Wire-Wrapping Techniques for Tumbled Stones

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Some tumbled stones may be so thick that it's difficult to drill a hole for a jump ring, which connects the stone to a jewelry cord or chain. These stones are ideal for wire-wrapping techniques, which involve wrapping pliable wire cord around a stone to make a connecting point for securing to necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Wire wrapping is also considered a decorative element, and some jewelry makers choose wire wrapping even when stones have drilled holes.

Tools

  • The only tools absolutely necessary for wire wrapping tumbled stones are wire cutters and chain-nose pliers. Many jewelry pliers, including chain-nose pliers, have built-in cutters capable of cutting all wire strengths: dead-soft, half-hard and full-hard. Sharp scissors are suitable for cutting dead-soft and some half-hard wires, but the clipped end may not be as smooth as if it were cut with a wire cutter. Chain-nose pliers are helpful for creating loops and wrapped loops because their jaws are round and free of serrated teeth. Smooth plier jaws also allow you to grip wire without leaving impressions.

Seamless Wrapping

  • A seamless wrap starts at the stone’s bottom and spirals upward in a continuous manner. This technique works well on narrow stones and crystal points because the stone’s long shape accommodates a wire snugly. Create a wrapped wire cap for the bottom of the stone, which prevents the stone from slipping out of the wire wrap. A wire cap is a series of closely wrapped wires that starts at the very tip of the stone. Tightly wrapping the cap is vital to keeping the stone in place. After creating the wire cap, space out the wraps along the length of the stone so it's visible in between the wire, and top off the stone with another tightly wound wire cap. Bend the remaining wire over chain-noise pliers to construct a loop for stringing jewelry cord above the top wire cap.

Cross Wrapping

  • Cross wrapping round and semi-round stones encases them in a secure, net-like binding. Hold one end of the wire to the stone and tightly wrap the remaining wire around the stone in a variety of directions. Wrapping the wire around the stone a few times secures the first end of the wire, so you no longer need to hold it down. Stop wrapping when you reach a point where you want the stone connected to jewelry cord and make a wrapped loop.

Decorative Wrapping

  • Decorative wire wrapping gives you the opportunity to shape a piece of wire and display it over stone so the stone acts as the backdrop. Sculpt a small design from one end of a strip of wire and leave the rest of the unused wire attached to the image. Do not make the design larger than the stone. Lay the design flat on one side of the stone and wrap the rest of the connecting wire around different parts of the stone without overlapping the wire sculpture. Create a wrapped loop at the top of the stone above the wire design.

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