) Ross Metals Glossary | Ross Metals

(OLD) Ross Metals Glossary


There are many terms and items used in the Jewelry Industry for products and manufacturing techniques that have never been interpreted or explained in plain English. Ross Metals has compiled a list of the most popular used terms in jewelry production and manufacturing. Ross Metals carries and sells most of the products listed and uses most of these techniques in its manufacturing of findings, mountings, mill products, solders and chains.

We are grateful to those that have given us the opportunity to serve and supply your jewelry part needs and hope this list is helpful.

If we have missed any terms that you may wish to share with us please do not hesitate to E-mail us. It would be a pleasure to add and publish this work-in-progress glossary and dictionary. With your additions it will surely be helpful to all our constituents and other jewelers throughout the world. Thank you.


BASE METAL: Any metal other than the precious metals, such as lead, bismuth, tin, antimony, copper, etc. Alloys of non-precious metals are also referred to as base metals. Findings made of base metal (silver or gold colored) are the cheapest to buy, and are great for practice for beginning beaders and children. For better pieces, use gold filled (a layer of gold stamped - not electroplated - over a base metal core) or sterling silver findings. Base metal findings are usually made of a nickel alloy material that can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially when used in body piercings. Those people who are sensitive to nickel alloys should use only 14 K (or higher) gold found in quality gold-filled findings. Surgical grade stainless steel findings are also available (usually referred to as Hypoallergenic). Most nickel-sensitive people can also tolerate sterling silver with no problems.
BLACK HILLS GOLD: Jewelry made in the Black Hills area of South Dakota, which frequently has a distinctive three-color (yellow, pink and green gold) vine and leaf pattern. The Black Hills Jewelry Mfg. Co. produced the original designs in three colors in Deadwood, South Dakota in the early 1900s. Many jewelers still make Black Hills jewelry today (usually in 10K gold) but by law they must use Black Hills gold. You can create a nice effect by combining rose gold filled wire, yellow gold filled wire and silver.
BLUE GOLD: 18K Gold alloyed with 25% iron (75% gold), giving a bluish tint to the metal.
BRASS WIRE: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, sometimes including small amounts of other metals, but usually 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc. It comes in various shapes and tempers, and is a wonderful product to practice with, although generally much stiffer and more difficult to work with in wire sculpting than sterling silver or gold-filled wire. It takes on a lovely polish, but tarnishes and becomes dull very quickly. Some jewelers work exclusively with brass wire specifically because of these properties. Jewelry made from brass wire can be quite beautiful and salable. To many jewelry artists, brass wire is considered to be practice wire and the outcome is costume jewelry rather than fine jewelry.
BRONZE: An alloy containing at least 60% copper plus tin and sometimes other metals.
GERMAN SILVER: Also known as NICKEL SILVER, this alloy is actually roughly 60% copper, 20% nickel, and 20% zinc. If approximately 5% of tin is present in this alloy, it is called Alpaca. As you can see, there is no silver in German Silver. German silver wire is very inexpensive and you can create a lot of jewelry for pennies. It should be noted that about 1 person in 20 has a metal allergy to nickel.
GOLD: Gold is one of the most visually attractive of all metals, and because of its unique qualities, is considered the "most precious" metal. It is one of the heaviest of all the metals, does not tarnish or corrode, and is very durable. One of the first metals to attract the attention of man, its durability has been attested to by the discovery of elaborately crafted artifacts of gold in nearly perfect condition from the ancient Egyptian, Etruscan and Assyrian cultures. Gold occurs in nature in almost pure form, and is the most malleable and ductile of the Metals. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity and in its pure state is very soft. One troy ounce of gold (the size of a sugar cube and equal to about 31 grams) can be hammered into a sheet (called gold leaf) covering 10B square feet or pulled into a thread fifty miles long.

When you buy gold jewelry, it isn't pure gold. The purity or fineness of gold in the jewelry is indicated by its karat number. 24-karat (24K or 24 Kt) gold is as pure as gold for jewelry gets. 24K gold is also called fine gold and it is greater than 99.7% pure gold. Proof gold is even finer, with over 99.95% purity, but it is only used for standardization purposes and is not available for jewelry.

When alloyed with another metal to make it harder, more durable and least costly, the amount of gold (as in parts per 24) in the alloy must be stated if it is over 10K, which is the minimum legal standard in the U.S. Anything less can not be called gold. Throughout the world, the minimum karat standard varies. In Italy and France, 1BK is the minimum; in Canada and England the minimum is only 9K and in Mexico it's only BK. Gold articles produced in the U.S. do not have to carry a karat or other quality mark. The exception occurs when a karat mark is applied, then the manufacturer's registered trademark must be stamped near the karat mark and must be accurate in accordance to federal law.

The weight of Gold and other precious metals is measured in Troy Weight, rather than the standard metric system or American pounds and ounces. See Table 3 for conversion of troy ounces to millimeters and pounds.

The various alloys of gold exhibit different colors. See Table 4 for list gold colors and the proportions of metals used in the alloy.
GOLD FILLED WIRE: Gold-filled wire, sometimes called rolled gold, is a wonderful choice for wire jewelry makers. It is appropriate for all types of jewelry. For most people, it will last their entire lifetime without showing signs of wear. It is made by forming a tube of gold and filling the tube with a base metal, usually jeweler's brass. The gold content is 5% or 1/20 of the total wire. Gold-filled wire for jewelry offers an affordable, durable choice at a fraction of the cost of solid karat gold. It is generally available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and tempers in white, yellow (traditional) and rose gold colors.

