Easy Wire Jewelry: Make a Wire Gemstone Cage Pendant

Aug 11, 2014

Earlier this year when I graduated from my yoga teacher training program, a dear friend and classmate reignited my interest in gemstones and their metaphysical properties when she presented each of us with two beautiful, tumbled gemstones as graduation presents. I received a piece of dendritic opal (also called merlinite) and a piece of azurite, and of course, I spent weeks trying to figure out how I could wear them as jewelry. (No holes in these stones!)

I'm really not talented enough to use wire wrapping to turn these stones into jewelry, but I had a great idea on a trip to a local rock shop while my two nieces were visiting from Nevada a few weeks ago. The rock shop sold these pretty little wire cages for holding gemstones, and sure enough, I realized that I could very easily make my own with the wire jewelry supplies I already have at home.

After I returned home with my new little stash of gemstones, I sat down with my nieces and my wire jewelry making supplies, and I set out to whip up a couple of wire cages that we could all use to wear our new stones. You can make one, too, in just a few minutes!

Materials:

  • 16 - 24 inches of 18g half-hard twisted wire
  • Silk cord, leather, or ribbon
  • Gemstone nugget

Tools:

  • Ruler
  • Permanent marker
  • Wire cutters
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers, or combination pliers

 

Mark the center of your wire with the permanent marker.
Using the round jaw of the combination pliers or your round nose pliers, make a loop about 1/4" in diameter at one end of the wire.
Grasping the loop in your flat nose pliers, begin to wrap the wire around the loop to make a flat spiral. Work the spiral all the way to the center mark in your wire.
Make a second loop about 1/4" in diameter on the other side of the wire, and start making a flat coil working in towards the first spiral. Make sure that your spirals are going in opposite directions.
When you get to the middle of your wire, use your fingers to start to form a cage shape.
To make a hanging loop on one end, use your pliers to gently pry up one loop, and bend it at a 90-degree angle. You might see the cage starting to form in this step!
Gently grasp the bottom loop and start to pull the two sides apart until you have an oval-shaped cage formed. To insert your gemstone, gently squeeze the center part open (don't bend it, or you may break the wire over time) and insert your gemstone. You can use your fingers to gently close the cage over the gemstone and hold it securely. Add your favorite silk, satin, leather, or ribbon cord, and you've got an instant necklace using a gemstone nugget!

Once you get the basics down, you can change up the size of your coils to create different shapes for your wire cages. For someone like me who wants to show off the beauty of these undrilled gemstones without doing a lot of wire wrapping, this simple wire jewelry project is perfect! Make them up in copper, brass, or gold-filled wire so that you have one for every occasion. They're great for showcasing little trinkets from summer vacations, too.

Want to learn more great wire jewelry techniques? There's always plenty of inspiration and instruction to be found in the pages of Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine. Each issue offers a range of projects for all skill levels, plus all you need to know about wire jewelry techniques, tutorials, and tools. Subscribe to Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine and get six issues full of great wire jewelry making projects!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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