Monday, August 23, 2010

Wire Wrap Jewelry

Wire wrapped jewelry is the oldest form of jewelry making. Artist Frank Wimberly has been producing some really nice pieces and we wanted to share with our readers the ancient history of this fascinating technique.

Wrapping techniques date back to thousands of years BC, long before soldering. The British Museum has samples of jewelry from the Sumerian Dynasty, found in the cemetery of Ur that contain spiraled wire components, dating to approximately 2000 BC. Other samples of jewelry from Ancient Rome show wire wrapped loops (one of the important techniques in making wire wrapped jewelry).

Later, as the technique for soldering developed, wire wrapping continued because it was an economical and quick way to make jewelry components out of wire.

A key element in wire wrapped jewelry is a loop made in a segment of wire. In general, loops in wire are connected to one another to make the mechanical connections between components. A loop can be something as simple as bending the end of a piece of wire until the very end of the wire is bent far enough that it touches the wire itself. This simple form of a loop is called a “P” loop. A “P” loop is a loop in the wire in the shape of the letter “P.” Another form of a loop is an eye loop. An eye loop is a more complex loop with a full circle of wire centered over the stem of wire just like a lollipop.

Frequently when making a wire wrapped bracelet or necklace, wrapped loops are used to connect the components into a chain. For bracelets and necklaces, wrapped loops are recommended because open loops could be pulled apart if the chain were to snag.

(c) 2009 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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