A Few Facts about 14Kt Rolled Gold Wire (Gold-Filled Wire)
  1. 14/20 Rolled Gold wire creates high fashion jewelry at a fraction of the cost of solid gold and sells extremely well because of the fascination with gold.
  2. There is 100 times more gold in 14 kt. Rolled Gold (gold filled) than in gold plate.
  3. A 14/20 Rolled Gold pendant is usually considered a lifetime piece of jewelry.
  4. 14/20 Rolled Gold is usually used for pendants, pins, collars, bracelets, and small rings.
  5. Gold filled wire is available in 10k, 12k, and 14k, being the best quality and most durable. In the symbol 14/20, the 14 stands for the karat of gold used, and the 20 means 1/20.
  6. Basically, gold-filled wire is a good metal for a good price. It should always be represented properly and never misrepresented to your customer as solid gold. I collect old wire jewelry pieces and have several with actual dates on them. I show my customer these items to illustrate that gold-filled jewelry can stand the test of time.
GOLD PLATED WIRE: Gold-plated metal has a very thin layer of gold on the surface of a base metal, usually applied by the process of electroplating. Plating makes the layer of gold a much thinner layer than Gold Filled, and it is most commonly plated with 10K gold.
KARAT: The fineness of gold, equal to one part of 24 in gold alloys. (See Gold)
KARATCLAD: A trademark for a very thick gold electroplating process which is approximately 14 times thicker than standard electroplating.
NICKEL SILVER: Not silver at all, except in color, for this alloy contains no silver, but is mostly copper (about 60%), with approximately equal parts of nickel and zinc added. With the addition of a small percentage of tin, the alloy is then called Alpaca. This alloy was first used in the mid-1800s by the Germans as a silver substitute.
NOBLE METALS: A less-frequently used term for the precious metals gold, silver and platinum.
PALLADIUM: A durable metal related to platinum, palladium has recently been added to the short list of "precious" metals. It is less dense and more malleable than platinum, but has a lower melting point and reacts more readily to acids. Palladium will also develop tarnish when heat is applied. Palladium was first used in jewelry in 1939 as a substitute for platinum, which was being used for the war effort. After the war, it was used rarely because there were difficulties working it. When white gold is alloyed with palladium instead of nickel, a gray-white gold is produced. Because palladium has become very useful in catalytic converters, its price has risen dramatically (per ounce, more than gold or silver), making it an impractical alternative to platinum.
PATTERN WIRE: Also called Strip wire. Not wire at all, but strips of either base or precious metal that are stamped, embossed or engraved with a decorative pattern. This is a great wire to make cuff bracelets. See one of our bracelets in our free pattern section.
PLATINUM: Very strong, very dense, and 60% heavier than gold, Platinum was discovered in Russia in the 18th century. Platinum used in jewelry is usually alloyed with a small percentage of another metal of the platinum group (iridium, osmium, rhodium, ruthenium or palladium) and/or cobalt to increase its malleability. All of the platinum groups of metals are rare, with platinum and palladium only slightly more common, and of course they are all expensive.
PINCHBECK: Also known as "false gold," this is an alloy of copper that looks like gold. Pinchbeck was invented by British watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck (1672-1732) in the early 18th century. Pinchbeck consists of 83% copper and 17% zinc. Ironically, there have been many imitations of Pinchbeck (which itself is an imitation).
PMC®: The registered abbreviation for Precious Metal Clay®. PMC® is just what its name implies, precious metal in the form of clay. It is available in pure silver mixed with water and an organic binder (80% fine silver powder, 20% water and organic binder) and in 24K gold in a similarly compounded base. It can be rolled, cut, shaped and even extruded from a pastry tube, in other words, just like sculpting clay. Once the shape is made, it is fired in a kiln or special oven at temperatures from 1,650°F for silver and to about 1,830°F for gold.
PRECIOUS METAL: The precious metals are gold, silver and most of the metals from the platinum family. They are all rare, with gold present in only 3.5 parts per billion of the Earth's crust, platinum about 45 parts per billion and silver in 73 parts per billion. All of these metals are strong and heavy because metallic bonding and their closely packed atomic structures.
RHODIUM: One white metal of the platinum family of precious metals. Rhodium is quite expensive, and is often used to plate both precious and base metals giving them a hard, platinum-like sheen.
ROLLED GOLD: A very thin sheet of gold is laminated to a lesser metal, such as brass, then heated under pressure to fuse them together. The fused metal is then rolled into a much thinner sheet and used to make jewelry or other objects, and is marked RGP for Rolled Gold Plate. Rolled gold jewelry wears very well over time.
RUTHENIUM: Another of the platinum group of precious metals, it is usually abbreviated Ru or Ruth. Ruthenium in small amounts is added to platinum alloys to strengthen and harden them.
SETTING: The base or section of a piece of jewelry that holds the stone or gem. If a setting has metal behind the stone, it is referred to as a closed setting. Where there is no metal behind the stone, the setting is considered "open." There are many different styles and types of settings, including:
SILVER WIRE: A fine, naturally-occurring precious metal with an almost white sheen that is used for many purposes, including jewelry. Pure silver is usually alloyed with other metals, such as copper, for use in jewelry and hollowware. Silver tarnishes after exposure to air, which forms a thin layer of silver-oxide on the surface. Silver often occurs near copper lodes.
SILVER 800: Silver alloy which contains 800 parts per 1000 (80%) silver and 200 parts per thousand (20%) copper, and is used primarily for casting.
SOLDER: A metal alloy used to join other metals by applying heat that melts the solder but not the metals being soldered. Available in gold and silver as well as base metal, solder also comes in different grades and required temps. Not all solder melts at the same temperature, and it is crucial that solder be of a grade that melts at lower temperature than the metals to be joined.
STERLING: Silver with a fineness of 925 parts per 1000 (92.5%) silver and 75 parts per thousand (7.5%) copper, which increases the silver's hardness. Sterling is quite malleable and ductile.
TROY WEIGHT: The system of units of mass customarily used for weighing precious metals and gemstones. It derives from the troy system of mass, which dates back to before the time of William the Conqueror. Us name comes from the city of Troyes, in France, an important trading city in the middle Ages. The system -is based on the troy pound of 5760 grains. The pound was divided into 12 ounces (480 grains) each containing 20 pennyweights (24 grains). (See Table 3)
VERMEIL: Gold-plated silver; or occasionally, gold-plated bronze. Vermeil has a very rich gold color, usually darker than high-karat gold.
WHITE GOLD: Gold that has been alloyed with a mixture of copper, manganese, nickel, tin and zinc, and sometimes palladium, giving it the look of platinum. White gold was originally developed during WW II to imitate platinum, which was at the time considered a strategic material for military applications.
YELLOW GOLD: An alloy of gold with a mixture containing 50/50 copper and silver.
Age Hardenable Alloys- Alloys that can be hardened beyond the soft state by heating. (Also called "Heat Treatable Alloys".)
Britannia Metal-A composition of copper, tin and antimony.
Coin Silver-An alloy containing 90% silver.
Commercial Silver-Silver that is at least 999 fine.

ALUMINUM: An inexpensive, lightweight and very malleable metal that is silver-white in color. In the past, it was used for very inexpensive jewelry, but is now the metal of choice for everyday items, from kitchen foil to engine blocks. Aluminum is also used in many alloys to improve malleability.
CHROMIUM: Hard, shiny, gray-white metal that resists corrosion quite well. Sometimes used in costume jewelry as a coating over other metals.
COPPER WIRE: Reddish gold in color, this wonderfully versatile metal was the first metal used by man for tools, implements, weapons and artwork. Copper use predates recorded history, and though it was later replaced by bronze and iron for weapons and tools, its popularity and usefulness has not waned in thousands of years. Copper is malleable and easily worked by chasing, hammering, engraving and even cold-rolling (See Rolling). Copper is very malleable, but not suited for casting in its pure form, although alloys containing a high percentage of copper may be. Copper is quite inexpensive, is great for practice wire, or in two- or three-toned pieces. Copper is said to have healing properties for rheumatic or arthritic conditions. The only real drawback of copper, at least for jewelry applications, is that it oxidizes quite readily, will leave a green or black mark on the skin. To prevent that discoloration, copper jewelry is often coated with a clear protective surface, such as an acrylic, but the coating eventually wears away. Copper wire is a great way to get started in wire sculpting with very little cost.
CRAFT WIRE: A permanently color-coated copper-based wire, which is soft and very malleable. Retains its shape moderately well, particularly in the larger gauges.
IRON: This metal is very seldom used in jewelry because of its lack of luster and because it is so brittle.
NIOBIUM: A lightweight, tough, hypoallergenic refractory metal usually anodized to produce vivid colors for costume jewelry. Mars easily and cannot be soldered.
ORMOLU: An alloy of copper, zinc and tin, ormolu is used to imitate gold. The French term for ground gold, "Ormolu" was frequently used for candlesticks, furniture embellishments and picture frames during the Georgian and early Victorian eras. Today, the term is most often applied to any gold-like finish used for intricate decorations.
PEWTER: A soft metal alloy composed mostly of tin, with lead, antimony, bismuth, copper and/or silver added. Polished pewter has a silvery luster. Pewter can be easily worked by several different methods, the most popular being casting of charms, hammering of larger items, and turning on a lathe to produce candlesticks or goblet stems.
POT METAL: An inexpensive metal alloy commonly used for costume jewelry. Not used as frequently as in the past, as it nearly always contains a significant amount of lead.
ROULZ: A metal alloy consisting of copper, nickel and silver, named for the French chemist who invented it in the 1800s.
STEEL: An alloy of iron and carbon where the content of the carbon ranges up to 2%. When the alloy contains more than 2% carbon, it's defined as cast iron. Steel is very seldom used for jewelry.
SURGICAL or SURGICAL STAINLESS STEEL: Anyone of a family of low carbon alloy steels usually containing 10-30% chromium. The chromium provides exceptional resistance to corrosion and heat. Other elements may be added to increase corrosion resistance to specific environments, enhance oxidation resistance and impart special characteristics. In jewelry, which is sometimes labeled "hypoallergenic," we see it in a few findings, such as ear wires or posts.


