What is GAUGE? and Why Should I Care?

March 29, 2019

What is GAUGE? and Why Should I Care?

The Modern Bazaar fabricates each piece of jewelry by hand from a piece of sheet metal.


Jewelry fabrication is the process of joining precious metal segments or parts by soldering or welding them into position and then cutting, bending, sanding, forming, drilling and polishing each piece by hand from start to finish.


Hand fabricated jewelry is a product of time, skill, and patience, making each quality custom piece truly special and one-of-a-kind. 



So, when shopping online, how can you tell if you're buying a flimsy piece of jewelry or a substantial one? 


It's all about the GAUGE of the sheet metal or wire used to fabricate the piece of jewelry. 

Gauge is defined as the unit of thickness of a sheet of metal or wire. The gauge of a sheet of metal is a reference to how thick it is. 


The smaller the number, the thicker the piece of metal - which is somewhat counterintuitive.

A flimsy piece of gold or sterling silver jewelry is made out of 26 gauge metal whereas a substantial quality piece of gold/silver jewelry is made from 16 gauge metal.


So, when buying precious metal jewelry, always ask about the thickness of the metal or the gauge. The lower the gauge, the more precious metals and higher quality jewelry. Of course, the thicker the piece, the more expensive it will be.


Below are two of our rings.  The one on the left is 20 gauge and the one on the right is 16 gauge. You can definitely see the difference!  Some like a chunkier thicker ring while others prefer a lighter daintier ring. 



Some additional things to consider would be if you're adding a stone or if you plan to stack your ring with others. We can only set stones in the 16 gauge ring for obvious reasons. However, when stacking rings with others, we suggest a thinner ring - or one with a higher gauge such as 18ga or 20ga.


Sizing is also a factor when selecting the gauge of your new ring. You will want to size up half a size when wearing a thicker gauge ring for comfort. 


Again, you can see the difference below. The bracelet on the left is an older bracelet of ours when we used 20ga metal and the one on the right is our latch bracelet which is made of 16ga metal. 




I hope you found this information helpful. 


Remember, when buying jewelry online, always make sure you know the thickness of the piece you are purchasing (in addition to the metal type) to ensure you're making a good decision. 


As always, we'd love to hear from you!  Please let us know if you have any questions.




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