Free shipping on US orders over $80.

Wire Wrapped Petrified Palm Root Stone Pendant

Wire Wrapping Setup

March 3, 2018

Work Area for Wire Wrapping a Stone PendantWhen wire wrapping, it is best to have the proper supplies ready to go. It is also very important to layout your work area in a clear and organized fashion with lots of work space. There is nothing worse than running around to find missing tools and supplies. Also, if you think that you will be interrupted, it is best to work in an area where you can leave your project out and later, pick right up where you left off. This will help you work in a less rushed and more comfortable atmosphere. It will show in the quality of your work. 


Wire Wrapping Supplies

There are two main supplies used in wire wrapping. The first is the cabochon. This is the stone used as the focal point of your pendant. Wikipedia defines cabochon as, "A cabochon, from the Middle French word cabochon, is a gemstone which has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. The resulting form is usually a convex obverse with a flat reverse."

Other materials beside stone, can be wire wrapped as well. Your imagination can come up with some interesting items such as coins, glass, or ceramics.

Next is the wire. Wire has many considerations; material, thickness (also known as gauge), shape, hardness, and finish. Keep in mind that for basic wire wrapping, there are two types of wire used. One is the main architectural wire, while the other is used for binding the various wires together.


You can use simple copper wire, fancy spiral silver wire, or even gold. You can use a solid material, plated , or filled wire. Cost and how the material looks with your stone are the two main considerations. Another is the fact that most metals tarnish. Tarnish can help increase the attractiveness if your piece, or over time, can wreck the beauty of your pendant.


Thickness is important as it provides strength as well as a major visual appeal to your pendant. Too thick and it will over power the look of your piece. Too thin and it will not provide the proper support. Balancing the thickness with the needs of the piece is important. The main wire is usually thicker than the binding wire. The binding wire is usually a minimal piece that hides more than it shows. When the term gauge is used, it means thickness. Gauge is a system where a higher number, means a thinner wire. a lower number means a thicker wire.


Wire comes in various shapes. The two most common are round and square. In addition, half round, spiral, and others are available. For basic wire wrapping, square is used for the main structural wire, while half-round is used for the bindings. These are the small tight wraps that hold the main wire together in various strategic places around the piece.

One neat trick is that square wire can easily Pin vise used to help twist square wire into a spiral wirebe twisted using a pin vise into a nice spiral. The more it is twisted, the tighter the spirals will be. You have control to make it look the way your piece requires. Keep in mind that twisting the wire, will work harden it. This is discussed in the next section on hardness.


Most jewelry wire comes in various harnesses; soft, half hard, and hard, each being progressively more rigid. Soft is good if the wire is going to be manipulated a great deal. It could remain too soft for many pieces if it only has a few bends. Most of my work is using half hard. This gives a rigid wire with the ability to be manipulated just enough without breaking. Hard is fairly rigid and does not allow much bending or manipulating. The key to wire hardness is the fact that as wire is worked, it becomes work hardened. Selecting the wrong wire hardness could cause issue in the creation of your wire wrapped stone pendant.


The wire finish can vary from shinny to satin to matte and in some cases even a very coarsely finished wire. The considerations are look and how the wire may affect other elements, such as the stone or how it touches the body where worn. Also keep in mind that different metals and different finishes may tarnish in various ways. Some for the better and some for the worse. Be sure to know the tarnishing attributes of the metal and finish you are working with.


Wire Wrapping Process

Start by selecting the cabochon that you wish to create a pendant from.

Selecting the Stone

Petrified Palm Root Cabochon used for wire wrapping

Once the stone is selected, you begin by wrapping it in thin quilter's masking tape. This is used to measure the outside of the stone, as well as to mark where the bindings will go.

Cutting the Wire

Use the marks on the masking tape to determine the outside length of the stone. You will cut the wire longer. The extra length depends on the type of bail you will be making, as well as any flourishes or embellishments. The number of wires used will be determined by the thickness of the stone as well as the gauge of wires used.

Binding the Wire

Binding the wire together  Shaping the wire to the stoneThe cut wires are organized together and then bound at the key points you you identified earlier. The half round wire is wrapped tightly around the group structural wires. The flat side goes against the wires, while the half round side faces out. It is important to lay each wrap of the half round binding wires right up against the previous wrap so that each binding is tight and does not show the underlying structural wires. Also make sure that all cut ends for the start and end of each binding are n the inside and that all bindings start and stop on the same side.

Holding the Stone

Binding the top with phone wire to hold it together. Now, you have a long group of wires with multiple bindings.  Start to shape this around the stone. Use round projects such as pill bottle to help make the needed curves. Since they stick up more than the stone, it is often a bit more stable and easier to work with. At the top of the piece, be sure to bend the remaining overhang a bit back so that you can bring the wire right up to the top against the stone. You then wrap off the top with a small piece of wire, such as phone wire. The purpose of this is to hold the wire together as you secure the top connection with a piece of the main metal wire.

Forming the Back Support

Creating the back supports of the piece.Now that the top is bound together securely, the back supports are bent out. It is important to always start from the bottom of the piece. This allows any extra material needed to be pulled in from the top and not misshape the piece.

This is the side that will be up against the body or a shirt. Be sure that the back is smooth and free from snags or sharp edges. If the piece is reversible, make sure to take this into account. Many stones have beautiful front and back, so displaying either adds more usefulness for the piece. Next pop the stone in. It should fit snugly into its new wire cradle. Keep in mind that softer stones could scratch in this step. Be sure to go slow and protect your piece.


Forming the Front Support

Now with the stone in and the front still ope, start binding the outer support wire to hold the stone in place. Start with the bottom center again and work your way outwards and towards the top. This ensures that any needed slack is pulled from the top bail portion of the wire.

Embellishing the Bail Area

Now with the stone securely in place with a finished back and front, the remaining area is the bail. For a simple looped bail, you separate the wires. They will fall into several functions; those for bail, those for embellishments like loops/arches/swirls, and one to secure the bails.There are several different types of bails such as loops or braided. Each type will have its own length requirement.

Finished Wire Wrapped Stone Pendant

Once completed, your pendant can provide years of wear with elegant beauty.

Silver wire wrapped petrified palm root