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Prong Set Cabochon - a Great New Alternative to Traditional Wiring

To Prong or Not to Prong
Part 2 of 2
If you check out my past post on how to wire wrap cabochons, you'll see that the final results are much the same with variations mainly in the number of wires and the end flourishes. I'm not very fond of this style of wire-wrapping and tried to come up with a significantly different approach with my copper pendant using just two main wires front and back with informal weavings on the edge.

So I delighted when I found out Susan Whalen, a fellow Canadian who reads this blog, shared my view. She wrote on her blog, Susanna Originals, "Sure, you can vary the wraps up the stone and everybody seems to have a signature way of swirling the left-over wire at the top, but it's still a beautiful gemstone with distracting swirlies." There had to be a better way and she found it. Shown here are her lovely amazonite and rhodonite necklaces whose pendants have been prong set using square wires. Just the ticket! Thanks Susan for letting me share the pictures here.

As you can see from the back pictures, the wire wrapping is hidden behind and cleverly incorporates the bail. The contemporary style does justice to the cabochons. 

She said she learned to make prong set cabochons in a book she bought from Amazon by Jim McIntosh Wiresmithing -The New Look Of Wire Art. I don't know about you but I am buying this book myself next! What Susan attempted involved no soldering but the book includes other instructional projects for soldering gorgeous frames for cabochons. Experienced wire workers can probably figure out for themselves how to do it!

Susan lives in Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island and picturesque one of rolling hills, green fields and red earth. This fair isle was the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables.

Susan is an example of a jewelry artisan who sells her jewelry in an unusual location ( check my past post about the floating jewelry store) - her very own rural Village Shop in Bedeque.


She said in an email to me, "My store has a little bit of everything but is famous for our ice cream. Opinion of the summer people is that our Scotsburn ice cream tastes much better than Cows and the size of the servings is amazing.  We sell literally thousands of ice cream from Easter to October.

I keep a four-tier jewelry display on the front counter and it doesn't hold too much, but that's a good thing in a way. Sometimes if you overwhelm people with too much choice, they won't buy anything. This small display allows me to showcase pieces and listen to comments.If a piece has been out too long without comment, it is replaced and I take a good look at it to decide if it needs redesigning."

How does Susan do in her rural location? Well, when I asked her if she had an online store I could link to, she said all she had was her blog. She added, "Someday, if and when I sell my store, I will concentrate on web sales, but right now I have trouble keeping my little jewelry display in the store filled. Which, I suppose, is a good problem. Unfortunately, my ordering far exceeds my production and sales lately." Sound familiar?
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 


  1. This is a great post. I am enamored with wire wrapping, and have some fused glass pieces I think will look great using this technique. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Great idea! I think for those heavier pendants this technique would be fantastic, since it would seem to more complement the pendant size. Thanks for sharing Pearl!

    And BTW -I'm back! The fourteen days of hearts & love is over and I'm enjoying the "new freedom". :-)


  3. I really like this technique. Pearl - I checked both Chapters and Amazon online but couldn't find the book. When you buy it - can you share your source?

  4. Yes, you are right, Amy. This technique is not just for gemstones

    Welcome back Stephanie!!

    Willi, click on the link and that should take you to the Amazon site. You may have to purchase it on the US site if the Canadian Amazon doesn't have it.

  5. Hi Pearl,
    Thank you so much for that lovely post. Those people who are interested in the Wiresmithing book can also go to his website,
    where you can order a hard copy of the book or order it online.

  6. You're welcome Susan and thank you for yet another hint on where to get the book.

  7. Wonderful post and a great book. Excellent looking cabs. I've been working with prong settings for a while and love doing them. Happy I found this post.

  8. These are gorgeous! I must say, though, I am one who loves those swirls of wire, etc. I'm so impressed by how 'technically' beautiful the backs of these look... good enough, I think, to consider the necklace 'reversible' for a total change of look. I so wish I was more of a natural with wirework as I LOVE it but am intimidated by it and struggle with making designs look 'neat', minimizing tool marks, etc. Guess I need to shore up (sure up?) my determination and keep learning and practicing. So glad to have TBGJ to help me. So great to have well-chosen tutorials to access here, rather than searching aimlessly through YouTube, etc. You give us so much value... so generously... and I thank you SO much!

  9. I loved this posting and I am sorry I found it this late! My take on it is a little different. I made a removal pendant top and added an open loop at the bottom so that a beaded dangle could be added. The prongs are holding a "penny" sized copper disc that I cold forged with a ball pein hammer to make a pretty texture.

  10. A removal pendant top is a brilliant idea! And so is adding the bit for dangles. Thanks for sharing!


You're AWESOME! Thanks for the comment and feedback. You do make a difference on my blog!

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