I've recently started working more with steel wire. I've had a spool of 16 gauge wire on my bench for some time, using it as accent wire, etc., but never as a design focal pint. I can thank Susan Lenart Kazmer and Brenda Schweder for bringing steel wire to the forefront, both have published books, videos and tutorials about the wonders of steel wire. I just got Brenda's book, Steel Wire Jewelry, full of inspiration. AND, one of my all-time jewelry design heroes, Richard Salley, also incorporates steel wire in his amazing designs.
The economy has also played a big part in my shift to alternative metals other than silver or gold. Steel wire is affordable and gaining in popularity. I get mine from Objects and Elements.
I'm having a blast working with steel, it hammers, wraps, bends and solders like a dream. There are several new designs in the works, I'll post pics as I go. Shown here is a necklace/ring set made with steel, pearls and amazonite on black brass chain. Dramatic and industrial, yet also kind of glamorous too!
If you haven't worked with steel before, I highly recommend it. Get yourself a spool and have some fun!