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Cobra Head Bail Pendants – Design Variations

Anyone who has been following my work for a while now has probably already guessed how much I like to wrap the icicle shaped crystal prisms. I do quite a few wraps for them, but my favorite is the Cobra Head Bail design.

Above is the most basic design. I like it because of it’s simplicity, but even more for it’s versatility. If you change just one element of the design you can achieve many different looks. The easiest thing to change is the top layer of the bail. You can twist it instead of weaving it. Or you can use different types of weaves to alter the look. Make some changes to the attachment at the front of the pendant below the bail and you can make even an even more dramatic look.

For these pendants I made a couple of different changes. For the first one on the left, I added beads to the weave on the top layer of the bail. Then, for the front of the pendant underneath the bail, instead of working it as in the tutorial, I crossed the two pieces that come from the back of the bail, then continued as in the tutorial to finish the pendant.

For the pendants in the other two photos, I continued the criss cross down the front a couple times, creating a wave pattern with the two woven strips, again, finishing the pendant off as in the tutorial. This works great if you have a prism that has a chip on one of the facets in front and you need something to cover it with.

The first two prisms in this gallery were originally made to show how a stone that is shaped similarly to a prism, but isn’t drilled, could be wrapped with this same design. By adding a support to the base of the prism, then continuing to weave up either the front or the sides of the prism, you can finish off the pendant with the Cobra Head Bail, making slight adjustments to the way the attachments in the front are made. The first pendant in this row is using the hole in the prism for the second set of wires. However, with a little imagination, you can find a way to work around that as well.

The last pendant shown above is a bit closer to the original design. For this one I wove down the front a bit farther than in the design in the tutorial using a modified ladder weave, then finished all the wires off in the back of the pendant.

My most popular pieces with the Cobra Head design are the crystal prisms I’ve been wrapping for the last 6 years. But I’d been playing with other variations of the bail design for quite some time before that. The Rose Quartz crystal point pendant in the first photo here is one of the first variations of this design. I had set the crystal point in a border wrap, but I needed to find a way to finish off all the wires. There is kind of a standard way that most border wraps are finished. Cut a couple wires, hide them, and add a few swirls with the rest of the wires after you make the bail. I wanted to challenge myself to use all the wires that were there, without going overboard with the spirals and swirls. So I picked up my weaving wire and a couple hours later, this is what I had come up with.

The second photo above is one I made after trying to simplify the design a bit. I still started with a border wrap, but I used fewer wires. Instead of making separate layers for the bail, I put all the frame wires into one weave.

The last photo in this row shows how this style of bail looks on a different shape of stone. I made a type of woven bezel for this one that leaves part of the edge of the stone uncovered (something I would no longer recommend doing, now that I have more experience). For the bail, I started by weaving all the wires together at the top, but then split it into two strips before continuing. As I got closer to the bottom of where the necklace would go through, I started adding beads. I finished this one with a criss cross over the front of the cab.

This is my most recent work with this design. I took a faux stone cabochon I had made from polymer clay and front drilled it at the top. I started out as in the tutorial, but then I changed it up a bit. I added woven spirals to each of the attachments on the front of the pendant. It still has a similar look to the design in the tutorial, but it adds an extra layer of depth that goes well with the shape of the “stone”.

The funny thing is though, without this pendant, which looks nothing like the others in this post, I may never have thought to do any of these other pendants in this style. If you look really closely, you can see the first of these that I ever made (that I can recall anyway). Underneath the layers of coiled and woven wire is the beginning of the Cobra Head Bail.