Memory wire

Another of the military inventions that were applied in costume jewelry was Nitinol, alloy formed, initially by Nickel and Titanium, with shape memory and discovered by the US Naval Ordnance Laboratory.

Although these types of alloys have been known since #IIWW, they did not begin to be applied in everyday life until the #60s and in many fields, from medicine to jewelry.

The initial composition of Nitinol whose name takes after the first Niquel and Titanium syllables plus the first letters of Naval Ordnance Laboratory, was those two metals (Niquel and Titanium) but that wasn't the only alloy with which the memory wire was made. Other alloys were copper-aluminium-nickel or compositions of metals like zinc, copper, gold and iron. Logically the price depends of the material so copper and iron based memory wires were cheaper and therefore more suitable for uses like costume jewellery but, at the same time, iron is more prone to rust specially in contact with humidity and parfums.

Firms such as Monet, Coro or Miriam Haskell, among others, launched their pieces in memory wire which, due to its properties, allowed it to adapt to a wide range of sizes and tastes, and allowed beads of various materials to be passed through the wire, from glass to acrylic or pearls that made some pieces true works of art with a very 60s halo.

But memory wire jewellery didn't stop at the 60s... The beginning of the 70s saw a DIY boom and the simplicity of the technique was perfect for anybody to thread wood or seed beads during the craft craze that arose in the hippie era. The thing is that, although memory wire has lived some improvements like the introduction of stainless steel, since the 70s has been in and out of fashion but almost always being relegated to the craft world which doesn't mean that there aren't real wonderful pieces and creations of wonderful artists but the changes in fashion and in the way to manufacture costume jewellery have propitiated that memory wire jewelry is something for anyone to craft as they please for themselves, for a gift or just for relax.