Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wire Wrapping Cabs

When I began cabbing, I wanted to make stones that I would want to use. I like just about every shape. I'm not terribly picky. But, there are a few things that I like to see for my own purposes as a wire wrapper.

Do you remember this Chinese Turquoise? I did a blog post about it when I messed up trying to wrap the very thick girdle (the side). I LOVE this stone! But, I had such a hard time setting it that I ended up scrapping the wrap- and silver. With the price of silver heading up again, I didn't want to risk burning up any more silver on it. So, I recut it today. The big difference is that the girdle is not so thick and the dome is more pronounced. I beveled the sides in towards the top and blended it in. (that was technical lingo :) )

I prefer a small girdle. I can't really give an exact size because it depends on the size of the stone. In general, though, I like about 3-5mm. The thing about the girdle is it is usually covered by the wire bundle. If it is too thick, then you need too much wire to cover it. We all know what a pain it is to end up with 10 or more bail wires! Forget that! So, any way, I'm cutting my stones with a small girdle- maybe a little larger on a larger stone so I can use heavier wire.

Silversmiths prefer a bezel/girdle with a slant to it. There is actually a "perfect" girdle angle in cabbing. I don't use it. I wire wrap. I like straight sides. I cut for me, so my bezels/girdles are straight up and down. Yeah, it's easier, too. :) But, seriously, I don't need the angle to help me set the stone.

I also like stones with virtually no girdle. I use a lot of round wire. Round wire loves to roll up the sides of a cab. I haven't cut a stone with no girdle, yet. I will, though.

I haven't done any terribly fancy freeforms. (Well, maybe a couple.) Not because I don't want to or that I don't like them. Rather, it's because I am trying to perfect straight forward cabs first. I am feeling very competent, at this point, and will be working on how best to photograph them.

I thought I would post these thoughts and maybe get your own. I've been putting a lot of thought into this because I want to start offering some of my cabs for sale. I will be offering cabs for wire wrappers, not for smiths. It made me stop and think what it is that I actually prefer.  

The following are some recent stones and a better approach to photographing them.

Black Plume Agate


Mookaite Jasper (?)

Outback Jasper

Red Jasper Agate (with lightning)

Red, White and Blue Jasper Agate

And here are two recent wraps.

Spectacular Spectrolite
Large Natural Kingman Turquoise

Burro Creek Agate


  1. Hey Tela, So excited you will be offering some of your cabs for sale!

    Your recent wraps are beautiful, gorgeous in themselves yet letting the cab be the star.

    You keep learning and growing.Your photography shows this!

    Hoping the little one continues to improve and regain her strength now that she is home and in the loving arms of family!

    1. Hi Christine :)You have no idea how hard it will be to sell any cabs. I love them all for one reason or another, but I have soooooo many cabs, it's bordering on hoarding now! LOL!

  2. It will be wonderful to see the cabs you will be offering. You have a wonderful eye for color so I know they will be great. Can't wait to buy from you.

    Hope your grandaughter is healing well.

    1. Hi Gina, I hope they will be appealing to you. Not every stone speaks to me as loudly as others. They will be letting me know which will stay and which will go. Stay tuned: Maybe next week..... :)

  3. Tela - I sitting at a campsite attempting to respond. We're touring on our motorcycles and heading west. I just wanted to tell you, I was hoping that you were going to sell some of your cabs. We'll be on the road for a few weeks or so. Can't wait to see them!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.