What is Wire Wrapping? A Quick Overview of What it Is - And Isn't


What is Wire Wrapping?

One of the things I love the most about wire wrapped jewelry is that it’s not really mass producible – at least not in the way that handmade artisans do it. The fundamental nature of wire wrapping is that it is created using hands and hand tools. This gives every single wire wrapped piece a one-of-a-kind standing.

In its purest form, wire wrapping uses mechanical connections as opposed to chemical connections. When metal is heated, it changes chemically by becoming softer and more malleable. Any jewelry made with soldering or any type of silversmith or goldsmith techniques uses chemical connections.

And here are...

The Top Five Reasons Why I’m A Wire Wrapping Purist

Number Five – The History Factor

Wire wrapping as a technique dates back to thousands of years B.C. There is also much evidence of wire wrapped jewelry in ancient Rome. In short, wire wrapping has been a thing for a very long time – certainly before soldering became a thing.

Number Four – The Challenge Factor

Let’s face it: not using glue or heat or anything but the wire in front of me and my own resourcefulness definitely presents its challenges. How am I going to get this thing to stay in the place with the other thing without glue or sticking melted metal to it? Ah…therein lies the beauty. I have to figure it out. I know where I want to go; I just have to figure out how to get there. To me, few experiences are as satisfying as actually getting there.

Number Three – The Variety Factor

There are so many different types of wire wrapping – so many different metals to play with – myriad ways for me to expand my craft. In short, I’ve got more than enough to be getting on with here without playing with fire.

Number Two – The Portability Factor

As much as I respect the art of metalsmithing, it’s not very portable. I mean, you can’t very well take your current project with you, say, on an airplane. I feel certain the Air Marshall would not support you in that endeavor. But regular old wire wrapping? It’ll fit right in my backpack and generally get through the TSA checkpoint, no questions asked. You can’t really say the same about a soldering iron.

Number One – The Shock-and-Awe Factor

And the Number One reason why I am a wire wrapping purist is the Shock-and-Awe Factor. When people really come to understand how I made a particularly complicated piece using only mechanical connections, they inevitably spend time staring at it, trying to figure out how I did it. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s totally worth it. Because quite honestly, I’m not really sure how I did it either. Me and a spool of wire – together we’re more than the sum of our parts.

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