How to Wire Wrap Undrilled Stones

Written by megan shoop
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Many jewellery-makers use semi-precious stones in their projects. Semi-precious stones are much less expensive than precious stones and sturdier than glass. Stones come in thousands of shapes, colours and sizes. Some are dyed, but more come with their own natural colour and sparkle. Some stones come carved and drilled, ready to be strung or woven into a piece. Others are tumbled and shaped but left undrilled; these are called cabochons. You could drill these stones, but you may break them. A less risky way to use them is to wire-wrap them.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Cabochons
  • 20 gauge wire
  • Wire snips
  • Jewellery pliers
  • Dowel rods
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Measure the thickness and perimeter of your cabochon. Snip four to six wires about twice the length of the perimeter.

  2. 2

    Lay the wire lengths side-by-side and measure their width. The width of the wires should match the width of your cabochon. If not, cut more wire or take away some wire as necessary. These are the A wires.

  3. 3

    Snip three or four wires four times the thickness of the cabochon. These are the B wires.

  4. 4

    Wrap these wires at even intervals around the A wires so that the A wires lay flat and tight together. This is your wire setting.

  5. 5

    Center your cabochon against the wire setting and wrap it up around the sides of the cabochon. Grip the top A wire in the setting and pull gently so the wire forms an angle that grips your cabochon. Do this to each length of A wire between the B wires. This forms a cage around the edges of the stone to hold it in place.

  6. 6

    Twist the two front lengths of wire at the top of the cabochon together and bend them down toward the front of the stone, forming a loop. This is the loop for the string.

  7. 7

    Bend the remaining wires at the top of the cabochon toward the back of the stone, pressing them against the surface. They will hold the stone in place from the back.

Tips and warnings

  • Pick small stones, the size of your thumbnail or smaller, if you plan to string many stones on a necklace or if you're making earrings. Choose quarter-sized stones or larger for pendants.
  • Wrap cabochons around the edges only.

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