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Simple setting for cabochon

Hi, I’m really new to jewelry making. Brand spanking new. Don’t
know a pickle pot from a hole in the ground. But I’ve got a nice
cabochon that I want to put in some gold wire to hold it. Then I’m
going to give it to a friend who will cherish it and maybe wear it
on a chain or string as a necklace. The cabochet is 22 x 14 mm, and
I don’t know what the mineral is. (It is a greenish mineral and
reminds me of turquoise.)

If you email me, I can reply with a digital photograph of the
cabochon and another of the plan I drew to “set” it in gold wire.

My plan was to use 14 Kt, 18 gauge, dead soft, round gold wire (from I understand that 18 gauge wire is 1.0 mm in
diameter. The wire would wrap twice across the front on the bottom
end. Then it would cross on the back of the cabochon where I would
secure it with epoxy. Then it would wrap twice across the front on
the top end. The wire would wrap in such a way that the two wire
ends finish on the back of top of the cabochon. There I would twist
them, trim the extra length of wire, and bend the remaining wire
into a small loop to hang the cabochon on a chain or string.

I have some small experience with bending wire with my hands and
pliers. And I’ve used expoxy often. This experience comes from a
lifetime of making things with my hands: various things, but mostly
flying models (rockets and airplanes). As long as I’m telling about
myself, let me tell about myself. I’m new to Orchid. Hi. I might
want to make more jewelry. Sounds like fun, but the one project I’m
describing is all that is on my mind for now. I’m married, have one
child (15 year old boy), and a cat. I live in San Diego,
California, and I work as an aide in a Kindergarten special
education class, although I once worked (for ten years) as a
Structural Engineer for a large Aerospace Company (General

So, back to my project. (Sorry so windy.) Any suggestions? This
has to be super simple. I’m not able to cast or solder. (I could
"solder with silver electrical solder which has other stuff in it
besides silver–no lead, but I cannot yet solder the way you fine
craftsmen and women do.) I’m wondering if I could heat treat at the
local San Diego Mineral and Gem Society. Gwenn’s sells gold wire
that is advertised for use for heat treating. Of course if I heat
treat, I’m talking about a different design altogether.

So for now I’ve got two or three things on my mind. First is what
temper should I use. Dead soft, 1/2 hard, something else? Is this
even a reasonable design? Any suggestions for other designs that
would work for me, considering my level of experience?

I’m concerned about the temper, because I have never worked with
gold. The wire should be soft enough that I can form it snugly
around the cabochon, yet strong enough that the loop at the top
(made from the two wire ends twisted together) will hold up
reasonably well in use. By the way, I hope to do this all with one
continuous strand of wire about six inches long. The two ends of
the wire will finish twisted together and held in place (after after
forming the loop) with epoxy on the back of the cabochon.

So what temper should I use (dead soft, 1/2 hard, etc.)? Any other
design suggestions? Any comments or advice of any kind? Oh yes,
one more thing… Suggestions on where to get wire in case Gwenn’s
is a bad source?

Thanks in advance. By the way, I’ve been absorbed reading the
orchid postings. The work described here sounds fun and

-Joe Rosevear