Beautiful Wire Wrapped Jewellery - How to Wire Wrap a Cabochon Pendant

Wire wrapped pendants

One of the most popular methods of wire wrapping pendants is the pattern I am going to share with you.

A Brief History of Wire Wrapping

The roots of this form of jewellery design can be traced as far back as 1446 BC and gained popularity with the emergence of Phoenician traders.

In 1270 AD the French were the first to capitalize on business profits from the manufacture and sale of 'drawn' wire. Wire wrapping was limited to religious symbols and fastenings for crucifixes, and England's first recorded commercial production of wire wasn't until 1465.

The Victorian Era gave birth to the ever popular cameo, and with it, wire wrap sculpture. The two went hand in hand, flourishing for a number of years as artists created signature pieces that were handed down from generation to generation, before the art form faded into obscurity.

After the first World War, an artist by the name of C. G. Oxley is credited with the resurgence of the art.

free form wrapping, Haron deZyne Originals
free form wrapping, Haron deZyne Originals

As most wire artisans know, although many of the components are the same, and similar wire-working principals are used, each artist brings his or her own style to the creation of the piece. While there are specific ways to wrap the different types of cuts, I prefer to find innovative designs, creatively tailoring each piece to compliment the gemstone, turning the end product into original works of art.

My 'free form' style of wrapping is a combination of basic principals of the trade, a slightly 'twisted' viewpoint, and a unique blending of traditional settings with sculpture.

Traditional wrapping

This next pattern is one that has been around for many many years, and is the basis of most wire wrapped jewellery available online. The pictures showing the various stages are not my work, but they give you a very good idea of what the finished product will look like.

For a bit of a different look, you can use your imagination to work the 'left over' wires into your own designs.

Cabochons come in many shapes and sizes, and include gemstones, cameos and man made material. I recommend that you start with a fairly large cabochon as it is easier to handle. Of course, the larger the stone, the more wire you’ll need.

Supplies

Here are the supplies/equipment you’ll need:

  • Your choice of size and type of cabochon
  • approx. 1ft 24 gauge half-round silver or rolled gold wire
  • *22 gauge dead soft square silver or rolled gold wire or
  • 20 gauge dead soft square silver or rolled gold wire
  • masking tape
  • bent nosed pliers
  • wire cutters
  • round nosed pliers
  • pin vise
  • marker
  • soft cloth
  • ruler

*Some people recommend using 20 gauge vs. 22 gauge square wire. However, 20 gauge is much stronger and harder if you are using half hard strength. For this reason, I prefer using dead soft. It is easier to mold and shape, and surprisingly, it holds its shape very well after twisting.

1. Take masking tape and wrap it around the edge of the cabochon, then unwrap it and measure. To determine the length of square wire to use, add four inches to the length of the tape.
2. Now cut three pieces of square wire to that length, and use a soft cloth to straighten the pieces of wire.
3. Next, fit the three pieces of square wire tightly together. (Before taping, you can twist the outer wires with the pin vise. This gives the pendant a diamond quality when it's finished.)
4. Determine the middle of the wires and make the first wrap here using the half round wire. Add two other wraps on either side approx. 1 inch from the middle.
5. Now fit the cabochon inside the wrapped wires, forming the wire around the stone so that the middle wrap is against the bottom of the stone and the other wraps are on either side.

6. Once the wires fit tightly around the cab, make another wrap at the top of the stone so that there are about 2 inches of wires left free at the top.
7. Position the piece so the front of the cabochon is facing you.
8. Use the nosed pliers to pull the first of the three wires you previously wrapped toward the center of the stone. There are four places on the cabochon where this needs to be done. Two spots are directing on either side of the center wrap which, of course, needs to be positioned at the bottom center. The two are to the left and right of the second two wraps.
9. After pulling the wires to the center on the front of the cab, repeat this on the back. Now your stone should be held firmly in place. Separate the wires at the top of the cab.

10. Now, use the pin vise to twist the top wires. This step is not necessary, and is used for decorative purposes only. Use round nosed pliers to curl four of the wires down.

You can also use your imagination for this part of the step, making larger curls or tucking the ends of the wire into the side and clamping them for a different look.

11. Use round or bent nosed pliers to pull the two remaining wires to the back of the piece and wrap around wires in the back to create a bale for hanging the pendant and you're done!

