Join modern jewelry-makers, both professional and hobbyists, in exploring the ancient art of wire-wrapping stones. Select precious or semi-precious stones for pendants which you can quickly and easily wrap into a cage made from sterling silver wire. Use the wire cage for both displaying the stone and protecting it.
Select Wire Wrap Materials and Tools
Select a stone for your pendant. Typical choices include gemstones classified as semi-precious, such as turquoise, smoky quartz and tiger's eye. Pick a stone that has a small hole drilled through, either from front to back or side to side, to pass the wire through.
Select wire wrap for the stone's cage. Try a sterling silver wire in 20 or 22 gage. Pick a wire that you can thread through the stone's hole.
Assemble wire wrapping tools. Set out wire cutting pliers, round-nosed pliers, long-nosed pliers, bent-nosed pliers and chain-nose pliers where they are easily accessible.
Prepare the Wire Loop
Use a ruler to measure a 12 inch length of sterling silver wire and clip it off with the wire cutter. Make the wire workable by running your fingers along it several times to straighten it.
Thread the wire through the stone. Leave 2 inches of wire on one side of the pendant and 10 inches on the other. Hold the two ends together near the top of the stone. Clamp the round-nosed pliers on these two strands and twist the small and long pieces around each other three times. Cut any extra from the short wire.
Create the loop by pulling gently on the long wire to straighten it. Clamp the round-nosed pliers on the long wire, just above where you twisted the two pieces together. Bend the long wire down so it forms a right angle to the twisted wires. Twist the long wire back around over the top of the round-nosed pliers. This creates a loop.
Finish the loop. With chain-nosed pliers placed over the loop to hold it in place, use your fingers to wrap the remaining wire around the two wires twisted into the stem of the loop. Use wire cutters to remove extra wire or wrap the end under part of the stem.
Form the Wire Cage
Cut an 18-inch piece of wire. Twist one piece of the wire around the two twisted strands that form the stem of the loop. Tighten the wire so it forms a secure base for the cage.
Holding the stone in one hand, use your other hand to begin wrapping the wire around the stone to create a cage. Twist the wire, weave it over, around and underneath itself. Use whichever pliers help you create the look you want.
Finish the wire cage by bringing the end of the wire back to the loop. Make sure you have 1 inch of wire left to twist tightly around the stem of the loop. Secure it by trimming the end and pushing any leftover wire under the stem.
Check to ensure that the wire cage holds the stone pendant in place. The stone should not rattle or rock in the cage. If you need a tighter cage, turn to the back of the pendant. Using long-nosed pliers, twist one or more sections of the wire until the pendant is tightly held in the cage.
Visit with artisans at jewelry shows and classes to learn more ways to use wire cages on stone pendants.
Observe safety precautions with jewelry tools and materials.