History of Wire Wrapping
Beaded work and wire wrapped jewelry still exist around the world today that is thousands of years old. The British Museum have samples of spiral wire components from the Sumerian Dynasty that is dated approximately 2,000 years BC. Other samples of jewelry from Ancient Rome show wire wrapped loops also dated approximately 2,000 years BC. Which is one of the most important techniques used in making wire wrapped jewelry. When crafting jewelry began the techniques for soldering did not exist. Later, as the technique for soldering developed, the wire wrapping approach continued because it was economical and a quick way to make jewelry components out of wire. At this time, the wire wrapping approach to making jewelry is primarily inspired by individual craftspeople.
What is Wire Wrapping?
Wire wrapping is an ancient technique used for handmade jewelry. This technique is done with jewelry wire and findings to make components. Wire components are then connected to one another using mechanical techniques without soldering or warming up the wire. The wire is bent into a loop or beautiful, decorative shape to wrap around itself and make that loop or decorative shape permanent.
Wire wrapped jewelry is handmade with wire that is mechanical connected instead of soldered connections. A mechanical connection is connecting a loop to another loop by interlocking them. Wire wrapped jewelry is made of wire and sometimes findings similar to wire (head-pins, jump rings, etc.) A key element in wire wrapped jewelry is a loop made out of wire. Loops are used in wire wrapping to mechanically connect components to one another.
In their basic form, P loops and eye loops are “open” loops. This means that the loop can be opened mechanically to allow it to connect to another component. The opposite of an open loop is a closed loop. In a closed loop, the end of the wire is wrapped around the stem of the loop so that the loop is permanent and can’t be opened. A closed loop is also called a wrapped loop. It is because of this technique or approach that you and I came to know it as wire wrapping.
When making a wire wrapped bracelet or necklace, you would use wrapped loops 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.
In the simplest example of handmade wire wrapped jewelry, a bead is threaded onto a jewelry finding called a head–pin. The bead is held in place by the “head” on the head pin. The portion of the head pin coming out of the opposite side of the bead is essentially wire. This wire is bent into a loop using hand tools and the excess wire is cut off. The resulting bead hanging from a loop is called a “bead dangle”. To complete a simple earring, the loop in the bead dangle is connected to the loop at the end of an ear wire finding resulting in a completed earring.
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