We are going to start a new blog series to highlight the people behind some of the jewelry and gifts we have in store and show more behind the scenes of what they do. First up is Diana and she is going to walk you through her process for wire wrapping a necklace.
Hi! I am your official(ish) bead-stringer, pearl-knotter, and wire-wrapper for Johnson Jewelers, Diana.
Today’s task involved a simple request from the boss, to change the jump rings that attached this beautiful Nina Designs moon-phases festoon pendant to a sterling chain. It should have involved a simple opening of the jump rings, removal, and replacement with smaller ones.
But I had something else in mind, and decided to wire-wrap some tiny gemstones into the chain.
I used 2mm rubies, tourmaline (in four different colors), howlite and lapis to complete the task. I usually prefer 24-gauge sterling wire, for strength, and because it holds its shape, but needed to size down to 26-gauge, in order to fit the tiny drill holes in the gemstone beads.
My tools include round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, and super-flush cutters. I occasionally add a pair of bent chain-nose pliers to the mix when I need an extra hand. I use super-flush cutters to try to minimize the metal pinch at the end, which helps prevent the need for, or duration of, filing.
I cut off a foot-long (or so) section of wire to work with at a time. I make a 90-degree bend in the wire with my chain-nose pliers, then make a loop with the smaller end of my round-nose pliers. If I am forming a a chain, I want to make sure to attach the previous component before completing the wrap, and avoid the need to cut it off and start over. I like to wrap the wire into a coil around the base of the loop, for security, instead of simply completing the loop. I cut the wire as close to the coil as I can, then use the chain-nose pliers to snug the end of the wire into place.
Tis a simple enough process, but repetitive and time-consuming. Beads sometimes don’t fit or break, I may accidentally attach the wrong ends together, and overworking wire can cause it to work-harden and break. OR the design just doesn’t turn out the way one hoped, and the project is scrapped.
But I like the way this one turned out. I hope the boss likes it too – despite my failure to follow simple instructions!