ALLOY: The combination of metals in set proportions to give the resulting alloy better or different characteristics. For example, pure gold (24K) is much too soft for most jewelry applications, so small amounts of harder metals such as copper, silver or nickel are added.
ALPACA: A silver substitute which is an alloy of approximately 60% copper, 20% nickel, 20% zinc and 5% tin.
ANNEAL: The process of heating glass or metal to a specific temperature for a set period of time (depending upon the substance and the intended application), then slowly cooling it to toughen the substance and reduce the brittleness that develops while working it. Small pieces can be heated with a torch; larger items are generally annealed in either a kiln or an annealing oven.
ANODIZE: To produce a controlled oxidation of a metal's surface by means of a chemical (acid) bath through which the positive end or "anode" of an electrical current is passed. A thin protective film is created on the surface by the resultant change in the molecular structure of the top layer only. Anodization can give the metal a lustrous sheen, or even change the coloring of the surface.
ASSAY: A test of purity for an alloy to determine the percentage of precious metal content.
BRUSHED FINISH: Created by the use of a stiff metal brush along the surface of metallic jewelry to add texture, and to produce a slightly less reflective surface.
CASTING: A process for making metal items that has been used for thousands of years. Molten metal is poured into a mold. There are different methods of casting including centrifugal (or investment), sand casting, and the lost wax process.
CHAIN MAIL or CHAINMAILLE: A way of joining metal rings together to produce metal "fabric." Chain mail was used in medieval times for flexible armor, and is used now to make very striking jewelry.
DRAWPLATE: In metalsmithing, particularly wire jewelry applications, a drawplate is a die plate through which wire is pulled to reduce its diameter. Making your own drawplate is quite simple, using an inch-thick block of hardwood, and drilling a series of holes at least ¼” apart, from 1.5mm to 10mm in diameter in .5 increments.
DUCTILE: A substance is "ductile" if it is easily pulled into a thin wire. The most ductile metal is gold, and it is the easiest wire to pull through a drawplate to reduce the diameter.
dwt: The abbreviation for PennyWeight in the Troy System of Weights.
ELECTROPLATE: (See Plating) Rings, ear hooks or wires, and crimp beads.
FINENESS: Usually expressed in parts per thousand, it is the proportion of silver or gold in a metal alloy. For example, Sterling Silver is .925, meaning that 925 parts per 1000 are silver, and 75/1000 is another metal. Fine Silver is 99.9% pure silver. Gold fineness is measured in Karats.
GAUGE: The measurement of the thickness of an object, particularly wire and sheet metals. Wire gauges for jewelry applications will range from a very thick 4g to a very fine 34g. You must remember that the smaller the gauge, the larger the diameter of the wire. You will find a table of gauges and their corresponding diameters in both metric and standard (U.S.) units at Table 2.
HARDEN: The process of manipulating malleable wire so that it will retain its shape and design, and strengthen it so it will bear the weight of other components in a piece. The three most frequent methods of hardening jewelry wire are drawing, manipulating and striking. Simply working soft wire back and forth with the hands will impart some hardness, as will working with nylon jaw pliers. Drawing refers to pulling wire through a smaller hole in a wood plate to reduce its diameter. To harden and flatten a shaped piece at the same time, the piece is put between two pieces of leather which are then placed between two jeweler's blocks. The blocks are then struck by a hammer. You can also use a leather mallet to strike the piece when it is laid on a protected surface that will not mar the metal.
HARDNESS: A measurement of the malleability or temper of a substance. When purchasing raw materials for wire-work, you will find that wire comes in several different levels of hardness, only a few of which are commonly used by jewelers.

In jewelry wire, hardness or malleability is graded soft or dead soft, quarter hard, half-hard, hard, and spring hard. You may also encounter wire or sheet metal hardness that is designated by numbers instead of names. The numbering system, which goes from zero to 10 or more, is based on the number of times wire has been drawn though progressively smaller holes in a drawplate. Each jump in the number designates a doubling of the preceding number. Soft or dead soft has a number of zero, since it isn't drawn through a plate. Quarter hard is drawn through once, half-hard has been drawn twice and hard has been drawn through four times. Spring wire has been drawn eight times through successively smaller holes. The best hardness to use for an application will depend on the intended use of the wire, as shown below:

Dead Soft Wire is extremely malleable and can be bent easily into a myriad of shapes by using the hands. It does not hold its shape in stress situations, such as clasps, until it is hardened. You would use dead soft if the application has several loops and swirls which are more perfectly done with bare hands.

Half-Hard Wire is malleable, but most people will need to use tools or jigs to bend it into shape. Half hard will; however, maintain a fairly intricate shape under moderate stress after it has been work hardened. It is very useful for light weight-bearing parts of wire-wrapped jewelry.

Hard or Full Hard Wire holds its shape for wire-wrapping jewelry and for making clasps and other findings that will likely be stressed. Tools are recommended when bending or manipulating hard wire.

The gauge (thickness) of the wire will also have an effect on its hardness. For example, a piece of 12 gauge wire is relatively thick, and even at dead soft hardness will not bend as easily as 18 gauge wire of the same hardness.

