As a wire wrapper/sculpture, I’m going to jump in. First, copper is the best practice wire. It is cheap, popular and beautiful. Renassance wax is what museums use to polish their metal to keep them looking nice longer. Copper is easily cleaned by putting a little catsup on it for a few minutes and then cleaning with a cloth or soft toothbrush under running water.
The most common size wire is 21g, but 20-22 works well. The temper and shape will depend on what you are planning to wrap. Ear wires should be round half hard. Border wraps would be square half hard with 1/2 round for the binding wires. If you want the fancy swirls, you need dead soft wire. If you have a question, I would be happy to help you, just send me a pm. Also if you go to www.wiresculpture.com
, you can get a free dvd that helps with the basics.
When you are comfortable with the copper, you could move on to silver filled before sterling. If you look at my page some items are sterling and some silver filled and you would never know just from looks which is which.