Use the 17 gauge wire to string beads in your kiln for firing. It is important to weight these wires down as they do sag. The higher the kiln temp the greater the sag. For a cone 06 firing your can even just use a bead tree with just a few small beads or charms and the wire won't sag much. But the same use in a Cone5 or Cone6 firing will result in disaster i.e. the wire will sag and fall off the bead tree and stick to whatever is in its way as it goes down.
Addendum: there is also a high temp wire in 14 gauge, not a rod, that is good for firing beads, I am just told, and doesn't sag. You can buy it at Ceramics Store Inc. It is listed under "kiln supplies."
My source, Spirited Earth, says it works well.
The 24 gauge stamen wire is great for stringing loops to be fired into pendants. Here is a wonderful example of a pendant by Miller Porcelain from the BOC Etsy Store that illustrates the use of multiple loops to increase the design potential of a piece. Most folks use the 24 gauge stamen wire for these multiple loops but you can also use the 19 gauge
Gears Connector by Miller Porcelain
Stoneware Butterfly Toggle by Mary Harding
Above is a picture of a toggle clasp that has a high fire wire stringing loop fused into the stoneware clay. I can say with certainty that the wire used for this toggle is the 24 gauge stamen wire.
There are many ways to make a stringing loop out of high temp wire. I use these looping pliers to form mine so they will be a consistent shape.
You can find High Temp wire at your local ceramic supply store. A couple of online sources are Bailey Ceramic, and Big Ceramic Store .
Please leave your comments and questions about your experience with high temp wire. It will be helpful to all of us. Thank you!!