Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant, Classic Wire Jewelry. Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry. The beautiful shades of green that swirl, bend, blossom and bulls-eye in Malachite almost demand to be set in sterling silver.
Malachite Leaf Pendant
by Dale Armstrong
  • Category: Classic
  • Technique(s): Making Loops, Making Spirals, Wrapping
  • Skill Level: Advanced
The beautiful shades of green that swirl, bend, blossom and bulls-eye in Malachite almost demand to be set in sterling silver. However as a copper mineral, combining malachite and sterling silver is a recipe for tarnish. Although there are chemical treatments for jewelry that resist tarnish, they do not last forever and as a studio jeweler I try to stay as much of a purist as I can. The development of Argentium sterling silver has made it a pleasure for me to work with this lovely color combination, adding just a touch of gold. (Please note that half-hard Argentium wire can be temperamental; working it too much can cause it to become brittle and break.) Copyright 2010
Special Instructions: Malachite is also a very soft and fragile stone, which scratches easily and can be difficult to polish. My plan was to frame it in wire, while preventing possible scratches on the top, when pulling a regular frame over the stone, or chipping the edge with pliers. Thus I worked it like I do an opal, "off the stone"; forming a cage to go over the top of the cab, that resembles the veins found in a leaf.

Materials

20 Gauge Half Round Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-20HRH
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $1.18
  • Gold Club Price: $0.89
Add to Bag
20 Gauge Square Dead Soft Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-20SQD
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $3.08
  • Gold Club Price: $2.31
Add to Bag
22 Gauge Square Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-22SQH
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $1.89
  • Gold Club Price: $1.42
Add to Bag
24 Gauge Half Round Half Hard 14/20 Rose Gold Filled Wire
H6-24HRH
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $1.06
  • Gold Club Price: $0.79
Add to Bag
One of a kind Cabochon of your choice
Shop Now
Add All Items to Cart

Tools

6 1/2 Inch Bail Making Pliers
G2-18
  • G2-18
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $15.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.98
Add to Bag
4.5 Inch Round Nose Pliers
G2-12
  • G2-12
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $3.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.98
Add to Bag
6-1/2 Inch Chain Nose Pliers
G2-70
  • G2-70
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
Add to Bag
6.5 Inch Long Flat Nose Pliers - Pack of 1
G2-74
  • G2-74
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.87
  • Gold Club Price: $7.40
Add to Bag
6 Inch Metal Ruler - in Inches And Centimeters
G7-7
  • G7-7
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.57
  • Gold Club Price: $1.93
Add to Bag
Double Ended Pin Vise
G5-4
  • G5-4
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $3.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.98
Add to Bag
C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
Add to Bag
Add All Items to Cart
Instructions
Step 1
Simulating a frame, wrap quilter's tape around the circumference of the cab, and mark the beginning, the end, and (after determining it) the location of the cage wraps.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 2
To create the frame bundle, measure the length of the tape and add 4½" to determine the length of the wires needed for the frame. You will need as many wires as are necessary to cover the girdle of the stone, plus one. (This cab is 3mm thick, and required a total of four, 22g square wires.) Use quilter's tape near the ends to secure the bundle. To add stability to the bundle while forming it, I used 20g half-round, half-hard wire and put one set of 3 wraps on each side of the center, 1/8" away.
Pro Tip: Due to the fragility of malachite, hardness of 4, mix square wire tempers, using half hard for the back edge, (which will also become the bail wire), and soft for the front and center of the frame. Measure and mark the centers of both the tape and the wire bundle. Line up the centers and copy the marks from the tape to the wire bundle.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 3
Shape the frame to the stone. Beginning at the center, use flat nose pliers to make the initial 90° angle, fitting the tip of the stone. Then use your fingers to tease the wire around the edge of the stone until the wire bundle crosses over itself. Use flat nose pliers to bring the frame together, leaving about 3mm of negative space to compensate for the internal wrap wire width, and secure it with tape.
Pro Tip: A cushion-style mousepad makes a forgiving work surface when fitting wire around soft or fragile gemstones and cabochons.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 4
To form the "vein cage", measure the length of the cab and add 2 inches; this is the length of the wires needed. Use as many wires as the number of veins you desire, in this case four. Straighten and cut these wires from 24g half-round, half-hard. Bundle and tape all of the 24-gauge wires together. Use the outer most wire to wrap the bundle together, beginning ½" from the end and wrapping to the point of the first vein. This wrap wire will become the first vein. (Be sure that the domed side of the wire is facing out, and that the flat side lies on top of the wire bundle.)

Begin the "vein cage," planning where to break out individual wires that will not only hold the stone into the frame but also add life to the leaf design. While planning the cage topping, consider the natural swirls and bullseyes of the malachite. As a designer, I strive to enhance the natural material with the wired design, rather than use the stone to feature the wire.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 5
Use the wrap wire to branch over the cab. Then, using the next wire in the bundle, repeat the procedure, continuing until all of the veins have been formed.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 6
Reinsert the stone into the frame and tape the cage into position. Mark both the frame edge and the veins where they meet, making sure that the flat side of the half round wire lies against the cab.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 7
Remove the stone and using the marks for guidance, use flat nose pliers to wrap the frame and the vein cage together.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 8
Use a 3" piece of 22-gauge square half hard wire to wrap all of the frame wires together, putting on 2 wraps; then stop. Do not cut this wire. Clean the frame in your chosen jewelry cleaner; when it's dry, carefully reinsert the stone.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 9
On the back of the piece, working from the center and then up each side, use flat nose pliers to grasp the topmost wire and make the pulls necessary to hold the stone in the frame.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 10
Use the two, rear edge wires and small double barrel pliers to form a bail. Wrap it in with the uncut 22-gauge square wrap wire that began the mainframe binding. Trim and roll the bail tails under and bend the 'vein cage' wire ends at an angle down toward the front of the stone.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,
Step 11
Use a pin vise to twist any plain, square wires. Use round nose, chain nose and flat nose pliers to finish the top wires as desired.
Dale Armstrong's Malachite Leaf Pendant - , Classic Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Spirals, Wire Spiral, Spiral Wire Wrap, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry,