Jewelry Blog

5 Secrets to Wire-Wrapping Small Stones Successfully

With so many wire-wrapping stone tutorials, patterns and classes out there, surely they mean you can wrap EVERY stone using those techniques, right? 

Well, sort of. But wire wrapping SMALL stones has its own set of challenges and adjustments to make. Let’s review the challenges (and solutions!) you’ll face when wire-wrapping small stones.

Wire Wrapping Small Stones

Photos via Gayle Bird

Master Designer Wire-Wrapping Techinques!

Wire-Wrapped Stone: Designer Techniques

Learn exactly the tips & techniques you need to take your wirework to the next level! Enjoy interactive instruction from designer Aga Kruk in 7 fun HD video lessons. Enroll Now »

Secret #1: Use beads

The biggest secret to wire-wrapping small stones — the one that hardcore metalworkers often ignore, valuing meticulousness over efficiency — is to use small stones with holes in them. Stick one little wire through that hole, and you’re immediately free to stop worrying about the structure and instead play with the form. 

Secrets to Wire Wrapping Small Stones

(I mean, obviously, right?!)

But OK, OK… I guess I can give you some other tricks for wire-wrapping the little gemstones we all have kicking around! 

Secret #2: Choose the right wire 

Wire for Jewelry

Personally, I dislike square or half-round wire — it’s finicky and needs to be perfect, and those are two words that are NOT in my vocabulary. I like round wire because it can twist without being defaced, which means I can work more quickly. 

However, that said, the smaller your stone, the more likely you’re going to want your wire to have at least one flat face. Square really is the best for controlling around tiny stones, but half-round has its uses, such as a channel-weave set. And for a nice variation, twisted wire works, too. Its twists end up being little grippy bits along your stone.

Secret #3: Choose the right gauge

This is a bit like Goldilocks. If your wire is too big and chunky, you’ll never be able to manipulate it around your tiny stone. On the other hand, if your wire is too thin, it will never hold. For smaller stones, you probably want to use wire around 20-22ga. 

Secret #4: Choose the right stone

The smoother and slipperier and more perfect your stone is, the more you’re going to go crazy trying to wrap it. Even with square wire, those slippery little suckers are gonna go popping all over the room every time you try to manipulate wire on a smooth stone. So instead, pick rough-cut stones or, better yet, hardly-cut stones. The rougher the surface, the easier it will be to grab those tiny stones with your wire and make it do what you want. 

Purple stones for jewelry making

Left: Nightmare. Right: Ahhh!

Secret #5: Go slowly

The smaller the stone, the more tiny imperfections will show. If you are wrapping a large stone and the wire isn’t perfectly aligned, it’s not such a big deal since the wire in general follows the side of the stone. But when it’s less than an inch along one side, there’s not much to go on and the eye picks up smaller details. So go slowly, and get it right. 

Master Designer Wire-Wrapping Techinques!

Wire-Wrapped Stone: Designer Techniques

Learn exactly the tips & techniques you need to take your wirework to the next level! Enjoy interactive instruction from designer Aga Kruk in 7 fun HD video lessons. Enroll Now »

One Comment

Loura Lawrence

Thank you so much for breaking this down! I am new to wire-wrapping and have been struggling with some of my stones. This has been incredibly helpful and has apparently unique information. I scoured the new for “how to secure wire wrapped stones” and finally came across this. Thanks again!

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