Wire Work Prong Setting

by Rhonda Grandee.
(Blackfoot, Idaho)

Wire Work Prong Setting by Rhonda Grandee  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

I’ve had trouble in the past setting the irregular shape of ammonites.

Sometimes, getting enough wire to secure the fossil also tended to overwhelm the delicate chambers.

Wire Work Prong Setting by Rhonda Grandee  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

I was happy to come up with this prong setting, using 22 gauge half hard wire for the frame and 24 gauge half hard for the prongs and back retaining wires.

Rhonda Grandee

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  • Colleen says:

    These are beautifully done!

  • Dawn Carpino says:

    Very nice!

  • A nice job of creating a setting for the ammonite, Rhonda! I especially like how you designed the prongs for this piece.

  • Marnet Waters says:

    I love the ammonites and have a couple I have been wanting to mount somehow. This is a terrific idea and very pretty. Thank you for sharing.

  • Becky says:

    Thank you so much for your techniques! Since I prefer to do freehand wrapping, my ammonites have been waiting patiently. The wait is over, well first my hand has to heal….but then…..first in line….

  • Diane says:

    That looks great. I have several ammonites I was going to wrap so gives me some ideas. Thanks.

  • It’s a beautiful, simple setting, allowing for the beauty of the ammonite to shine. Excellent job!

  • Kathryn Thuma says:

    I have a few septeria that I may try a variation on this and see what happens. I love the classic, simple look of prongs.

  • This is such a neat (literlly) solution! How did you do it?

  • Rhonda says:

    The key to keeping the prongs in place and stop them from spinning around on the frame wire is the the retaining wire across the back of the piece. You start by making a frame wire, with bail, that matches the shape of your rock or fossil; leave it a little loose. Leave the stone out of the frame until you’ve finished the prongs. Next, use a smaller gauge wire for the prongs. Ancor it with a couple of wraps around the frame, leaving a short tail for you to hold that you will later trim off. I used hemostats to bend and shape the prong, then put on a couple of anchoring wraps onto the frame wire again. The prong should face upward through the inside edge of the frame wire. Now, the retaining wire needs to cross the back of the frame, where you again put in a couple of ancor loops around the frame, another prong, then some final anchor loops. Stop and trim all wires so that the cut ends will later touch the stone, or end up buried. Make as many prong sets as needed, depending on the weight of the stone. If you try to make all the prongs with a continuous piece of wire, you’ll find that some of the prongs turn out backwards and too loose. After all your prongs are made, drop the stone or fossil into the middle and bend the prongs over with needle nose pliers. They can then be pressed into position for securit with hemostats, forceps, or small flat nosed pliers. Big stones sometimes need a drop of epoxy on the back to keep the retaining wires from slipping. Hope this works for you.


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