To test for hardness of sheet metals, the Vickers Hardness test (designated HV) is very precise, calculating hardness from the size of the indentation a diamond-shaped pyramid produces under measured pressure. The Knoop Hardness test (HK) is based on the same principle as the Vickers test, but is used on brittle materials such as glass and ceramics using lower pressures. The Mohs Scale of Hardness is a rating system for minerals based on their resistance to scratching by other minerals, on a scale of one to ten. Mohs used ten minerals to determine the degree of hardness, ranking the softest (Talc) as #1 and the hardest (diamond) #10. It is not very precise.
MALLEABLE: This term indicates that a metal or alloy is easily worked by hand or other tools
MEMORY WIRE: A hardened steel wire that will retain its original shape even after repeated use. Available in a standard and "Cadmium" (silver-colored and rust proof) finish, and in diameters suitable for rings, bracelets and chokers.
MILANESE MESH: Also known as Milanese work or Milanese chain), is an intricate mesh made from spiral wires braided together and used to make necklaces and bracelets. Frequently used in Italian jewelry.
MILLING: The process of cutting metal while it is spinning, usually on a lathe, with symmetrical shapes and patterns.
MOKUME-GANE: A Japanese metalsmithing technique that results in a wood-like finish by alternating layers of thin, colored metals and laminated together. Designs or patterns are then punched, filed away or hammered into the laminate, producing unique and delicate patterns.
OXIDATION: The naturally occurring chemical process in which oxygen atoms bond to atoms of another material (such as metal) producing a different chemical compound. We are most familiar with oxidized iron ("rust") and oxidized silver, which is called "tarnish." Copper turns green when oxidized, adding an aesthetically pleasing, aged look to roofs, weathervanes and other outdoor decorations.
PATINA: A film formed naturally on metals through exposure to the elements for an extended period. Oxidation will turn copper and bronze green, silver black and gold reddish. Patina is generally thought to enrich the value of antiques, but can be artificially produced by the controlled application of acids or electrolytes to newer objects.
PLATING: The process by which one metal is coated with using electricity. Also known by the terms electroplating and Galvanotechnics - the latter named after the inventor of the process. To produce less costly jewelry components, inexpensive or base metals are coated with a thin layer of precious metal, usually gold or silver. Chromium, copper and rhodium are also electroplated, although rhodium is sometimes used as plate.
ROLLING: In metallurgy, this is the most-used method of taking metal from a cast ingot to a sheet or bar, with sheet metal being the most common product. Rolling is done by using either the hot or method. The metal produced by the cold-rolled process will have a much smoother surface and be stronger.
RUSSIAN GOLD FINISH: A finishing technique for jewelry that produces a matte, antique look.
SATIN FINISH: This method of finishing metal produces a semi-gloss finish that is between a matte finish and a brilliant one. It is done by making minute, extremely shallow parallel lines on the surface of the metal, reducing its reflectivity.

The temper of wire is often referred to in terms of hardness or softness. The temper or hardness of the wire indicates the malleability of the wire to hold its shape and to bend fluidly. It can range from dead soft (which bends with no resistance sort of like a wet noodle), at one end of the spectrum to extra spring hard (which is very resistant to bending) on the other. And very difficult to work with I may say.

The shape of the wire is achieved by forming the wire to the correct shape by drawing through a draw plate. The temper increases each time that the wire is drawn through the draw plate. To get dead soft wire, the wire is then fully annealed. To anneal wire is to use heat to relieve stresses in the wire, which causes a more flexible alignment of the wire molecules, thereby producing dead soft wire.

Wire temper or hardness is often referred to by using numbers. For example, "one number hard" means that the wire has been drawn through a draw plate one time, and so on. Most of these operations are technical methods that only the dealers and mills perform. And, yes, you can do it all yourself with a small rolling mill, a torch and lots of muscle. But, frankly, 99.9% of all wire sculptors buy it already prepared and ready to go. That way you can spend more time on perfecting your craft rather than preparing your wire. But you are going to have to know the different types and harnesses of wire so let's take a look at the following table.

Dead soft..............................Fully annealed
Quarter hard.......................1 number hard
Half hard...............................2 numbers hard
Full hard................................4 numbers hard
Extra hard............................6 numbers hard
Spring hard.........................8 numbers hard
Extra spring hard...........10 numbers hard

Different tempers are appropriate for different applications in making wire jewelry. The most commonly used tempers in wire jewelry are dead soft, soft, half hard and spring hard. We shall consider dead soft and soft to be the same since they are so very close in temper and can be used in many of the same ways.

Let's take a look at the best choice for the job.

Note: To sculpt anything using Master Wire Sculptor Preston Reuther's methods, you must use soft wire. And the best wire to use is gold filled - hands down
Temper Wire Sculpting Border Wire Wrap Binding Wire Bundles Pin Backs
Dead Soft X
Half Hard X X
Spring Hard X
A process to strengthen or harden metal or glass by heating an object then letting it air cool, or, by heating then suddenly cooling by immersion in cold water. Visualize a smithy in the old west hammering out a red-hot horseshoe then plunging it into a bucket of water. Hardtempered metals are stronger and more springy than soft-tempered, but the hardness also makes them more brittle, causing them to break when bent too far.
TENSILE STRENGTH (psi): The maximum load a material can support without fracturing when it is stretched, divided by the original cross-sectional area of the material. Tensile strength is often expressed in psi, or pounds per square inch.
TORSADE: A necklace made of several strands that have been twisted together.
WELD: A process that joins two pieces of metal using very high heat. Rolled gold is formed in this method. Welding is not use in wire sculpting it's all done by hand with small hand tools and no torch is used.
TWISTING WIRE: Let me explain about twisting wire either with a pin vise or an automatic wire twister. When wire is twisted, it creates a filigree look that your customers will love. You can buy twisted wire at some supply houses or you can twist your own. I've always preferred to twist my own for several reasons:
Reason #1: Usually pre-twisted wire cost about 20% more to purchase and it never looks that great.
Reason #2: By twisting my own wire, lean put the twisted portion of wire where I want the twist and can actually do a better job than the mill does.
HARD WIRE: Twisting this hard and half hard wire, although not difficult, is much trickier than twisting soft wire. Each piece needs to be twisted only an inch or two at a time or it will twist unevenly. And it always seems that each company prepares their wire just a little different and thus the twisting will be a little different for each wire. That holds true for both gold and silver. Usually hard wire is twisted with a small pin vise.
SOFTWIRE: This wire is the easiest to twist and the twists always seems to come out uniform. Plus you can actually take 25 to 50 feet of dead soft gold filled or sterling wire, stretch it across your backyard, anchor it on something strong, start twisting with a dremel or drill on the other end, and get an even twist all the way across. Then you can roll it up into a coil and cut a section off as you need it. What a time saver!
In addition to achieving a filigree beaded look to your wire, you can increase the temper of wire by twisting it. Whether you use a small pin vise or a wire twister, the results will be the same. Twisting wire will increase the temper of the wire and make it harder. The more we twist, the more we increase the temper. If we twist too much, the wire will become brittle and break. You can do the same thing with round wire that may be too soft for the job. Simply attach one end of the wire into a pin vise and hold the other end with a pair of pliers. Twist until the wire is the desired temper or hardness you want.

Note: When you twist round wire, it will not change shape; it will stay round.

When we start sculpting with dead soft wire, it is important to realize that rubbing the wire along its length in a polishing cloth or in our fingers will also add temper or add strength to the wire. Even when sculpting, it is desirable to give the wire just a little body. The more we "rub it out", the more temper the wire will gain. As you construct a piece of jewelry, you will also add a certain amount of hardness or temper to the wire simply by handling it and manipulating it. This process is known as "work hardening". And you can actually rub it out too much and it becomes very difficult to work with.
Burnish- Cold-working the metal surface to make it smooth.
Carat- Generally, a measurement of the 'weight of a stone. May also refer to the purity of an alloy.
Each carat equals 1/24th purity. (This later usage is more frequently spelled "karat".)
Dapping- Forming by hammering.


AQUA REGIA: A mixture of three parts hydrochloric acid and one part nitric acid used to test the purity of gold and platinum. The mixture is one of the few chemicals that can dissolve those metals.
ROUGE: An abrasive compound used with a buffing wheel to polish metals. Rouge is graded by the size of the abrasive, from very course to very fine (even though none of the grit is as large as any fine sandpaper), and each of the grades in between have different uses. For cutting down a rough surface (or removing heavy oxidation), Brown Rouge (also called Red Rouge) is considered a semi-aggressive primary compound because it contains large grains of abrasive (even though they are so small they can only barely be felt when rubbing the compound between your fingers). Brown Rouge is used for the first step in the polishing process for unfinished metal. Some metalsmiths only use Brown/Red rouge. Green Rouge is finer yet, and is sometimes used for a second polishing. White rouge contains the very finest abrasive and is used for the final polishing to produce a very high shine.


