Wire is a versatile material for a wide range of jewelry projects, whether you’re creating a showpiece or you want a simple bangle to wear around the house. One particularly spectacular application of wire is wire-wrapped pendants. A basic wire-wrapped pendant can use a variety of materials as the focal piece, such as a stone, found object or charm. The wire is wrapped around the object in such a way that the object gets framed by the wire, with each element augmenting the other.
Where to Find Focal Objects
There’s no rule on what you can and cannot use as a focal object. Commonly used focals include beads, rough-cut minerals, buttons, small toys and found objects. Etsy has an extensive crafts supplies section that includes a large variety of focal beads, with hundreds of pages for cabochons alone. Whether you’re looking for a delicate gemstone or a massive wooden carving, try Etsy or your local craft and hobby store.
The Essential Tools
Get the right tools for the job before you dive headfirst into your wire-wrapping adventure. Beading Daily recommends two different pliers, the round nose and chain nose, and wire cutters. You may also want to consider a wire-wrapping jig, which is a small tool that helps you form loops, curls and other decorative elements in your wire wrapping.
Three Basic Wire-Wrapped Pendant Projects
A briolette is a small, drilled and faceted gemstone that comes in a variety of mineral options, from amethyst to zirconian. A briolette is a great option to start out with in wire wrapping, because it already has a hole drilled through it. They are also relatively low-cost compared to some cabochons.
The wrapping technique Beadaholique demonstrates (video below) involves wrapping around only the top of the bead. Consider using a custom molded o-ring at the top of the pendant for a durable mounting option.
A slightly more advanced wire-wrapping technique (video below) uses a wrap style commonly used in rope work to create a simple showcase for undrilled stones and objects. The stone is wrapped using two folded wires and braided down the center of the stone. It encases the stone down the middle to hold it in place, and extra wire is available to create a decorative top wire design.
The wire-wrapping technique used in the video below enhances the cabochon used as the focal of the work. The wire wrapping for securing the stone is fairly simple, but the real beauty in this project comes from the stylized and decorative wire around the piece.
Having problems figuring out the best design to showcase the stellar focal stone you found? Look for inspiration online. Pinterest is home to many wire-wrapping boards, with an extensive wire-wrapped pendants board that shows you countless techniques that others have posted online. Flickr, Deviant Art and Etsy are other good sources of inspiration.
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