Daily Wire Tip Sept. 16: Traditional Gemstone Pendant Wrapping

By on September 15, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
September 16, 2010


When wrapping gemstones, I put the flat side to the front, and the more faceted, “pointy” side toward the back, next to the body. My friend was admiring my work and suggested that they should be reversed to increase the brilliance and not scratch the wearer. I think she is mistaken as I have never seen them done that way. Please tell me the correct way. Thanks!

-Betty in Jack, Mississippi


Your description makes me smile, Betty. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

That pointy part is called a culet, and the top of the stone is called a table (see below). Traditionally, the culet is the back of the stone, and therefore made as the back of most pendants. To prevent this “point” from scratching skin, the frame needs to go from the top of the stone all the way down to the culet.

An example of how to execute this would be to make the frame, and then push the side frame wires in (about 1/3 of the way toward the back) to hold the bottom of the stone in the frame.

Personally, I have a few stones that have been buff cut, meaning that the top is not faceted, but rounded, and I actually do set them upside-down, culet up. As the designer, the choice is yours!

P.S.: I know it’s not out yet, but good examples of these type of settings are in the upcoming Advanced DVD Series!

Gemstone Terms Chart

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    September 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Sometimes, doing things in a way that you haven’t seen before is a GOOD thing! Innovation helps sell goods, especially in the jewelry world. Do a couple of pendants in the way your friend suggested, and see if you attract any new customers!

  2. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth

    September 17, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I am sooooo looking forward to the advanced series dvd’s even though I have yet to finish consuming the intermediate series!

    Betty, you would really love the direction Dale gives in her beginner series on Rings. There are several designs that offer options for developing settings around stones set in castings prior to putting them into designs. Welcome to the fantastic world of wire twisting!

  3. avatar


    September 17, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    This is great info. I have several sea glass pieces with the same culet on them. I was considering the best way to mount them. I was thinking of framing like Dale does a cabochon.

    I believe the stone would be beautiful either way. From what Dale says it may be less work to place the culet up. Do what says, “Yes”, to you. You are the artist, it has to please your eye. Keep wrapping!

  4. avatar

    Dan Dutton

    September 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Dale is correct with her illustration. As a facetor, one always mounts the “Pavilion” down. The light factor for Brilliance comes from the pavilion, but light must come through the table of the stone. This is why the table is always positioned in the “up” position.

    I look forward to your advanced DVD Dale on your technique of wire wrapping such stones.. :O) Thank you. Good question Betty.

    Dan in River Falls, Wisc.

    • avatar


      September 21, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Dan – they are coming very soon. Thanks!