[Beads] Bead reamer and String

A question for anyone working with beads. I have recently been doing
a lot of work with the precious stone beads like ruby, sapphire,
tanzanite etc. As usual they come strung on what appears to be
cotton thread to me, and they are very badly drilled. Until just
recently when I got an electric bead reamer from Rio, I had to string
the beads on very thin thread - used rio’s pearlsilk B. My question
is, Are we supposed to restring these beads, or are they secure on
the threads they come on? Is anyone else worried about how easily
they are going to cut right through these threads after being worn a
time or two. Like I said, the new bead reamer is wonderful, and I am
taking the time to smooth most of beads out, but time is money, this
is a pain in the neck and I’m losing a bead or two in the process
because they are cracked already. Just looking for ideas and
sympathy. Thanks, Dina Weavers, High-Strung - Maryland

Hi Dina, Yes - we are supposed to restring the beads as they don’t use
proper strong nylon non-stretch thread. I have had the same problems
so know exactly what you mean so you certainly have my sympathy! I
have found the best way is to pay a bit more and to go to better
suppliers (I have several I can recommend in the UK if you are
interested as they do mail order…but could be difficult to you in
Maryland). You pay about 125-150% of the price of the badly drilled
ones but I find the time saving makes it worthwhile…depending on how
busy I am too. Good luck! Best wishes, Harriet, Hitchin, UK

Dina, Definately do not leave the beads on the original temporary
string. It is very temporary. Stone beads require pretty tough
"string" because the sharp corners of the holes tend to fray and break
through cotton or silk. Many people won’t even use nylon for the same
reason. Suggestion, go to Fire Mountain Gems or Rio and get their
catalogs. There are many many new stringing materials out there that
will not fray. Tigertail is just one such product. Taking the time
to smooth the drilled holes may seem like a pain in the neck but in
the end you will produce a better quality product. You might want to
consider using a round diamond ball with a Foredom/Dremel. Just a
quick touch would smooth the shoulders. The reamers are fine if you
are enlarging the holes but they will not smooth the edges. You may
also want to consider a small diamond drill for enlargeing the holes
as well. You will not loose as many pieces if you use plenty of water
in the process. Good luck, Don at The Charles Belle Studio where
elegance IS fine jewelry.

Dear Dina: The beads that you buy that are Temp. strung need new
thread, stringing material. There are a lot of substandard beads,
you just have to learn to look at them the same way you look at
Are the holes in the majority of the strand good. If the
majority of the strand is bad, don’t buy them. Is the polish well
done, if not don’t buy them. Time to redo the beads is my time and
money wasted. There are a few good bead suppliers out there with
good quality at reasonable prices. When I go to buy beads, I carry a
loop and try to look at them under the best light possible for
defects. Then I look for the best polish in dull light. If the shine
under normal dull light, they will sparkle in any light. I need at
least 75% of the strand to be usable as bought. You have my sympathy.
The bead industry is a lot like the cut gemstone industry. Grade them
the same way. Marty Galarneau’s Gems