Notes: When you are pulling the wires to secure the stone, be careful not to scratch or dent the wire, as this will show up on the finished product. Do your best to keep the bends as equal as possible. This lends extra quality to your work.

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Comments 27 comments

Imelleda profile image

Imelleda 6 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon

This is a beautiful piece. I love the free-form wrapping style - and this piece is quite lovely.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thank you Imelleda, I prefer the free-form to standard wrapping. Mind you, there are some pieces that look absolutely exquisite in a traditional wrap. My next hub will show the difference!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

Oh, wow! Someone beat me here! This is another great "how-to" and it is a beautiful piece, Enelle! The instructions and photos have almost convinced em I could do this - almost! ;) Thanks for another great hub.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks Red - I think you would do a beautiful job of wire wrapping! It's easy and very creative :D


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Great, especially the pictures, very clear and detailed. Great hub, rated and stumbled.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

My thanks hypnodude! ...who was that masked stranger? No, seriously, thank you. I appreciate that very much!


renoelle profile image

renoelle 6 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning

This is really beautiful - I almost think I could try one myself with these instructions ;)


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

I'm sure you could renoelle - I started out using patterns like these...


balthasarcontent profile image

balthasarcontent 5 years ago from San Diego, CA, USA

nice straightforward tutorial on how to make a basic cab wrap, clear photos, and lovely that you mentioned the free-form styles as well and showed an example. as a freeform artist, I don't find I get as much attention as the traditional artists!

Kyla


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

balthasarcontent - I hear ya! I find I get more response to traditional wraps than I do for freeform - at least in print...People appreciate the freeform in person, but I think they are traditionalists at heart LOL!


Song-Bird profile image

Song-Bird 5 years ago from Michigan

This is so beautiful! I would love to try something like this. Your instructions are very clear - thank you!


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks Song-Bird :) I appreciate the feedback! You should give it a try, you might surprise yourself :D


Miss Paula profile image

Miss Paula 5 years ago

These are very beautiful pieces I have never seen wire wrapped Jewellery before in looks like it would be fun to try.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks Miss Paula - it is fun :) and it isn't that difficult either ;)


fatma 4 years ago

super


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 4 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks fatma :)


Ania L profile image

Ania L 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Wonderful, wonderful piece, it looks so fragile and so precious. Still from your instructions it should be easy to make so thank you so much for this tutorial.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 4 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Most welcome :D would love to see your finished work!


IM4Keith4sure profile image

IM4Keith4sure 3 years ago from Calgary, aLberta ,Canada.

Hi! I am enjoying your jewelry work, as I enjoy making them as well. This interests me as it is beautiful and using the wire freely looks great.If you don't mind I would like to follow this pattern. I am sure it will help me a lot on how to wire stones and such.Thank! you for sharing this. IM4Keith4sure nAnce,


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 3 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

By all means, help yourself! It is a popular pattern, and you can do so much with it :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

The top photo especially is lovely. Any of these would make a fine gift. Rated Up and many more.


IM4Keith4sure profile image

IM4Keith4sure 3 years ago from Calgary, aLberta ,Canada.

Thanks! so much for sharing the directions How to use wire around so looking delicate and fancy wiring of the precious stone. so beautiful.Love it.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 3 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks Patty - the top photo is one of my own designs :)

IM4Keith4sure - so pleased you enjoy it...keeps me out of trouble LOL


IM4Keith4sure profile image

IM4Keith4sure 3 years ago from Calgary, aLberta ,Canada.

It sure keeps you busy and out of trouble. I also love your other jewelry work as well.it's a Hobbby that can be addictive, that you want to continue making new designs. They look so beautiful to wear for dinner or dance,Wear theem where a lot of people socialize and get the compliments and ask if you would make them one. How cool is that.Here's looking at more of your jewelry.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 3 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

LOL thanks IM4Keith - it is one hobby that at least makes a bit of money from time to time!


IM4Keith4sure profile image

IM4Keith4sure 3 years ago from Calgary, aLberta ,Canada.

That is so cool! that you are making money out of this. Your'e welcome. I wonder if I could do this?LOL! I also like to use beads. I guess I will work on my next Hub as well.So keep on ROckin! those gems!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

Enelle, the purple shade of the stone and delicate silver work really catch my eye!

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