Tips for Wire Wrapping a Cameo

By on September 26, 2014
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by Judy Ellis,

Wire Jewelry Making tip for September 26, 2014

Tips for Wire Wrapping a Cameo

We have so many great tips on our blog that sometimes it hard to choose what to tell you about – but today I ‘d like to answer a question from one of our subscribers.

Question: I would like to make a cameo wrapped in wire. Can you give some instruction on how its done?

Yes, we’d love to help out with that but first, I thought you might like a little history.

A Little Bit about Cameos:

Jewelry Cameos add an unmistakable elegance and mystique to jewelry. Cameos have been a popular jewelry component for thousands of years, with examples discovered from Ancient Greece and Rome.

The  Antique Cameo, in the photo above, depicts the subject AURORA, Greek goddess of the Dawn as she leads the sun God Apollo on his chariot at break of day, in bringing daylight into the world.

The metal surrounding the cameo will not be quickly forgotten either, drawing us into the cameo subject itself through an oval window  of foliate leaves alternating with pinecones.

Duplicated on the front of the Antique cameo is a famous scene from ancient Greek mythology that can be seen on the ceiling fresco  in the “Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi” in Rome, on the Quirinal Hill. This monumental work,  by Guido Reni, was completed in 1613-1614. It measures 280 cm (110 inch) x 700 cm (275 inch). The palace was built by the Borghese family.

Cameos have been used as signet rings, jewels of emperors, and ornaments of royalty and clergy through the Renaissance. Although interest in cameos waned in the years after the Renaissance, Queen Victoria re popularized the beautiful jewelry piece, through her use of them in her personal jewelry and gifts to friends and important figures.

Queen Victoria

Let’s take a look at how to wrap a Cameo:


A very simple pendant frame, to protect the edges and show off the cameo, can be made by using the same methods that you would use to wrap a cabochon. A lot of cameos can be rather thin and care needs to be taken when framing one.

  • Make the frame bundle as usual, but do the shaping around an item of the same shape and size (like a cabochon) as well as the main bends for the bail.
  • Then tape the top/bail sections together and begin the top wrap.
  • Now, make the necessary pulls on the front of the frame that will hold the cameo in, working ‘off the stone’.
  • Insert the cameo and then make the necessary pulls on the backside.
  • Finish the bail and embellish as desired.

Let’s take a look at a few types of Cameos that we have available.

If you’d like to learn more about wrapping a cameo or any other pendants, take a look at some of our Instructional DVDS.

Happy Wrapping!

Antique Cameo Jewelry

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  1. avatar

    Frances Lediaev

    September 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I love to sculpt wire around cameos! It can be as simple as the bundle you describe or when sculpting with the wire, you will be pleasantly surprised when it takes on a life of its own. You can see my piece I sculpted with copper wire here:

  2. avatar

    Curtis Kennedy

    September 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I have noticed that their are no black (Afro American) Cameos, I have wanted to create some that will sell like hot cakes because you don’t see them or can’t find them. Therefore I have been looking for info on how to make them. Can you help me or direct me in the right direction.

    Curtis Kennedy