10 Wire Wrapping Tips for Gemstone Jewelry
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Choose the right wire
  2. Use the right tools
  3. Secure gemstones properly
  4. Practice coiling techniques
  5. Create a tidy finish
  6. Wire hardening tips
  7. How to store wire
  8. How to clean wire-wrapped jewelry
  9. How to repair wire-wrapped jewelry
  10. How to price wire-wrapped jewelry

If you're interested in getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry, you're in the right place. We're about to dive into ten practical tips that can help you refine your wire wrapping skills and create captivating, sturdy gemstone jewelry.

Choose the right wire

Choosing the right wire can feel like a balancing act. On one hand, you want a wire that's soft enough to flex and shape around your gemstone. On the other, it needs to be tough enough to hold the gemstone securely. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Wire gauge: This refers to the thickness of the wire. A lower number means a thicker wire. For wire wrapping gemstone jewelry, gauges between 20 and 26 are usually a good fit. However, remember that the bigger the stone, the thicker the wire you might need.
  • Wire material: Copper, silver, and gold-filled wires are popular choices for wire wrapping. Silver and gold-filled wires are more expensive but lend a classy look to your gemstone jewelry. Copper, on the other hand, is more budget-friendly and offers a rustic aesthetic. The choice depends on your design vision and budget.
  • Wire hardness: Soft wire is easier to work with, but hard wire holds its shape better. For beginners, getting a feel for the wire is important. So, you might want to start with a half-hard wire which offers a balance of malleability and firmness.

When getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry, it's important to remember that the right wire can make all the difference. So, give these factors some thought before you start your next wire wrapping project.

Use the right tools

Just like an artist needs the right brush to create a masterpiece, you need the right tools to perfect your wire wrapping skills. Here's what your toolbox should ideally include:

  • Wire cutters: These are a must-have. They allow you to cut wires cleanly and without fraying. Trust me, trying to wrap a frayed wire around a gemstone can be a frustrating experience.
  • Round nose pliers: With their round jaws, these pliers are perfect for forming loops and curves in your wire. They're a godsend for those intricate designs you've been wanting to try out.
  • Chain nose pliers: These pliers are great for bending the wire at right angles and for opening and closing jump rings. They can also be used to flatten and straighten kinks in the wire.
  • Nylon jaw pliers: When you're shaping wire, it's easy to scratch or dent it. Nylon jaw pliers help you avoid this problem. They're useful for smoothing out bends and straightening wire without damaging it.
  • Ring mandrel: If you're planning to make wire wrapped rings, a ring mandrel can help. It helps you create rings of the exact size and shape you want.

Remember, using the right tools not only makes the process of wire wrapping easier, but it also helps you create more professional-looking jewelry. So, invest in these tools and take another step towards getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry.

Secure gemstones properly

Now, let's talk about the stars of the show—gemstones. Securing them properly is perhaps the most important part of wire wrapping. After all, the last thing you want is your sparkling gemstone falling out of its wire cage.

So how do you make sure your gemstones stay put? Here are a few tips:

  • Choose the right wire: The wire you choose should be thick enough to hold the gemstone firmly in place, but thin enough to be maneuvered easily.
  • Use a snug setting: A snug setting means the gemstone is held tightly by the wire. To ensure this, you can twist or wrap the wire around the gemstone multiple times.
  • Test the setting: Once you've secured the gemstone, give it a little wiggle. If it moves, it's time to tighten the wire.

Many folks, when starting out, fear they might damage the gemstones while securing them. It's a valid concern, but with practice, you'll find your rhythm and the right amount of pressure to apply. Achieving a secure setting is a significant milestone in getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry.

Stay patient and keep practicing, and soon enough your gemstones will be as secure as a pearl inside an oyster.

Practice Coiling Techniques

Coiling, in the world of wire wrapping gemstone jewelry, is akin to adding the perfect frosting on your cake. Not only does it enhance the overall look, but it also helps in securely holding your gemstone in place.

Here's the fun part: there's no one 'right' way to coil. You can experiment with different styles and techniques until you find your signature style. But, before you start freestyling, here are some techniques that can help you get started:

  • Single Coil: This involves wrapping a thin wire around a thicker one. The technique is simple yet effective, and is great for beginners to start getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry.
  • Double Coil: In this technique, you wrap two wires together, creating a visually interesting pattern. It can be a bit tricky, but once mastered, it's a game-changer.
  • Coil on Coil: This involves coiling a wire and then coiling another wire around the first coil. It's a bit advanced, but the results are worth the effort.

Remember, the key to perfect coiling is consistency. Try to keep the spacing between your coils uniform. And don’t worry about achieving perfection in your first few tries. Like any other skill, getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry requires time and patience — and a lot of practice.

So, go ahead, grab your wire and start coiling. Who knows, your next coil might just be your best one yet!

Create a Tidy Finish

Now that we've mastered coiling, let's focus on another critical aspect of wire wrapping gemstone jewelry - creating a tidy finish. A neat finish is the last but one of the most important steps in making your jewelry piece look professional and polished. So, how do we achieve this?

  • Tuck in Loose Ends: Loose ends can not only spoil the look of your piece but can also be quite prickly. Always ensure to neatly tuck in any loose ends into your wrap. This makes your piece safe to wear and also enhances its durability.
  • Smooth out Sharp Edges: Nothing ruins a beautiful piece of jewelry faster than a sharp edge. Use a file or a pair of nylon jaw pliers to smooth out any sharp edges.
  • Check for Gaps: In the process of wire wrapping, gaps can sometimes form between the wires. Make sure to close these gaps for a more solid and tidy look.

