Wire Wrap Pendant Tutorial

I recently acquired  some very nice tourmalated quartz and thought I would take photos of different stages of the process of creating a pendant.

I am using 22 gauge sterling silver round for this one. I personally like 22 gauge for small to medium pendants because I do a lot of shaping with my fingers. I use 20 gauge for large pendants.

I cut 4 pieces, 6 inches long, then using painters tape I bundled them.

Next, I take another piece of wire, also 22 gauge round ( I know some people like to use half round ) and I start a bind wrap to tie the bundle together.

I clip the wire after about 4 wraps then use my flat nosed pliers to flatten the bind.

On this pendant I am adding a 2nd binding wrap, Then I carefully shape the wires around the stone. I position the binding wraps where I want them.

Shape the bottom wire to hold the bottom of the stone in place.

I then add a top bind wire, but do not cut it yet, to allow for readjustments. Place the stone in then start shaping the wires to hold the stone in place on the front and the back.

Once I have the wires shaped round the stone, then I separate the 4 outside wires from the bundle and then carefully twist the four wires together to make the bail. This is a technique I developed on my own over the years by trial and many errors, that I like to use on this style pendant.

I then the shape bail. On this one as I shaped the twisted wires with bail making pliers I also carefully flattened the twist for a nicer look for this one. I use the 4 wires I separated to bind the bail down.

Lastly, I use the rest of the 4 binding wires to add swirls, then do the final adjustments on the binding wires until I am happy with the way it looks.

Those are the basics to making a wire wrapped pendant. Depending on the stone, you may add more binding wraps. You can wrap irregular shaped stones easily with this technique as well.

I used sterling silver on this one, but I suggest if you have never wire wrapped before to use copper wire to practice with. Enjoy.

- Wayne

Garage sale find

You never know what you will find at a garage sale. This has to be the first time I ever bought a pound of Mexican Fire Opal for $1.

Fire Opal rough bought at a garage sale for$1.
One man's trash is another man's treasure,  hehe.

Distracted by something shiny.

Many of my jewelry creations start out by picking up a rock. Gemstones are a wonder of nature and each seems to be unique in its own way. When distracted by a rough gemstone, I will  pick up the stone and study it. Then I will try to figure out the best way to cut it and shape it. I usually let the stone itself determine its final shape, let it become what it wants to be.

As I write this blog, I will add some of my thoughts about the art of jewelry making, as well as tutorials and tips.

I first started experimenting with silversmithing around 1980, inspired at the time by a book by Oscar Y. Branson, Indian Jewelry Making. Over the years I learned other techniques in classes or from books.

I enjoy lapidary work, finding my stones rock hunting or just searching local rock shop's piles of rough. I tumble a lot of material for free-form shapes. I also cut cabochons, mostly free-form, letting the stone itself determine the final shape, as I mentioned above.

I probably do more wire-wrap work currently, but from time to time, I will get an idea for a piece that can only be done with fabrication or metal clay. The metal clay I use is Art Clay because it uses recycled silver to make its clay.

Because I have a kiln, purchased for firing metal clay with some gemstones, I also experiment with glass fusing. A lot of my fusing uses dichroic or art glass, but I am also experimenting with recycling wine bottles.

What I may work on from day to day will change, depending on what shiny idea has me distracted at that time. Hence my name, SomethingShinyArt.


Moonstone cat's eye, wrapped with sterling silver wire.