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Cabochon Wire Work - Border Wire Wrapping Tips

Fire Agate and Sunstone Necklace from Szarka's blog
Most wire work artisans prefer to wire wrap cabochons using square wire and half-round wire. Square wire has flat sides so multiple lengths will butt against each other better than round wire.

However, using square wire to wrap these lengths together is tricky because the square wire can twist. Round wire is not easier either as it's harder to get a firm wrap when much of the wire is not going to be in contact with what you are wrapping. So many artisans use half-round wire where the flat side lies on the group of square wire lengths.

Square and half round wire cross sections
Square wire for the border of cabochons gives a distinctive look of its own to wire wrapped designs. If you don't like this look, it is possible to use round wire. Watch this video by Szarka of Magpie Gemstones and Szarka' where she shows how to keep a group of round wire lengths butted together i.e. flat. She also includes her tips on how to make neat wraps. Note that she still uses half round wire for the wrapping.

More Wire wrapping Tutorials :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 


  1. Thanks for this wonderful link. Szarka makes beautiful jewelry and her beads are wonderful.
    Thanks Pearl, as always a very helpful and interesting link.

  2. Hi, Pearl!

    When I was first starting in this wire addiction I had no easy (make that affordable) access to different shapes of wire. In my country I can only find round wire. Did that stop me? NO!
    I do all my wire wrapping with round wire and I always did it. I often wondered how in the world did all those wonderful wire artists out there managed to hold the wire together and freakin' keep it there to wrap! LOL
    Nowadays, I can do it too, I love to do it and I have tons of fun doing it! (Best advice I ever got: practice, practice, practice!)
    So... It might be easier with square and half-round wire, but (I never tried it) it's not that hard with all round wire anymore and I keep my first ever wire wrapped cab on my work table just as a reminder of how much better I got at it.

    BTW, I love Szarka's sites, she's so talented!

    DeCris Creations - Blog

    DeCris Creations on Artfire

  3. Yes, she has wonderful gemstones and is a wire work whiz. Thanks, Cris for the encouragement on using round wire. I totally agree with the advice about practice!

  4. I took a class in cab wrapped in the first few months of my jewelry career and quickly learned a few new naughty words. I am NO good at it.

    I also learned last year how incredible some people are at mastering the difficulties of slippery rounded sides when I had a master craftsman wrap a kyanite piece for me. Holy smokes. I had no idea how difficult the degree of rounding made on the wrap.

    My hats off to all you wrappers!

  5. Thanks for the cab wrapping information. I love the gemstones and cabs I get from Szarka at Magpie Gemstones.

  6. Szarka has a lot of good info and tuts at her site, plus the beads and gems you can get.

    I prefer the look of round wire. I think it particularly compliments the organic look of patterned stones such as agates, with the round and flowing patterns. It's easier for me to work with too.

  7. Wow, that necklace is to die for! I love fire agate, I think it maybe my favorite stone. Wire wrapping can be tricky...

  8. Thanks Pearl for the link. Wire has it's own little quirks and the more little tips and tricks that one can learn about it, the better. Szarka's work is beautiful! One day I hope to be able to wire wrap as well as her!

  9. Great link! I am so in awe of Szarka's abilities to make such gorgeous jewelry and her stones are to die for.

  10. I have great admiration for the wire artist, it takes patience, strong fingernails, and a will of iron to make those wires go where you want and do what you want them to. Szarka has some pretty amazing fingernails so I'm willing to bet she also has infinite patience and the determination to command control over those precious but wily wires. Her work is certainly inspiring.


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