Wire wrapping

Published On: 11-11-2011 01:35pm

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You may have noticed that my jewelry design differs from other handmade jewelry you have seen.  I prefer the look of wire wrapped designs verses strung designs.  The wire wrapping puts more emphasis on the metal portion of the design.  I use wire to attach the gemstones together.


To make wire wraps loops I use round nose and chain nose (flat tapered jaws) pliers.  I made a loop and then wrap the tail of the wire around itself.  This create a very strong connection that will not break under normal and even rough wear and tear.  You can spot the difference between a wire wrapped piece and a strung piece by looking for wraps between the gemstones or beads.  A strung piece will have beads butting up to one another.  A wire wrapped design includes a lot of labor to wrap each gem but I prefer the look.   In some pieces I go beyond the wrapped loop and use wire wrap as a design element.  In these cases I will make a shape with wire and then wrap the shape with wire creating a design with depth and substance.


Wire comes in a variety of thickness called gauges as well as different shapes such as round, square, and half round.  Wire also comes in all types of metal.  Copper, Gold Filled, stainless, aluminum, pure silver, and sterling silver to name a few.  I work with Sterling silver and gold filled wire.   Wire can be colored by a coating or by a chemical process.  Wire also can be soft, half hard, or full hard.  This refers to the ability to bend the wire.  When a wire becomes too hard to bend then it can be heated or annealed to restore softness.  I typically work with soft wire for thicker gauges and half hard for thinner gauges.  As the wire is manulipated it will become harder and harder so that the jewelry becomes durable.


Check out these pieces for great examples of wire wrapping. Labordite wire wrapped bow earrings are an example of wire wrapping as a design elements.  For an example of wire wrapping you can check out Peridot and crystal quartz bracelet.



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