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Drilling beads


Hello. I’m a home hobbyist who thought it would be fun to make my
own semi-precious beads…pbbhhhhtt. I bought a rock tumbler and
several kinds of rough. The best I’ve come up with for drilling the
holes is diamond-coated 3/32" bits in a Dremel, and even though I
performed the entire operation with the stone (tiger iron jasper,
Mohs 7-8, I think) immersed in water for lubrication, I burned
through two bits to make one 8mm long hole. The smallest regular
masonry bits I could find were 3/16", a big hole for a bead. Without
making a massive investment, is there a better way to do this? Are
these bits just not up to snuff? What kind of investment would be
required to do it right? Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Novalina, You should check the Orchid archives for a lot more
about drilling in stones. But…here are a few little
things you need to know.

If you are drilling such long holes and many of them…you best use
sintered diamond bits…not coated. The coated are fine for a
little job here and there but they wear out quickly. The sintered
are quite a bit more expensive but will last a long time if used with

When drilling, you need to use an in/out motion. You must
completely remove the drill from the hole every few seconds to allow
the water to go to the bottom of the hole and wash out the swarth.
That might be difficult in a long hole so one thing you can do is to
drill half way from one end and then drill from the other the other.

Otherwise, you seemed to have a good grasp of what needed to be
done. Keep at it. If you want to do a LOT of holes, look into
purchasing a sonic drill. Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio
in SOFL where it is already summer and where simple elegance IS fine
jewelry! @coralnut1