There are a few shops in the “hou che zhan” area (behind Taipei Main Station) that sell sterling silver wire and assorted other stuff. Start from Civil Blvd. and walk north on…darn…that really big street…um…I think it’s Yanping N. Road…it’s near that place where the streets come together in a weird pointy way where I buy stone beads and fillers…obviously I can’t tell you where it is very well. I’ve bought sterling silver filler beads (plain, round) here in the past at a reasonable price, but I’m still working on the larger bag I bought in Thailand awhile back.
There’s another place on Jinshan N. Road (it’s the section where there are side-lanes to the road on the ground level part) just below the place where the road bumps up a little bit (I know, this is pathetic) which handles all kinds of jewelry-making tools. I don’t remember if they had silver or not but I think they didn’t, but if you need a torch, files, or anything like that, it’s good.
You can get round wire of various gauges here in sterling. Solder is available.
However, for pre-casts, clasps, various shapes of wire, any kind of tool you can imagine, and silver, gold, platinum and base metals in all their myriad forms, go to the big source from the US: Rio Grande. I think it’s www.riogrande.com and you may have to request a catalogue (which weigh about 3 pounds each — there are 3 separate ones). However, they’re probably the best wholesaler in the US and they have no problem selling retail.
Ah, we’ll just have to go there someday and I’ll show you where it all is, if I can find it. Pack a lunch just in case!!