Daily Wire Tip: Wire Wrapping Large Cabochons

By on January 24, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


I have several stones that I bought before I found out about wire wrapping. They are considerably bigger than the cabs that you use to show us to wrap with, about 30mm x 30mm or larger. Can one wrap these without them looking gaudy?

-Linda in Sherman, Texas


Really Linda, I don’t think any stone is too big to make into jewelry, as there is a customer for every size and style. Besides, larger stones are always easier to work with.

A lot of wire jewelry pendants are made using 30x40mm cabochons, as well as the centerpieces of bracelets and necklaces. The only issue I personally have with size, is when a cab is really thick–because it takes a lot of wire to set it, and today’s economy doesn’t want to recover the materials cost. (Truthfully, one custom agate cab that I am presently working with is a whopping 80 x 25mm!)

If large things seem gaudy to you, find a clean, simple design that looks good to you, and go for it!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Ginni Tutterow

    January 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

    A jewelry friend of mine always says “Gaud is good!”

    • avatar


      January 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Love this! hahahaha

  2. avatar


    January 25, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I once thought large was gaudy until I saw women buying large at shows and now I have added larger pieces…as Dale said there are people out there that wear large..and pretty doesn’t have a size..(this comes from a plus size lady)..

  3. avatar

    chris hurd

    January 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I agree with Dale, no stone is too big. I tell people I’ll wrap a Volkswagon bug if they will buy the wire. Seriously, I’m five feet tall and some of my largest pendants sell quickly when I wear them. I love it when someone from across the room comes over to admire my jewelry. Rock on, big rocks!

  4. avatar

    Llewellyn Alspach

    January 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I personally enjoy making and wearing large freeform wire wrapped pendants. My husband calls them gaudy but I see them as beautiful. The thing that I do to make them look beautiful is put them on a chain that positions them higher on the chest, not dangling them below the breast line. I have a very heavy gold chain that works well with large pieces. Some sizes I have made are an awesome Brazilian agate slab 62X62mm, a crazy lace 105X20mm and another agate 90X45mm. The crazy lace pendant draws raves every time I wear it. I am not a huge woman either, so don’t feel size matters much. I say enjoy the large ones also. Watch what people wear on TV, they make mine look small. One lady in our rock club corrected my husband by saying “It is not gaudy, it is a large piece.”

  5. avatar

    Aud Brunson

    June 12, 2011 at 6:15 am

    In response to your comments about using jewelry as camouflage, I personally have a grand wrist band that hides my rose tattoo when I need to go to “official/upscale” functions. Nobody knows different.

  6. avatar


    January 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I recently had a customer say to me that I needed to make large AND small pieces, because people come in all sizes and all kinds of tastes. I agree.

  7. avatar


    January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I’ve noticed that many stars on the Red Carpet are wearing big and bold jewelry. I love it. Make a statement when you walk into a room.

  8. avatar


    January 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I am glad to see you ladies thinking this way. Let’s be honest, not all women come in one basic size and for a good many years the plus size lady as well as the amazon tall ladies have been ignored.
    There is nothing gaudy about jewelry made for those of us who don’t fit the “mold” the fashion industry keeps trying to stuff us into.
    We come in all different sizes and we each have our own sense of inner security to go by. If you like big and bold then go with it. If you have customers who love the look then keep on catering to them.

    Scrimshaw Mary

  9. avatar


    January 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I am short and chubby and I feel that larger jewelry looks better on me. I really think that some of the ‘common wisdom’ on not wearing certain things if you are plus size, only applies if you are maybe 10-15 lbs heavier. I would rather have folks LOOK at my jewelry, rather than me. I sell a lot of large, statement necklaces. About the only ladies that they don’t work well on, are small framed, petite ladies.

  10. avatar

    Jim Harkins

    January 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    What’s that old saying about “the eye of the beholder”? Small or large, it can be beautiful to someone. Back in the day (Here comes the old codger again!) I used to work with small stones — and got plenty of sales. The fingers don’t work so well lately, so I work with larger cabs, up to 30×40 or so — and the sales haven’t dropped. I only have one caveat about wrapping stones, though: sometimes people get so carried away with their wire-wrapping ability that smaller stones can be overwhelmed by the intricacy of the wire-work; don’t bury the beauty of a small cab in a maze of wire!

  11. avatar

    Robin Burns

    January 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I’d been avoiding very large cabs until reading this thread! Now I’m looking for them. . .Thanks, everyone!

  12. avatar


    April 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I agree that sometimes, on “overwired” cabs, the beauty of the stone is lost. Whether large or small consider the special features of the stone when wrapping. Personally, I love all sizes; depends on your project — ring, bracelet, pendant, earrings. Just have fun with wrapping!

  13. avatar


    May 29, 2012 at 9:21 am

    It’s not how big it is…it’s how you wear it! Sometimes bigger is better…diamonds, jewelry, houses :)~ I love the large cabs when they are by themselves beautifully wrapped.

  14. avatar


    July 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Dale, you are the best

  15. avatar

    Peggy Powers

    October 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Everything has it’s place. For me in jewelry…the bigger is better. It’s up to each person’s taste. I haven’t gotten to working with cabs yet, but from the looks of it the larger cabs look easier to work with. I have to agree with John’s advice regarding overwhelming the smaller cabs. I’ve seen so many that are lost in the wire.

  16. avatar


    June 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Linda, I live in Sherman, tx too. Small world! I prefer wrapping larger cabs…they are easier to handle. Just when I think I don’t like it, it’s too big, etc…it sells. Gaudy is good for some…have to try and hit all audiences.

  17. avatar


    June 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I agree the only gaudy I think are the big plastic cheap mass produced pieces that you can buy at retail discount stores. Real stones or beautiful hand made glass sets are elegant, especially when they are made in the USA… :-)

  18. avatar


    August 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    A lady once said to me: “Go big or go home!” Love it!

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