Finishing touches might seem like minor details, but trust me, they make a world of difference. They're like the cherry on top of your delicious sundae. They complete the look, giving your piece a professional and polished feel.

So, the next time you're working on a piece, take some extra time to focus on your finishing. Trust me, you'll be amazed by the difference it makes in getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry.

Wire Hardening Tips

Alright, let's talk about wire hardening. You might ask, "Why bother?" Well, hardening your wire is a lot like setting a firm foundation for a house. It gives your jewelry strength and helps maintain its shape. So, here are some handy tips for hardening your wire.

  • Hammer it Out: Lightly hammering your wire is a quick and easy method to harden it. Remember to use a jewelry hammer and a steel block for this. However, be careful not to hit your gemstones while you're at it!
  • Twist and Shout: Twisting your wire can also harden it. This method works best with a pair of pliers and a steady hand. But remember, practice makes perfect!
  • Use a Tumbler: A jewelry tumbler is a great tool for hardening your wire. It not only hardens the wire but also polishes it, giving your jewelry a beautiful shine.

So, the next time you find your wire wrapping feels a bit soft or loses its shape quickly, give these wire hardening techniques a try. You'll find it's an excellent step towards getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry. And remember, as with everything, practice makes perfect.

How to Store Wire

Now that we've covered hardening, let's move on to something equally important: storing your wire. Good storage habits can extend the life of your wire, making your wire-wrapping journey smoother and more cost-effective. So, how should you store your wire?

  • Keep it Dry: Moisture can cause your wire to tarnish or rust over time. Store your wire in a dry place, preferably in airtight containers or zip-lock bags.
  • Avoid Tangling: Wire, much like headphones in your pocket, has a knack for getting tangled. To avoid this mess, try storing each type or size of wire separately. You can use empty toilet paper rolls or plastic spools for this.
  • Label Them: If you're using different types of wire, labeling can be a game-changer. Stick a little note on each spool or bag stating the type, size, and hardness of the wire. This helps you easily identify what you need for each project.

With these storage tips in your arsenal, you'll spend less time untangling wires and more time improving your wire wrapping skills. Now, don't you feel like you're getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry already?

How to Clean Wire-Wrapped Jewelry

Now that we've got wire storage sorted, let's explore another important aspect of maintaining your gemstone jewelry: cleaning. Just like any piece of jewelry, your wire-wrapped gems need regular cleaning to keep them shining and beautiful.

  1. Gentle is the Way to Go: Always clean your wire-wrapped jewelry gently to avoid damaging the wire or the gemstones. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe off any dust or fingerprints.
  2. Say No to Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh cleaning agents as they can damage both the wire and the gemstones. Instead, opt for warm soapy water and a soft-bristled toothbrush for a mild yet effective clean.
  3. Drying is Important: After cleaning, make sure to completely dry your jewelry to prevent any moisture damage. Pat dry with a soft cloth and let it air dry for a few hours before storing.

Remember, maintaining your creations is just as important as making them. By keeping your wire-wrapped jewelry clean, you not only preserve its beauty but also improve its lifespan. Isn't that a significant step toward getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry?

How to Repair Wire-Wrapped Jewelry

Even the most carefully crafted wire-wrapped gemstone jewelry can suffer wear and tear over time. Lucky for us, repairing wire-wrapped creations isn't as hard as it sounds. Here are some tips to help you with the repair process:

  1. Assess the Damage: Before you start the repair, take a good look at your piece. Are the gemstones loose? Has the wire unraveled? Knowing what needs fixing will help you determine the best course of action.
  2. Use The Right Tools: Just like in the creation process, you'll need the right tools to repair your jewelry. Needle nose pliers can be a great help for rewrapping or tightening the wire.
  3. Be Patient: Repairing can often be more challenging than creating. So, take your time. If you rush, you risk causing more damage to your jewelry.

Repairing your own creations will not only save you money but also help you understand your work better, making you more proficient in creating and getting better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry. Remember, every expert was once a beginner who never gave up. So, don't be disheartened by a little snag in your wire or a loose gemstone. With patience and practice, you can indeed fix it all!

How to Price Wire-Wrapped Jewelry

Okay, so now you've gotten better at wire wrapping gemstone jewelry, but how do you figure out the right price for your creations? Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are a few tips:

  1. Cost of Materials: This includes the wire, gemstones, and any other materials used in your piece. Don't forget to include any shipping fees if you've ordered your materials online.
  2. Time Spent: Your time is valuable. Consider how many hours you spent creating the piece and decide what your hourly rate should be.
  3. Overhead Costs: Did you use any special tools or equipment? What about the cost of your workspace? These should factor into your pricing as well.
  4. Market Research: Look at similar pieces online or in local shops. What are they priced at? This can give you a good starting point for your own pricing.

Remember, pricing is a delicate balance—you don't want to undersell your hard work, but you also don't want to scare off potential customers with sky-high prices. It might take a bit of trial and error to find the sweet spot, but once you do, you'll be well on your way to making a fair profit from your wire-wrapped gemstone jewelry.

If you enjoyed learning about wire wrapping techniques for gemstone jewelry and are looking for more artistic inspiration, check out Ruby Elliot's workshop 'Visual Diaries: Let's Get Started!.' While not directly related to wire wrapping, this workshop provides valuable insights into maintaining a visual diary, which can be a fantastic way to document your creative journey and inspire new ideas for your jewelry designs.