Fineness of Gold in Karats
United State Markings Parts Gold Gold % European Markings
24K 24/24 100% 1000 or 999
22K 22/24 91.7% 916 or 917
18K 18/24 75% 750
14K 14/24 58.3% 583 or 585
10K 10/24 41.7% 417
Conversion Table - Gauge to Inches and Millimeters
Gauge Size 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30
Diameter in inches .1019 .0808 .0641 .0403 .0508 .0320 .0253 .0201 .0159 .0125 .0100
Diameter in mm .1019 .0808 .0641 .0403 .0508 .0320 .0253 .0201 .0159 .0125 .0100



Alpha Omega: Alpha (A) and Omega (Ω) represent the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They are Christian symbols that also represents God used in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. The phrase Alpha and Omega is derived from the quote God as being the Alpha and the Omega in Revelation 1:8, 21:6 and 22:13, and is clarified two times with the extra title “the beginning and the end”. This phrase means that God and Jesus are both eternal.

Anchor: The Anchor ranks among the most ancient Christian symbols found relating to the virtue of hope of salvation and holding secure in faith.

Ankh: The Ankh or key of life is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for “Life” or “breath of life” and as the Egyptians believed that one’s journey was only part of an eternal life, the ankh symbolized both mortal existence and the afterlife. It is one of the most ancient symbols of Egypt and worn as an amulet.

Anglican Cross: The Anglican Cross is a symbol of Anglican and Episcopal Churches. It represents the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of human sin, and by correlation represents faith, hope, and love.

Apostles Cross: The Apostles Cross with three buds at the end of each arm symbolizes the Holy Trinity, each bud represents one of the Twelve Apostles.

Armenian Cross: The Armenian cross, is also known as the Siroun Cross incorporates floral elements and has postaments symbolizing the Holy trinity. This cross design is exclusively used in the stone cross (Khachkar) prevalent in Armenian religious statuary and masonry.

Baroque Crucifix: The Baroque Crucifix features bold ornamentation and a seashell motif, which is a symbol of baptism in Christianity.

Basket Weave Cross: The Basket Weave Cross is inspired by interwoven crosses passed out on Palm Sunday. It symbolizes the ultimate victory of Christ was his sacrifice.

Bone Cross: The Bone Cross represents one’s hope for the future. “A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36).

Botonée Cross: The Botonée Cross is a cross with three buttons on the ends. The buttons represent the three persons of the Godhead, namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Budded Cross: The Budded Cross can be fashioned in many forms depending on its spiritual significance. Three buds represent the Holy Trinity and is also known as the Apostles’ Cross, with one bud for each of the Twelve Apostles. Four buds symbolize the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Bypass Cross: The Bypass Cross represents the spiritual connection between people and the Divine.

Byzantine Cross: The Byzantine Cross is a more elaborate variation of the traditional cross. The origin of the Byzantine Cross date back to the fourth century Emperor Constantine the Great, who was responsible for Christianizing the Roman Empire.

Caduceus: The Caduceus, a staff with two snakes coiled around it, is the official insignia of the United States Medical Corps, Navy Pharmacy Division, and the Public Health Service. The Caduceus is also the magic wand carried by Hermes (the Romans knew him as Mercury), the messenger of the gods.

Calvary Cross: The Calvary Cross is a Latin Cross with a base of three steps, representing (from the top) faith, hope, and love.

Celtic Cross: The Celtic Cross, is also known as the Iona Cross. While the Celtic Cross is a Christian symbol, it has its roots in ancient pagan beliefs at the same time. Celtic crosses predate Christianity and were first used by pagans to worship the sun. According to legend, St. Patrick is said to have incorporated the ancient sun symbol and the Christian cross while converting pagans into Christians.

Claddagh: The Claddagh is one of Ireland’s most recognized and precious images. Two hands embracing a heart adorned with a crown symbolize the purity of a cherished relationship – friendship, love and loyalty.

Clover Cross: The Clover Cross symbolizes hope, faith, love and luck that will come from the Blessed Jesus.

Chalice Symbol: For Christians, the Chalice is the symbol of the Eucharist. Using it commemorates the Last Supper. It is filled with wine to symbolize the blood of Christ and bread is dipped into it to symbolize the body of Christ.

Chi Rho Rho: The Chi Rho is an ancient Christian symbol, a Christogram that is made by overlapping the first two letters (XP) of the Greek word ‘Christos’ meaning ‘Christ’.

Classic Cross: The Classic Cross also known as the Latin Cross is a Christian symbol representing the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

Contemporary Cross: The Contemporary Cross represents the Nativity Star, which led the magi to the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Crosslet Cross: The Crosslet Cross is made from four Latin Crosses arranged at right-angles to each other, with their tops pointing north, south, east and west, traditionally thought to represent the message of the cross going out to the four corners of the earth. It also represents the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Crucifix: The crucifix is a symbol which is a cross with the figure of Jesus Christ attached to it. It often has the word “INRI” written across the top. These letters are a shortened version of a phrase that translates to “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” These were the words which Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, ordered to have written on the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

Dagmar Cross: The Dagmar Cross is associated with Queen Dagmar of Denmark. It features several holy images: from to and the clockwise are St. Basil the Great, St. John the Baptist, St. John Chrysostom and Mary, the Mother of God. The central image is that of Christ; on the back is Christ Crucified.

Engagement Ring: The custom of presenting a prospective bride with an engagement ring dates all the way back to Ancient Rome. Roman women wore rings to signify a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience. Many engagement rings of today feature a diamond because its durability represents the eternal bond between two people and their commitment to each other.

Engrailed Cross: The Engrailed Cross symbolizes the painful suffering of Jesus on the Cross.

Eternity Bands: Rings have adorned human hands for centuries. It was the Egyptian Pharaohs who first used rings to represent eternity. That’s because a circle has no beginning and no end, and reflects the shape of the sun and moon, which the Egyptians worshiped. Ancient Egyptians believed that the ring finger, or the fourth finger of the left hand, contained a “vena amoris” or “vein of love” that led directly to the heart. The Romans adopted this belief and wore wedding rings on their ring finger.

Eternity Cross: The Eternity Cross represents the Eternal Being, otherwise, known as God.

Evil Eye: The Evil Eye talisman is an ancient protective symbol for good fortune and is believed to a protect the wearer from the power of the evil malevolent glare, usually given to a person when one is unaware.

Eye of Providence: The Eye of Providence represents the eye of God, the singular divine power that has created the entire universe. The symbol shows a human eye enclosed in a triangle. In Christianity, the triangle represents the Holy Trinity and as such, the Eye of Providence symbolizes the divine entity looking over humankind and providing it benevolent guidance.

Fancy Cross: The Fancy Cross is elaborately decorative and is a symbol of both Christ himself and the faith of Christians.

Fleur-de-Lis Cross: The fleur-de-Lis Cross incorporates a styled lily used as a symbol of French royalty. For Christians, the three-petaled ends represent the Trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In some traditions, the emblem symbolizes the Virgin Mary.

