The weight of your design components is the clue as to what you should be using. For instance if you are working with gemstone beads or lots of large crystal beads/pendants you will want something that can hold a heavy design. Even the crimps that you may use will need to be considered.
Soft Flex wire is a superior beading wire, it is supple and even thin enough (.010 Very Fine) that you can even knot it, it also comes in a great range of colours. Soft Flex is availble in 4 diameters. I was able to make this crystal ring using .010 wire as I was able to tie knots and the wire makes the ring wearable due to its durability.
SOFT FLEX WIRE DIAMETERS
.010 Very Fine - Great for using small crystals, or other sharp beads, knotting, crocheting, weaving, embellishing and stringing small beads even seed beads (use 1x1mm crimps).
.014 Fine - Great for using with small beads or fresh water pearls (use 2x2mm crimps)
.019 Medium - Ideal as an all purpose wire, you can use it with smaller bicone crystals or small to medium gemstone beads etc (us 2x2mm crimps).
.024 Heavy - Perfect for abrasive beads such as large crystals, lampwork beads and large gemstone beads (use 2x3mm crimps).
Soft Flex comes in a great range of colours golden bronze, black, bone, white and satin silver. There is also a Metallics range antique brass and copper and a Extreme Range 24k gold and 925 Silver and lastly the Premium Satin Silver.
I have used the Soft Flex Heavy 925 silver for a project for Australian Beading (see pic) it has not yet been published but is waiting to be assigned to an edition. This wire is like supple silver wire, it looks like you are working with sterling silver however it holds up to 40lbs, can be crimped and is perfect for working with crystals. As these crystals are clear it was great that the colour of the wire is like sterling silver. It also comes in 24k gold. Soft Flex wire products are perfect for any beading project, for me they are first choice as they do not fail, and the range suits any conceivable design concept.
To see Soft Flexs' range of coloured wires follow this link:
If you like working with precious metal or base metal wires, there size is referred to as gauge, which is the diameter of the wire ie14 - 16 gauge
Very thick wire, used as a frame or base for pieces that must hold their shapes such as cuff armateurs, frames or sculpture.
Thick wire used with beads with large holes, making clasps or in projects that require stiffness. Also used in chainmaking.
Good general purpose medium wire used for making findings such as headpins and small clasps.
A light medium wire used for wire wrapping semi-precious beads and making thicker earwires or thinner headpins.