When you take part in rockhounding, whether you're out in the wilderness, at a fee dig, or sorting through bags of tailings delivered from a local mine, you need to sift out the sand and general gravel from the items you hope to find. Sifters generally consist of a square, rectangular, or round frame (this can be made of wood, plastic, or what have you) with a screen on the bottom. The screen's holes can be large or small, depending on what you hope to find.
The screen in question can be made of wire mesh or perforated metal. While perforated metal—a metal sheet that is literally perforated with punched holes all over—is durable, wire mesh can be preferable for a few reasons.
This really depends on what you're trying to sift, but there's the potential for less noise if you're using wire mesh. Both the mesh and the perforated metal are metal, and rocks are going to not be the quietest things to sift through those materials. But the mesh may end up being quieter, or at least not as sharp in terms of noise, compared to a metal sheet. This is important if you're trying not to bother a neighbor or trying to stay quiet for wildlife's sake out in the wilderness.
Fewer Flashes of Reflected Light
Sunlight and artificial light will reflect off that metal, but more so if the material you're using is smoother and has wider sections between the openings, as you find with perforated metal. Mesh can of course reflect light, but not as much, so it's easier to look at on bright days. Normally you could coat perforated metal with something to remove the reflectivity of the metal, but that coating would likely be decimated by all the rocks and gravel scraping across it as you sifted dirt.
Wire mesh is often much, much cheaper than perforated metal, and if you're building a few sifting screens, that difference in price really will make itself evident. Again, perforated metal can be a lot more durable than mesh, so you pay more for that strength and additional material. But mesh is no slacker in the strength department, either, especially if the mesh is made of thicker wires.
If you're building sifting screens for rockhounding and prospecting, you need a screen that will stand up to the friction and impacts it will encounter but that will also be cost-efficient. For more information about custom wire mesh, contact a local seller.