Easy Wire Wrapping Techniques for My Favorite Gemstones

After watching my yoga teacher’s 9-year-old son start whipping up amazing wire-wrapped gemstones last year, I decided it was time for me to give wire wrapping a try once more. My first attempts at wire wrapping were, shall we say, less than successful, but after a few years of learning about wire and getting to know how to work with this fabulous jewelry-making material, I’m feeling more confident in my wire jewelry-making skills.

I bought this striking piece of black tourmaline from one of my favorite local gem shops in upstate New York. Situated in a real train caboose, this gem shop has an incredible array of natural gemstones, finished jewelry, books, essential oils, and other metaphysical goodies to keep me inspired. Every time I visit, I try to follow my intuition in choosing a handful of new gemstones to work with in my meditation practice — it’s a nice way to let my heart lead the way and trust my creative side!

So this little piece of black tourmaline came to me one day, and after researching some of the metaphysical uses for this gemstone, I decided that I wanted to be able to wear it as a pendant. According to lore and legend, black tourmaline can be worn or carried to repel and protect against negativity and negative energy. It’s also believed to enhance practical creativity, and is supposed to be good for disorders of the lower back (like for beaders who sit and bead all day!) and to sooth anxiety.

If you want to play with making rustic wire wrapping projects, the only tools you really need are a good pair of chain nose pliers and a good pair of wire cutters or flush cutters.

I started with a 5′ length of 20 gauge tarnish-proof silver craft wire. Leaving about a 6″ tail, I started making some snug wraps around the lower half of the gemstone. I didn’t want to make them too tight, since I knew I was going to try some funky diagonal wire wrapping to hold the wires in place.
When I had four or five good wraps, I bent the wire at a 90 degree angle on the back of the pendant and started to make some vertical wraps from top to bottom. These were a little more challenging, as the gemstone had some uneven edges.

To make the diagonal wraps, I started by using the tail on the back of the stone. Using my chain nose pliers, I tucked the wire underneath the horizontal wraps, and then diagonally across the vertical wraps. I repeated this a few times, using the pliers to help me maneuver the wire to the right position. I also used the pliers to pull on the short end of the wire to tighten the wraps.

After I had repeated the diagonal wraps on the other side of the pendant, I guided the wire up to the top where I would make a bail. To make the bail, I passed the wire up to the top of the gemstone, and then made three large loops, passing the wire underneath the vertical wraps.
When I was happy with the size of the bail, I twisted the base of the loops so that the bail was facing in the correct position, and then used the last of the working end of the wire to wrap the base.

Now that I’ve securely wrapped my gemstone with wire, I can wear my piece of black tourmaline on my favorite leather necklace or silver chain! I’m sure it won’t be long before I make another visit to the gem shop to stock up on new gemstones so that I can practice my wire wrapping skills.

Heart to Heart by Brenda Schweder from the February/March issue of Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine

Of course, I’ll also be practicing my wire jewelry making and wire wrapping skills with the projects that I find in each issue of Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine! If you like to get your jewelry making magazines on the go, now is the perfect time to get a digital subscription to Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine. It’s all of the same great content as the print magazine, but with all the convenience of a digital format. Get your digital subscription to Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine and indulge your love of wire jewelry!

Have you ever set out to play with a new wire jewelry or wire wrapping technique, only to be pleasantly surprised at the end results? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your experiences with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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