When I first started creating my own jewelry I asked every jewelry-maker I knew if they would teach me how to wrap a briolette. I absolutely adore briolette gems and stones, so this technique is something I would use often. I got the same answer from all of them: “it’s not as easy as it looks”. They all sort of brushed me off saying that they’d love to teach me when they got the time. The time never came, so I taught myself [thank you youtube and world-wide-web!]. It’s incredibly useful for all types of stones. It’s taken some practice–the more I make, the nicer they come out–and I’ve gotten the hang of it.
During a gym sesh last week, a friend who reads my blog [you know who you are!] let me know that she used one of my jewelry photos as a template for her own wire-wrapping (could there be a bigger compliment?). I’m so glad to be offering a bit of guidance for those who are also learning! So then I realized that I should share the technique here. Although I think it’s natural that part of my ego tells me that people will be copying my style, I am a firm believer that knowledge should be shared. Everyone has their own style, even if we use the same technique :). Plus, you could just go on youtube if you really wanted to ;).
So, lesson #1: What is a briolette?
Briolette [n] : A pear-shaped or oval gem, especially a diamond, cut in long triangular facets.
Lesson #2: What you’ll need
- ~8 in of wire per gem/stone (you’ll want to give yourself more than enough wire to start off with, just in case. And the gauge of wire will depend on the gem/stone. If it’s too thick/thin, it won’t stay flush).
- a briolette (or two, if you’re making a pair of earrings)
- pair of flat pliers
- pair of round pliers
- pair of wire cutters
[+ if you’re making the pair of earrings shown at top]
- 2 earring hooks
- 2 rings
Lesson #3: What to do
- Thread at least an inch of wire through briolette puka.
- Pull both ends of wire up and across each other [a 90 degree angle is super important here].
- use your round pliers to twist the wire around itself at least two times, then cut the short end flush to the twist.
4. Use your round pliers to create a loop.
5. If you’re making these hoop earrings, now is the time to insert ring into the loop.
6. Wrap wire back over the stem
7. If you wanted, you could stop at the top of the gem/stone by using your wire-cutters here, but we’ll continue down the top of the gem/stone until the puka are covered.
8. After reaching the puka,loop the wire back up to the top of the gem/stone, wrapping it at least two times at the stem (right under the loop).
9. Cute the wire and flatten with your flat pliers.
[This is what it will look like at this point from the front and the back, respectively]:
10. Again, you could stop here and it would be a beautiful piece of art. But this borderline-OCD girl likes the unique look of twisting the backside wire. It not only gives it a cool ‘lightning-bolt’ look, but also tightens the wire and cleans it up a bit more.
Now, either side you choose to be the front, these earrings look great!
I’m still looking forward to learning the “tuck-under” technique, but that will come with practice and patience, just like everything else 😉 I’ve made tons of new stuff in the past few weeks and am working on posting them a.s.a.p. In the meantime, have you checked out my current jewelry? I’ll be having a holiday trunk show very soon as well, so keep your eyes open!
Happy creating! For inquiries, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help!