Wrapping Tiny Cabs

by Dale Armstrong

I recently acquired a collection of stones from a retiring silversmith. Many of the cabs are beautiful but tiny, including 4mm round, 6 x 8mm ovals, etc. I do have 24-gauge wire, and am comfortable working with it to make pendants and earrings, but these stones are so small that they're hard to hang onto, let alone design around! What can you suggest that I do for these teeny treasures?

-Jake in Edmonton, Alberta

Yes, those are really tiny sizes! Some folks use 26-gauge and smaller round wire to cage items like this, however I am going to give you a different experiment today (one my husband does with opal chips).

First, find a small, bowl-shaped item/container (maybe the top half of a domed metal button) place it on a surface that will keep it level (such as clay) and using a liquid plastic resin, pour a bit into the container. Then place the tiny cabs into the resin (top side up) until you are happy with the design. You could even fill the spaces between the cabs with seed beads, etc. Fill the remaining space with the plastic resin and let it harden completely. Now you can wrap your personally created "gemstone mosaic."

Other than that, maybe find a jeweler would trade items you can use for those tiny cabs.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong


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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Wrapping, Design