Fleury Cross: The Fleury Cross features a three-petal design, representing the Trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The distinctive lily flower shape at the ends of each of its arms symbolizes the Resurrection.

Filigree Cross: The Filigree Cross features delicate ornamental work made with tiny beads or twisted wires. The art of filigree dates back to ancient history. It comes from an Italian word made from the Latin words for thread and grain.

Floral Cross: The Floral Cross features a rose motif to symbolize all five of Christ’s wounds from the crucifixion.

Four Way Cross: In Catholic tradition, a four-way cross or cruciform combines four devotional images. They include the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Virgin Mother, St. Christopher and St. Joseph.

Fourchée Cross: The Fourchée Cross is also known as a Forked Cross is believed to represent the Tree of Knowledge, which brought sin into the world.

Freeform Crucifix: The Freeform Crucifix has arms with an irregular contour shape. It is an artistic representation of Jesus on the Cross.

Greek Cross: The Greek Cross, with arms of equal length, is the most ancient cross, predating the Latin Cross. In Christian mythology, the four equal arms point in the direction of the earth, representing the spread of the gospel or the four platonic elements (earth, air, water, and fire).

Guardian Angel: Angels are servants and messengers of God, and God in his infinite mercy assigns each one of us a guardian angel to walk with us on our personal journey to help us avoid spiritual dangers and prepare our way to heaven. Many believe that wearing a Guardian Angel medal can protect them from danger and negativity.

Hamsa (Islam): The Hamsa is a popular amulet used to ward off the evil eye and bring good luck, protection, good health, and abundance. Also, know as the "Hand of Fatima" is an Islamic symbol that commemorates Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, who founded Islam. The five fingers of hand represent the five pillars of Islam.

Hamsa (Judaism): The Hamsa is a popular amulet used to ward off the evil eye and bring good luck, protection, good health, and abundance. Also, known as the "Hand of Miriam" is a symbol of Judaism that commemorates Miriam, the sister of Moses who helped lead the Jewish people out of slavery from Egypt. The five fingers of the hand represent the five books of Torah; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Heart Cross: The Heart Cross reminds us that love and charity is central to the Christian faith and must be part of our everyday life.

Heart Motif: The Heart Motif is a heart pattern that is repeated all over the design of the cross and details every edge.

Holy Spirit Dove: The Dove is a symbol for the Holy Spirit inspired by Jesus’ baptism. The dove has been used among many Christian denominations as a symbol for peace, purity and new beginnings.

Ichthys Fish: The Ichthys fish was used by the early persecuted Christians to secretly symbolize their faith in Jesus Christ.

Infinity Cross: The Infinity Cross is also known as the Everlasting Cross. It symbolizes the love of God, having no beginning and no end.

Italian Horn: The Italian horn, also known as cornicello is an amulet or talisman worn to protect against the evil eye and bad luck in general, and historically, to promote fertility and virility.

Jerusalem Cross: The Jerusalem Cross or Crusader’s Cross is a large Greek cross surrounded by four smaller versions of the Greek cross. It is a symbol of a five-fold cross and represents the four quarters of the world, Christ and his four main disciples, or the five wounds of Christ. The cross originated in the 11th century and was used in coats of arms of crusader’s, and the seals of the crusader rulers of Jerusalem.

Key to Heaven: The Key to Heaven also known as Saint Peter’s key represent the metaphorical keys to the kingdom of Heaven which were promised by Jesus Christ to Saint Peter.

Latin Cross: The Latin Cross is said to represent Christ’s crucifixion and was originally popularized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Lattice Cross: The Lattice Cross is an interwoven delicate design, describing the openwork pattern on those crosses.

Lord’s Prayer Cross: The Lord’s Prayer Cross is a reminder to us that we should be living in the way God wants us to everyday: In peace and love one another, the way it is in Heaven.

Madonna: A Madonna is a representation of the Virgin Mary. The word Madonna means “My Lady” in Italian.

Madonna and Child: The Madonna and Child is often the name of a work of art which shows the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus and are central icons for both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Maltese Cross: The Maltese Cross is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller. Its eight points denote the eight obligations or aspirations of the knights, namely “to live in truth, have faith, repent one’s sins, give proof of humility, love justice, be merciful, be sincere and wholehearted, and to endure persecution”.

Methodist Cross: The Methodist Cross was adopted shortly after the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The insignia of The United Methodist Church is a cross linked with a dual flame, a powerful reminder of who we are in Christ. It relates the United Methodist church to God through Christ (the cross) and the Holy Spirit (the flame), a reminder of Pentecost when witnesses were unified by the power of the Holy Spirit and saw “tongues, as of fire” in Acts 2:3.

Moline Cross: The Moline Cross has four double tipped arms of equal length, creating eight points. They remind us of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus Christ during the Sermon on the Mount.

Nail Cross: The Nail Cross represents Christ’s Passion: His betrayal, scourging, mocking, and the agony of the Crucifixion.

Olive Leaf Cross: The Olive Leaf Cross symbolizes peace and reconciliation.

Openwork Cross: The Openwork cross represents the principle symbol of Christianity. It features both simple and intricate piercings to create decorative design elements.

Ornate Crucifix: The Ornate Crucifix is elaborately adorned with angel wings to symbolize our religious freedom and/or features a Guardian Angel who serves as our protector.

Orthodox Cross: The Orthodox Cross has three crossbeams, two horizontal and the third a bit slanted. The short top bar symbolizes the placard with the inscription ‘Jesus Christ, King of the Jews’ (INRI), that Pilate ordered to put up to mock the Savior. The middle bar is where the hands of Christ were nailed, and the lowest bar is the footrest and has a symbolic significance as it represents the ascension on Christ, in addition to the concept that “The Cross is the Scale of Justice”.

Papal Cross: The Papal Cross is representative of the ultimate authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The three bars of the Papal Cross are generally considered to be representative of the Trinity – the Father God, the son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Passion Cross: The Passion Cross is also referred to as the Cross of Suffering, has pointed ends to represent the nails used to attached Christ to the cross during his Crucifixion. Passion, in this definition, comes from the Latin word passio, which means suffering or enduring.

Pattée Cross: The Pattée has arms that are narrow at the center, and often flared in a curve or straight line shape, to be broader at the perimeter. It was sometimes used by the Teutonic Knights, a crusader order and with heraldry.

Patonce Cross: The Patonce cross is an intermediate between a Pattée and Fluerie Cross, and is often used in heraldry. The liliform ends of this cross remind us of the Holy Trinity.

Patriarchal Cross: The Patriarchal Cross has two horizontal arms with the upper one shorter than the lower. The top arm represents the inscription placed by Pilate on the Cross.

Saint Peter’s Cross: Saint Peter’s Cross is an inverted Latin cross, traditionally used as a Christian symbol and is associated with the martyrdom of Peter the Apostle.

Pointed Cross: The Pointed Cross often used in heraldry, is also referred to as the Cross of Suffering representing the nails that Christ suffered at his Crucifixion.

Pomée Cross: The Pomée Cross with knobs at the end of each of its arms resemble apples, and represent the fruit of the Christian life.

Potent Cross: The Potent Cross has a crossbar at the end of each of its arms forming four separate tau crosses. “Potent” is an old word for a crutch, and is used in heraldic terminology to describe a T shape.

