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Wire-wrapped cabochon

Use half-round wire to encase a stone cabochon, and embellish it with beads


  • Pendant approx. 1 x 2 in. (25.5 x 51 mm)
  • Sterling silver wire
  • 16-gauge (1.29 mm), half-round, half-hard, 36 in. (91.4 cm)
  • 24-gauge (0.51 mm), round, half-hard, 10 in. (25.4 cm)
  • Cabochon: 1 x 2 in. (25.5 x 51 mm)
  • 15–20 assorted 2–5 mm beads
  • Wirework toolbox
  • Stepped roundnose pliers with 5–6 mm jaw


Wirewrapped cabochon 1
Photo 1
Wirewrapped cabochon 2
Photo 2
1. Cut four 8-in. (20.3 cm) pieces of 16-gauge (1.29 mm) half-round wire. Align three of them with the flat surfaces facing the same way. Position the remaining 8-in. (20.3 cm) wire slightly off center on the group of wires. Leaving a 1-in. (25 mm) tail, make three wraps around the group of three wires. Trim the ends on the flat surface, and use chainnose pliers to flatten them.

2. To begin the wire bezel, shape the bundle of wires around a cabochon.
Wirewrapped cabochon 3
Photo 3
Wirewrapped cabochon 4
Photo 4
3. Using the wire left over from the first set of wraps, make another set of wraps on one side of the bezel frame. Repeat on the other side.

4. Use flatnose pliers to shape the wires to closely fit the top of the stone.
Wirewrapped cabochon 5
Photo 5
Wirewrapped cabochon 6
Photo 6
5. Bend both sets of tails so they point straight up above the cab and are parallel to each other.

6. Using flatnose pliers, grasp the tails right above the cab, and bend each set of tails outward 90º.
Wirewrapped cabochon 7
Photo 7
Wirewrapped cabochon 8
Photo 8
7. Cut 10 in. (25.4 cm) of 24-gauge (0.51 mm) wrapping wire. Leaving a short tail and starting at the top of the bezel-wire “neck,” wrap the bezel-wire tails. Trim the short wrapping-wire tail (not the working wire).

8. Identify the front two bezel-wire tails, bend them out toward the front of the bezel, and trim each to about 1⁄2 in. (13 mm).
Wirewrapped cabochon 9
Photo 9
Wirewrapped cabochon 10
Photo 10
9. Using a 5–6 mm jaw of a pair of stepped roundnose pliers, grasp each front tail and roll it up over the bezel neck to make a double bail. Adjust the loops as needed so they are identical.

10. Using one of the remaining bezel-wire tails, make a loose spiral to cover the bezel neck. Using the remaining three bezel-wire tails, make additional spirals as desired; trim the tails, and tuck them into the work as desired.
Wirewrapped cabochon 11
Photo 11
Wirewrapped cabochon 12
Photo 12
11. Using roundnose or chainnose pliers, make decorative bends at the bottom of the front two bezel wires. Make small bends at the top of the front bezel wire.

12. Place the cab facedown into the bezel, and make a few decorative bends in the wire on the back of the stone as needed to keep the stone in place.
Wirewrapped cabochon 13
Photo 13
Wirewrapped cabochon 14
Photo 14
13. Bring the wrapping wire from the back through an opening between two bezel wires.

14. String beads on the wire as desired, and angle it down toward the other side of the stone.
Wirewrapped cabochon 15a
Photo 15a
Wirewrapped cabochon 15b
Photo 15b
15. Wrap the wire around the bezel wires (15a), bring it to the back of the stone, wrap a few times around a wire on the back of the stone (15b), and trim.
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