What’s your tolerance for risk? I tend to take a different (arguably a riskier) approach to feature focal beads in my wirework. In more typical wire-wrapped jewelry, the stones tend to be less of a focal point and more of an accent in the design. But I really love clean lines. I prefer my wirework to be more of an accent than the main feature. And I can hardly stand to cover even just the edges of a beautiful gemstone bead. So I frequently suspend my focal beads within wire woven frames using just my weaving wire.

If you’re familiar with Door 44 jewelry, you’ve probably already noticed that several of my designs, including the Chalice Earrings, Chalice Necklace, New Moon Pendant, and the Egyptian Sun Pendant, involve suspending beads seamlessly within a wire woven frame.

Using the weaving wire to suspend beads works reliably when using copper wire. It allows me to create a seamless weave that makes the bead seem to float freely within the frame. Yet it still securely supports the bead in most cases. When working with silver wire or heavy gemstone focal beads, however, I do recommend the alternate method to suspend focal beads that I’m about to explain in this tutorial.

For best results, use this technique whenever you create one of my designs using silver wire. This is especially important if you choose fine silver wire for weaving. Even when using copper wire though, I still recommend this technique if you have the slightest concern that your weaving wire won’t support your bead(s) over time.

Copyright & Disclosure

This tutorial covers a very specific wirework technique that can be applied to many different wire jewelry designs. In that sense, there is no design here to which I claim copyrights.

When it comes to my written tutorials, however, I reserve exclusive rights to all images and written content. You may not reproduce or redistribute any portion of this tutorial in any way, shape, or form. If you would like to share this technique as part of one of your own jewelry tutorials, you may do so only by linking directly to this page.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). To learn more, please see my full disclaimer.

Materials Needed to Securely Suspend Focal Beads

If you use fine silver wire for weaving, choose half-hard sterling silver wire to suspend your focal bead. If you’re using copper wire, you may choose either dead-soft or half-hard wire for this method. Both work equally well, but dead-soft copper is always easier to work with. Especially in tight spaces.

Whether you use copper or silver wire, choose a wire gauge between 22ga and 26ga for your suspension wire. The specific gauge that you should use depends on two factors: 1) the weight of the bead you plan to suspend, and 2) the span of the bead frame in which you’re suspending the bead.

Always choose the heaviest gauge that works both physically and visually for your specific circumstances. Heavier gauges tend to be stronger, but lighter gauges will be less visually distracting. I find that 24ga wire works well for most of my needs. It’s both strong and unobtrusive when blended with 28ga weaving wire.

Tools Needed to Securely Suspend Focal Beads

Alternate Method to Suspend Focal Beads

If you have any doubts at all that your weaving wire is strong enough to support the weight of your focal bead with two to four passes of weaving wire, you can use this alternate method to suspend your bead. Done well, this method maintains the seamless look of the weave while securing your focal bead with a heavier gauge wire.

I strongly recommend this method for silver jewelry where you’re using fine silver wire for weaving. Fine silver wire simply isn’t strong enough to support the weight of a gemstone bead. I learned that lesson the hard way, so I always use this alternate method to suspend my focal beads with sterling silver wire on the rare occasions that I make silver jewelry.

Step 1

Weave the entire bead frame, as instructed in the original design tutorial, only without suspending the focal bead. This will give you a clean and seamless weave in which to place your focal bead.

Once your weave is finished, go ahead and form your frame as instructed in the original tutorial. If you’re making one of my designs, this typically involves sculpting the core wires into a convex curve that will form a sort of bezel around your focal bead(s).

A finished and sculpted wire woven bead frame for the Egyptian Sun Pendant. This frame is ready to suspend the focal beads.

Step 2

We’re now going to suspend the bead(s) within the frame.

Feed a straight piece of scrap wire through your focal bead (and spacer beads, if you’re using spacers). Make sure that the face of the focal bead that you prefer for the front is facing forward.

Position the bead(s) within the frame and use the scrap wire to determine where you need to pierce your weave. Remember, you want your suspension wire(s) to pass straight through the bead(s). Use your fine-point marker to mark all points on your bead frame where you’ll need to pierce the weave.

Use a straight piece of scrap wire strung through the focal bead, as shown, to determine where you need to pierce the weave on the frame for your suspension wire.

Step 3

Use a sharp beading awl to pierce the weave between the two innermost core wires on both sides of the frame at the points you marked in Step 2.

Use a sharp beading awl to pierce the weave at the marks you made in Step 2.

Step 4

Cut a piece of 24ga wire (or whichever gauge you decide works best for your unique circumstances) about 6 inches long. If you’re making a silver piece, be sure to use sterling silver wire to suspend your bead. Fine silver wire will not hold up over time.

Cut a piece of sturdy wire to use to suspend your focal bead(s). The wire shown here is 24ga half-hard copper.

Step 5

Feed one end of your suspension wire through the hole you pierced on one side of the bead frame from front to back. Bring the short end of your wire from the back and wrap it tightly twice around the long end of the wire. Make your wraps as close to the inside edge of the bead frame as you can get them, as shown.

Use your wire cutters to trim the wire tail on the backside of the bead frame. Tuck in the wire end with your chain nose pliers, if necessary.

Secure one side of your suspension wire to your bead frame, as shown in this image.

Step 6

String your bead(s) onto the long end of the suspension wire. Then feed the end of the wire through the remaining hole on your bead frame. Again, from front to back.

NOTE: If you’re using spacer beads, you may need to adjust the size of those beads to accommodate the wraps on your suspension wire. Be sure to test the fit before securing the free end of the suspension wire.

Pull your suspension wire tight and make sure the beads are suspended neatly within the bead frame. Then secure your suspension wire with two tight wraps between the bead and the woven frame.

Use your wire cutters to trim the wire tail on the backside of the bead frame. Tuck in the wire end with your chain nose pliers, if necessary.

Thread your beads onto the suspension wire and secure the other side as described in Step 5.

If you have multiple focal beads within a single frame, repeat Steps 4 through 6 as many times as necessary.

That’s it! Your focal piece is now complete. Return now to the original tutorial for any further finishing instructions.

This image shows a finished Egyptian Sun Pendant using the alternate bead suspension technique defined in this tutorial.

Thank You!

Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you find this technique for suspending focal beads in woven frames to be useful. As a reminder, this technique is suitable for my Chalice Earrings, Chalice Necklace, New Moon Pendant, and the Egyptian Sun Pendant.

Also, be sure to favorite my Etsy shop for the latest ad-free printable PDF tutorials. And I’d love to see what you’ve made and hear your ideas and suggestions for new tutorials and blog posts. So, be sure to connect with me @door44studios on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

Until next time, go make something beautiful!

~Wendi

Pin this Post for Later

This is the alternate suspension method that I use to securely suspend heavy gemstone focal beads within a wire woven frame. This method allows you to create fun, kinetic jewelry spinners.