Daily Wire Tip May 19: Making Wire Jewelry with Crystals

By on May 18, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
May 19, 2011

Question:

I was wondering if the insides of a geode can be used in jewelry or will the crystals just crumble apart? Thanks!

-Cindy in Lake Station, Indiana

Answer:

Well Cindy, using the crystal formations inside a geode to make jewelry with really depends on the crystals. (Of course, another way to use these crystals is as cut druzy cabochons.)

Quartz Crystals in Raw Geodes
Quartz Crystals in Geodes

Most quartz crystals are pretty stable (including amethyst, citrine, etc) and small botryoidal formations (like azurite, malachite and chrysocolla) are good because even though they are a softer material they are rounded and compact.

Azurite Crystals
Azurite Crystals

When we see lovely, feathery crystals of more delicate minerals such as the zeolite natrolite, in my opinion specimens such as these are way too fragile to consider using in jewelry making of any type!

One suggestion, with regards to how to make crystal clusters into wire jewelry, is to use a minimal amount of wire so the focus remains on the featured material. In the picture below, you see a silver-dollar sized amethyst crystal cluster made into a pendant I titled Vineyard Harvest. The cluster reminded me of grapes, so I mixed half hard and dead soft 20-gauge square wire for the simple frame (carefully entwining the softer wire between crystals) and accented it with Bali silver leaf beads. (The modified frame is based on my Anything Pendant Harness.)

Vineyard Harvest by Dale Cougar Armstrong
Vineyard Harvest by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

Of course, you also should take into consideration the back of the crystal cluster, the geode matrix. If it is very rough you may want to make a woven, open mat-style frame from round or square wire for the back first (or crochet the backing) and then attach the cluster as described above.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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7 Comments

  1. avatar

    Sandra Hyett

    May 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Dale, I love your Vineyard Harvest. Can you use the dead soft wire in the bail or does it need to be made with half hard?

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      May 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Thank-you Sandra – by following my suggestions, the soft wire is in the middle of the bundle and ends up in the middle of the bail with the half-hard wire being the outside bail wires for strength. The soft wire is what is formed over the crystals and the half hard makes the grapevine tendrils at the top.

  2. avatar

    Lee Butera

    May 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Thank you, Dale, for explaining what to consider when incorporating a geode into a piece. I have a 1 to 1 1/2 inch geode which is a hemisphere. I also did not know if it should be broken or not. I will try to wrap it into a “harness” type frame and think it will look lovely!

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      May 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      You are welcome Lee – I am sure the piece will be lovely!

  3. avatar

    Cindy

    May 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Dale, Thank you so much for your in depth answer! You always go above and beyond! Love your cluster it’s beautiful! I had bought a set of geodes from ws and planned on using them as props in photographing my jewelry but after finally breaking one open last week, I saw how sparkly and beautiful it was inside that I just HAD to ask this question!!!! Thank you also for the wrapping tip! Less wire is definitely more with this! Now I will have to research the process of creating druzy cabs even though I will probably stick to the rough material. Will tumbling them make them more solid? From props to jewelry lol I love it! Thanks so much!

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      May 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Cindy – I am so pleased that you understand this simple process (with the harness, that is). Please do NOT put your crystal clusters in a tumbler!! The tumbling process can not only ’round’ off the beautiful crystal tips, but it can also cause the cluster to break apart!

  4. avatar

    Lily

    April 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    To make beaded gems utilizing wire, you will require a tool to cut the wire, a needle nose forceps, and the beads/globules! Jewelry wire is just plain wire before it transforms into valuable gems. In any case, you have to know your raw material. If you wish to create your own jewelry, wire jewelry is something that you can make on your own for many purposes like, earrings, nose rings, bracelet, anklets, and so on.

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