Daily Wire Tip: Wire Wrapping Curved Cameos

By on September 6, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


I have an Italian hand-cut shell cameo with a curved back. How do I wire wrap a cameo with a curved back? I have been able to wire wrap the cameos in Dale’s DVDs, but they have a flat back. Thank you.

-Barbara in Byhalia, Mississippi


Hello Barbara, I am pleased to hear that you enjoy my DVDs and have had success with the framed cabochon pendant! Yes, carved shell cameos can be scary, especially when you are new to the art and don’t want to damage such a lovely item, however you can frame it using the same process and formulas as you would a stone cab. Depending on how thin the cameo is, I would like to make a couple of construction suggestions for you to try.

First, mix your wire tempers! We know that we should never use less than 4 wires for a frame, so plan your frame bundle with a soft wire on each edge. When you make your frame, find a stone cabochon that is basically the same size and shape as the cameo and use it to form the actual frame, but make sure it has about 3mm of space at the top before the two sides meet. Tape the frame together and remove it from the cab. Wrap the bail with wire twice to show but don’t cut the wire, just like a cab pendant. Now, work “off the stone,” or cameo as we are speaking of, and make the needed wire pulls on what would be the “front” of the frame. Place the cameo inside and then make the pulls on the back, locking the shell into the frame. When forming the bail, rather than using the last two wires on the back, use the next two wires (which are half-hard).

There you go! You have made a traditional wire frame for a cameo pendant without risking scratches on the front or the back of the shell, it still has a solid frame because the half hard wire is in the middle of the frame and now protects the edges, and the bail is stable because you were still able to use half-hard wire to create it. Let us know how it turns out, Barbara!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Barbara Wolf

    May 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you Dale for that answer. I have some very odd shaped Opal pieces and that will work great.
    Thank you Barbara for asking the question.

  2. avatar


    August 1, 2014 at 4:14 am

    I would love to see a picture!