Tumbled gemstones are magical. They offer such a variety of size, shape and color! And last but not least they are inexpensive too. I have written about tumbled gemstones before, in this blog. The “raw” beauty of these stones has a downside. It is quite challenging to set them in standard bezels. That is why the wire wrapped stones have become so popular. Some jewelry makers like it so much, that they even wrap standard cabochons in all kinds of curls and swirls. But there are already so many things to do with standard cabochons. Somehow I don’t like taking the paved road. I use the wire wrapped stones technique mainly for irregular shaped stones.
The first step is cutting a groove along the perimeter of the stone. It is a lot easier than piercing a hole. The burs and drills sold on the amateur jewelry maker’s market are simply too weak for many of the gemstones, while the cutting discs (even those without diamond coating) do their job quite well. Of course the stone has to be thick and strong enough for such groove cutting. Some stones break during cutting, especially the stones with layered structure, such as falcon’s eye.
After the groove has been cut, a sterling silver wire has to be chosen. The best diameter is 0,7 – 0,8 mm. The wire of this diameter is strong and flexible enough. The wire can be decorated, like this one shown on the above picture. Of course all soldering and other “hot work” have to be done prior to stone wrapping.
Then the wire is laid into the groove and wrapped tight around the stone. If the wrapping is good, no glue is necessary. However in some cases I add just a drop of two-component epoxy glue for extra security.
The wire wrapping technique allows to make “light” pendants – not only in terms of weight, but also in terms of price. A minimum quantity of silver is used to hold the stone – and to show its unique beauty in the best possible way.