Daily Wire Tip July 18: Wire Wrapping a Briolette

By on July 17, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
July 18, 2011


My question is about how to hang or wrap faceted crystal briolettes that have a hole across the top. I have ruined so many of them when trying to insert a pinch bail, and even when trying to wire wrap them. Some of them are so fragile!

Besides crystals, I currently have one lot of vintage turquoise briolettes, and 2 lots of vintage quartz crystal briolettes, and I’ve already cracked the tops off of 2 of 4 that I’ve worked with. I’ve also had a problem with some moonstone nugget drops, where I cracked about 1/3 of the tops off. Do you have any tips for hanging these … besides being as careful as humanly possible?

-Sheryl in Eagan, Minnesota


I know exactly what you mean Sheryl. Briolette beads are so elegant but some are really fragile! There are several ways to wire wrap a briolette, each depends on the look and the use of the bead. I did an Internet search using the phrase "wire wrapping briolette" and found several free tutorials as well as videos.

The easiest way I know of is to use thin round wire and chain. (Now I know that I am not supposed to link our Free Email Patterns to my Daily Tip answers, but without doing so I cannot explain this particular technique.) If you follow this link, Briolette Earrings Free Pattern, you will discover how easy my technique is!

The main thing to remember is that when you are making any bends on the wire inside a briolette, concentrate on putting any pressure down toward the bottom of the hole where the bead is thickest.

Wire Wrapped Briolettes by Mint Schlief
Here's another way to wrap briolettes: Take 26-gauge round dead soft wire., insert the wire through the hole, and carefully bend the wire up each side of the bead with your fingers. These briolette earrings are by Mint Schlief (see her comment below for full details).

If you don’t ready receive our Free Email Patterns, I really recommend that you sign up for them here: Free Jewelry Patterns by Email. The Wire-Sculpture Faculty and I work hard to bring you both simple and more complex Traditional Wire Jewelry Designs all based on important techniques.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    July 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Dale, the pattern is great and I have used one similar…but if you are wrapping the briolette what size round wire..I have used 26ga but the loop on top seems a bit flimsy..have broken a few tops off and have been shying away from using them…

    • avatar


      July 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Well Margaret, it really depends on the size of the hole in the briolette you wish to use. I try to use 21g round wire whenever possible, but I have had to use 24g round. I always have a 2-inch piece of my favorite wires in my wallet (22 sq, 21 and 20 round) all the time – this way when I am shopping for beads in person, I can check the holes before I buy. Unfortunately when you purchase on line or through a catalog, it is almost impossible to really be sure of the hole size (even if the product description includes the “supposed” hole size) because of the way beads are most often drilled. As we all know, they can have a good sized hole at each end and barely any opening in the center because they are sometimes drilled from both ends that do not always meet in the middle. And because drill bits are tapered, if they do meet, the center of the hole is much smaller than the beginnings (at the ends we can see).

  2. avatar

    Mint Schlief

    July 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I have wrapped Briolettes using 26 gauge dead soft round wire fairly successfully by inserting the wire through the hole and carefully bending the wire up each side of the bead with my fingers trying to get a crisp bend with a little “play” on each side of the bead to prevent putting pressure on the bead itself. When the wires cross at the top of the bead I wrap 1 end around the other wire neatly about 2 + times starting close to the point of the bead. Then trim this wire and press close with chain nose pliers. With the remaining wire make the traditional loop for hanging, twisting the wire down to the end of the first wrapped wire. I have also wrapped this second wire over the first set of wraps when I want keep the space as short as possible (if it doesn’t get too bulky). Good Luck!

    • avatar


      July 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

      Cool Mint – would you be kind enough to send me a photo that we can add to this post? Thanks!! Cgr

  3. avatar


    July 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Dale, Thank you so much for the tips, and for sharing the wrapped briolette pattern. I love it, and am going to try it out today!

    And btw, your blog is my favorite. Your ideas are always fresh and original … not the same-old that you see everywhere else. Thank you again! Sheryl

  4. avatar


    July 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    never thought about taking the wire with me on shopping trips…another great point…also the fact of the middle being smaller..that might lead to a break….

  5. avatar


    July 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I find that some of your free projects are ones that you could find any where.Not to challenging. A bit more complicated would present newbies a want to learn more. Even for ones like myself it would be nice to see some free projects that look intricate and fun to do.

    • avatar


      July 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Hello Maria, do you subscribe to our Free Wire Jewelry Pattern emails?? If so then you will see that we have many, many Intermediate and Advanced projects included! Remember that we are “technique” instructors and all of the Free patterns we offer our customers are meant to teach you how to execute and use certain techniques, with the hope that you will find other ways to use them (and many of our patterns include alteration suggestions within their introductions).