Daily Wire Tip Dec. 8: Wire Wrapping Thick Stones with Little Girdles

By on December 7, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
December 8, 2010


Hi, I seem to have the opposite problem as some other wire workers – I like a stone with very little girdle. I find I can get away with only using 4 wires when the stone isn’t too thick – and with the price of sterling lately, the fewer the better. Do you have any tips on how to wrap a thick stone without adding a lot of extra frame wires? Thanks!

-Michelle in St. John’s, Newfoundland


I have two suggestions for you, Michelle.

  1. Add a piece of pattern wire to the center of the frame bundle;
  2. Use a harness, such as the one shown on the heart below, but change it just a bit. Instead of using just 2 wires, use 4 and bring the center 2 up across the front of the stone, and the other 2 on the sides as normal. Make the bail and embellish as desired.

Anything Pendant Harness

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth

    December 8, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Love the idea of the pattern wire in the center, especially since I just happen to have quite an assortment laying around!! You always have such extrordinary ideas Dale! Thanks!

  2. avatar


    December 8, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I love this idea! I like to wrap thicker stones and cabs without girdles, and this will definitely save me some silver!

  3. avatar

    Kathy Statton

    December 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

    It’s possible to use only 4 wires – the top and bottom wires must come up, at least slightly over the sides of the stone. With just 2 wires surrounding the bezel, your stone should be safe in this wrap.

  4. avatar


    December 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I did this once: I used one 16G DS round wire and two 20 gauge wires to wrap a cab around the edges with the 20G twisted inward to hold the cab in place. I pounded the 16G wire until it was flat and about the thickness of the 20G wires. It was roughly the width of two 20G wires. Pounding the wire hardened it to about half hard status. It worked well.

    • avatar


      December 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Folks – I have asked Diane to send me a photo of this design to share with you – patience please : )

  5. avatar

    Betty Reynolds

    December 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I learn something new everyday reading your tips of the day. So I read about using pattern wire, but I don’t know what that is. Please explain. Thank you so much, I so enjoy reading all the useful information available here.

  6. avatar

    Rick Dalzell

    December 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I prefer to use a side cutting bit on the spindle of a glass cutting machine to gouge a channel along the side of the stone. I then use a single wire to wrap. I add a wire at the top for a bail.

  7. avatar


    December 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    You can even wrap a stone with two wires using the border wrap technique. I’ve done that many times. I will usually beef up the square wire to 18 ga (20 ga for the half round) if the stone is thick. I’ve done that with snail shell beads inlaid with semi precious stones. The effect is very striking.