Praying Child: The Praying child is inspired by the Biblical verse from Samuel 1:27, “For this Child I have prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him”.

Quadrate Cross: The Quadrate Cross has a square at the intersection point, which reminds us of the four Gospels going out to the four corners of the earth. The number four also represents earth, so this cross can signify the fact that Christ died on the cross to save this world from its sins.

Recerelee Cross: The Recerelee Cross has a design that goes back to the Middle Ages and was used in religious pageantry and heraldic spectacles.

Resurrection: After Jesus was crucified, he came back from the dead and rose to Heaven to sit with God. These images show his Ascension; he has defeated death and his Spirit is alive on Earth.

Roman Cross: The Roman Cross is also known the Latin cross, is said to represent Christ’s crucifixion.

Rosary: The Rosary is a tool used to aid prayer and Meditation in Catholicism. The beads of a rosary count the prayers as they are recited out loud or in the mind. Relying on the rosary beads to keep track of how many times you’ve said a prayer allows you to clear your mind and meditate on your invocation more effectively.

Saltire Cross: The Saltire Cross is a diagonal cross that is also known as the Saint Andrew's Cross. It has become a symbol of Scotland where Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint.

Scroll Cross: The Scroll Cross features spirals and rolling incomplete circle motifs, some which resemble either a document in scroll form or loosely represented vines.

Signet Ring: Signet rings or seal rings were originally used as a signature to authenticate official documents before widespread literacy. Currently, signet rings are worn as a fashion or personal statement, rather than as a means of identification. They can be engraved with a family crest, monogram, initials or custom design.

Tapered Cross: The Tapered Cross has arms that are narrow at the center, and often flared in a curve or straight line shape, to be broader at the perimeter.

Tau Cross: The Tau cross also known as St. Anthony’s cross is based on the Greek letter T. It is associated with the most prominent saints in the Catholic faith. St. Anthony wore a tau-shaped cross on his cloak. St. Francis of Assisi adopted it as a personal emblem and used the tau to decorate the door and wall of whatever home he was staying at.

Tau Rho Cross: The Tau Rho Cross, is also known as the Monogrammatic Cross, symbolizes Christ upon the cross. It is shaped like the letter P with a long vertical bar, crossed by a short horizontal bar.

Ten Commandments Tablet: The Ten Commandments tablet, is also known as the Tablets of the Law, were the two pieces of stone inscribed with rules handed down to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.

Thieves Cross: The Thieves Cross is also known as the crucifix dolorosus, and occasionally the ‘robber’s cross’, because it was said to be the cross used for the two thieves who were crucified together with Jesus Christ.

Three-Bar Cross: The Three-Bar cross in which the short top bar symbolizes the placard with the written charge against Christ. The middle bar is where the hands of Christ were nailed, and the lowest bar represents the footrest.

Trefoil Cross: Trefoil (from Latin trifolium, “three-leaved plant”) in Christian symbolism represents the Trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Trinity Cross: The Trinity Cross represents the unity of Father, Son, and Holy spirit as three persons in one Godhead.

Tubular Cross/Crucifix: The Tubular Cross/Crucifix is a symbol of the Christian faith, recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and Death. Its design is inspired by the pipe organs installed in Churches to symbolize the “Voice of God”.

Twisted Cross: The Twisted Cross represents the tightly woven relationship that we have with God and his infinite love for all.

Venetian Cross: The Venetian Cross is a highly decorative Cross that incorporates both precious stones and detailed, intricate metal work.

Vine Cross: The Vine Cross features an intricate design of plant life intertwining with the traditional cross. The vine imagery is a reference to a Bible verse; “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).

Virgin Mary: Mary was the woman chosen to be the Mother of God, that is to be the mother of Jesus. She has made appearances throughout history, is known as Notre Dame (Our Lady of..), and has been witnessed in locations around the world. The Virgin Mary symbolizes peace, loving protection, and the infinite Spirit of forgiveness.

Voided Cross: The Voided Cross is a reminder that Christ rose from death on the cross to proclaim victory over sin, death, and the Devil.

Wedding Bands: Rings have adorned human hands for centuries. It was the Egyptian Pharaohs who first used rings to represent eternity. That’s because a circle has no beginning and no end, and reflects the shape of the sun and moon, which the Egyptians worshiped. Ancient Egyptians believed that the ring finger, or the fourth finger of the left hand, contained a “vena amoris” or “vein of love” that led directly to the heart. The Romans adopted this belief and wore wedding rings on their ring finger.

Wheat Cross: The Wheat Cross has a wheat motif which is symbolic of Christ as the bread of life and represents the spreading of the word of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Winged Heart: The Winged Heart symbolizes love for freedom to maintain one’s will and individuality.

Wrap Cross: The Wrap Cross typically features an “X” design in the center, representing rope that held together the cross upon which Christ was crucified. This design symbolizes Christ’s voluntary Passion: His betrayal, scourging, mocking and the agony of the Crucifixion.

Wooded Crucifix: The Wooded Crucifix has an image of Jesus on a woodgrain cross. This crucifix emphasizes Jesus’ sacrifice – his death by crucifixion, which Christians believe brought about the redemption of mankind.

Yin Yang: The Yin Yang is the Taoist symbol of the interplay of forces in the universe. In Chinese Philosophy, yin and yang represent the two primal cosmic forces in the universe. Yin (moon) is the receptive, passive, cold female force. Yang (sun) is the masculine force, movement, heat. The Ying Yang symbol represents the idealized harmony of these forces; equilibrium in the universe.


Our Lady of Assumption | Nuestra Señora de la Asunción: The Assumption of Mary is the belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death.

Saint Andrew: St. Andrew the Apostle was one of the disciples closest to Jesus. He is called the first Apostle. According to Scripture, St. Andrew was the disciple who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes (John 6:8). He was also in Simon Peter’s boat and attended the last supper. He was crucified for baptizing the wife of a Roman governor. As a patron saint, St. Andrew offers protections to fisherman and singers. Wearing a St. Andrew medal can bring you luck and safety.

Saint Anne | Anne De Beaupre | Santa Ana: St. Anne is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s mother and Jesus’ grandmother. Although the Bible doesn’t mention Anne, other religious books acknowledge her as Mary’s mother and say she’s and Mary’s father, Joachim, had trouble bearing children until the angel Gabriel appeared and said they would have a child who they must dedicate to God. Saint Anne is the patroness of childless couples, unmarried women, housewives, women in labor or who want to be pregnant, grandmothers and educators.

Saint Anthony | San Antonio: St. Anthony of Padua, a Portuguese priest and Franciscan friar who was renowned as a teacher and preacher. St. Anthony is the benefactor of lost people and objects, based on a story where a Franciscan novice stole his psalter and left. After Anthony prayed for its return, both the thief and the psalter returned to the Order. St. Anthony is the patron of finding lost items.

Holy Infant of Atocha | Santo Niño de Atocha: The Holy infant of Atocha is the patron saint of those unjustly imprisoned, protector of travelers, and rescuer of those in peril. According to legend, in the Spanish city of Atocha, the Moors only allowed children to perform acts of mercy for their Christian captives, and a child appeared wearing pilgrim’s clothing and carrying a basket of food and a gourd of water. After the child gave food and water to the prisoners, his basket and gourd miraculously remained full.

Saint Augustine | San Agustín: Augustine of Hippo was an Algerian-Roman philosopher and theologian of the late Roman/early Medieval period. He was a major figure in bringing Christianity to dominance in the previously pagan Roman Empire. St. Augustine is the patron of theologians, printers, brewers, and many cities and dioceses.

Baptism | El Bautismo: In Christianity, Baptism is the sacrament of spiritual rebirth through which we are made children of God and heirs of Heaven. Water in baptism symbolizes the washing away of sin and the rising to newness in life.

Saint Barbara | Santa Bárbara: St. Barbara is the patroness for miners and field artillerymen. She was a Christian martyr, and the extremely beautiful daughter of a pagan named Dioscorus. Dioscorus protected her by locking her up in a tower, where she spent her days admiring God’s creations. She secretly became a Christian and dedicated her life to God. Ultimately, Barbara was tortured and beheaded for her faith. She offers protection (especially from lightning and fire) and the hope of a “good death” to those who wear her medallion.

Saint Benedict | San Benito: St. Benedict is the patron of Europe, farmers, engineers and architects. The Saint Benedict medal is a Christian sacramental medal containing symbols and text related to the life of Saint Benedict and many believe that wearing his medal invokes protection against evil forces and illness.

Saint Bernadette: St. Bernadette of Lourdes was best known for receiving visions from the Virgin Mary in a cave near Lourdes. Pope Pius XI canonized her as a saint in 1933. Saint Bernadette is the patroness of the ill, poor, shepherds and those ridiculed for their piety.

Saint Brigid | Santa Brígida: Saint Brigid is the patroness for newborn babies, blacksmiths, boatman, chicken farmers, dairy farmers, midwives, children whose parents are not married and fugitives. Brigid is Ireland’s second most famous patron saint and known for her generosity to the poor.

Caridad del Cobre: Caridad del Cobre, also known as Our Lady of Charity is a popular Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to legend, she saved three boys during a storm and is one of Cuba’s most treasured figures, representing hope and salvation in the face of misfortune. Caridad del Cobre is the patroness of Cuba.

Saint Catherine | Santa Catalina: Catherine of Sienna, a lay member of the Dominican Order, was a mystic, activist, and author who had a great influence on Italian Literature and the Catholic Church. Canonized in 1461, she is also one of the few women who hold the title of Doctor of the Church. St. Catherine is the patroness of nurses, breast cancer, and Italy.

Saint Cecilia | Santa Cecilia: St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians, composers, and poets. She is one of the most venerated martyrs of Christian antiquity and gives inspiration to all who keep music close to their heart.

Saint Charles | San Carlos: St. Charles Borromeo was the Latin archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584 and a cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was a leading figure of the Counter- Reformation combat against the Protestant Reformation together with St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Philip Neri. In that role, he was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests. St. Charles is the patron of bishops, cardinals, seminarians, and spiritual leaders.

Saint Christopher | San Cristóbal: St. Christopher is the subject of numerous legends and stories. Originally the man who would become Christopher was ferryman named Offerus. He was a large, strong man who carried people across a river. One day a child asked for transportation to the other side of the waterway. Offerus completed the request, even as the child grew heavier and heavier. The child later revealed himself to be Jesus, who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Offerus became known as “Christopher” which beans “Christ-bearer”, as a result. St. Christopher is the patron of travelers and transportation.

Saint Clare | Santa Clara: St. Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of the Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. Saint Clare is the patroness of those with eye disease, embroiderers, television, laundry workers and extrasensory perception.

Confirmation | Confirmación: The sacrament of Confirmation is that sacrament by which we receive the Holy Spirit, to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

Saint Daniel | San Daniel: St. Daniel whose name means “God is my Judge”. The canon of Catholic scripture contains the Book of Daniel as part of the Old testament. In it we hear the tale of Daniel and his three companions carried off to Babylon following the capture of the city by Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel became famous for interpreting dreams and rose to become one of the most important figures in the court and lived well into the reign of the Persian conquerors. St. Daniel is the patron of courage, fortitude and strength.

Divine Child | Divino Niño: The Divino Niño, also known as Divine Child Jesus is the patron of good luck, healing and blessings. It is one of the most popular religious images in Columbia, especially among Roman Catholics and it is claimed to have miraculous powers.

Saint Dominic | Santo Domingo: Saint Dominic was a Castilian Catholic priest and founder of the Dominican Order. St. Dominic is the patron of astronomers and the Dominican Republic.

Ecce Homo: “Ecce Homo” – “Behold the Man”- from the words of Pontius Pilate when he presented Jesus, crowned with thorns, to the crowd before his crucifixion. Mocked by Roman soldiers, Jesus is wearing a crown of thorns, his features expressing compassion towards his persecutors.

Saint Edmund | Santo Edmundo: St. Edmund is the patron of pandemics as well as kings, the Roman Catholic diocese of East Anglia, and Douai Abbey in Berkshire. Martyred king of the East Angles, he was elected king in 855 at the age of fourteen and began ruling Suffolk, England the following year. After extreme torture, Edmund was beheaded and died calling upon Jesus.

Saint Edward | San Eduardo: St. Edward also known as Edward the Confessor was among the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex. Saint Edward is the patron of difficult marriages and separated spouses.

Our Lady of Fatima | Nuestra Señora de Fátima: Our Lady of Fátima, is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary based on the Marian apparitions reported on May 13, 1917 by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, in Fátima, Portugal. The three children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Many believe wearing her medallion will bring special graces from the Virgin Mary.

Saint Florian: St. Florian is the patron of firefighters. A St. Florian medal is a great gift for firefighters, said to give them courage and protect them even in the most dangerous situations. St. Florian became a saint for refusing to obey commands to persecute Christians. St. Florian was tortured and put to death by drowning, but did so calmly as a child of God. He became the patron saint of firefighters because he was the leader of a Roman fire brigade.

Saint Francis of Assisi | Saint Francis | San Francisco de Asís: St. Francis of Assisi is the patron of animals, the environment, and traders. He is a popular patron saint for pet owners, who pray to St. Francis of Assisi for protection over their pets. St. Francis of Assisi could allegedly speak to animals, and saved a town from a vicious wolf. Wearing a St. Francis of Assisi Medal is believed to offer protection for animals and the natural environment.

Saint Gabriel | San Gabriel: Saint Gabriel is the patron of messengers, communication workers, and postal workers. The name Gabriel is translated to mean “man of God” and first mention of him appears in the Old Testament with the prophecies of Daniel. The Angel Gabriel served as God’s messenger in several places throughout the Old and New Testament. Gabriel was also the angel who showed himself to Zachariah to announce the birth of Saint John. He was also present at the Annunciation telling Mary that she would have a son that would become the savior of the world.

Saint Genesius: Genesius of Rome is a legendary Christian saint, once a comedian who had performed in plays that mocked Christianity. According to legend, while performing in a play that made fun of baptism, he had an experience on stage that converted him. He proclaimed his new belief, and he steadfastly refused to renounce it, even when the emperor Diocletian ordered him to do so. St. Genesius is the patron of actors, lawyers, barristers, clowns, comedians, converts, dancers, people with epilepsy, musicians, and printers.

Saint George | San Jorge: St. George was a Palestinian soldier under Roman emperor Diocletian. He was put to death for refusing to give up his Christian faith. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and the patron saint of England as well