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Drilling Kunzite


#1

Dear Forum:

Wow I am so excited to know this exists!

I have a piece of uncut Kunzite [hardness 6.5-7.0] that is 8cm x 3
cm x l cm.

I want to drill through the l cm side to make a pendant out of this
rather than wire wrap it.

I made approximately zero progress using a diamond bit [not
submersed] for an hour.

Asked local jewelers if they could drill for a price and they said
they could not.

Is there someplace I could send this that would reliably drill it
for a price?

Or could someone recommend what equipment I would need to accomplish
this?

Alternatively I was thinking of casting a silver cap and gluing the
stone into it if the general consensus is that it is not drillable. I
do have some kunzite barrel beads that appear to be drilled.

Any counsel would be greatly appreciated.

With respect,
Bob Sheeler
Design by D. Rabbit


#2

Bob,

Kunzite cleaves very easily, and there is a very good chance it
won’t survive drilling. Glued cap is the right answer.

Wayne


#3

Hi Bob,

I’m with Wayne all the way on that one:

the experience of trying to drill Kunzite would probably closeley
resemble trying to hammer Waterford Crystal stemware into a tree
trunk. But before you attempt to epoxy the bell cap Wayne recommended
into place, I’d suggest you consider using the edge of one of your
fine (i.e. 600 grit) sanding sticks to scuff up the polish at the
bonding site, a little. This will give the glue more “tooth”, as the
saying goes – a little better purchase on the Kunzite’s surface.

Best, Doug
Douglas Turet, G.J.,
Turet Design, LLC
P.O. Box 242
Avon, MA 02322-0242
Tel: (508) 586-5690
Fax: (508) 586-5677


#4

To Doug or Wayne

Just out of curiousity, wouldn’t an ultrasonic drill do the trick?
Maybe with some patience.

michaela


#5

There are varying sizes of “Triple Ripple” Diamond drill bits to
use…starting with the tiniest, working under water with the
Foredom, working up through the next size, next size, etc., to the
desired size of the hole. Rio has them. I drill petrified wood, dino
bone, sugilite, etc. to make piggy back arrangements. Michael Boyd
had a Step by Step in Lapidary Journal in March or April of 2005 on
the subject. No one ever mentions Michael, but he has been one of my
best instructors. Gotta mention that I learned a ton from Harold
O’Connor also.

Rose


#6
Just out of curiousity, wouldn't an ultrasonic drill do the trick?
Maybe with some patience. 

Have you ever used an ultrasonic drill?


#7
Have you ever used an ultrasonic drill? 

An ultrasonic drill (I for one have used one) can drill anything in
any shape. The issue, as some of our lapidaries have pointed out, is
that Kunzite is what I call “crispy”. It will cleave and fracture at
any given moment. It can literally just snap. Even if you got a hole,
the stress from putting a post-ed cap through it probably WILL break
off the top after some time. It’s one of the most fracturable stones
around.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8
There are varying sizes of "Triple Ripple" Diamond drill bits to
use...starting with the tiniest, working under water with the
Foredom, working up through the next size, next size, etc., to the
desired size of the hole. Rio has them. 

I looked in my Rio catalog, wanting to know what "tripple ripple"
was-- and I recently tried to drill an Apache tear with a diamond
core drill, and it split right in half-- but saw nothing that fit
the description. Do you mean twist drills?

Noel


#9

Hi Noel

OOPS - Just checked my supply of triple ripples…there isn’t a Rio
label on the package, so…I must have purchased them from Santa Fe
Jeweler’s Supply…stock #,s 601, 602, 603, 604, and 605
(handwritten on sacks). There is one sack of the diamond drills
assortment, listed in Rio, however. The items with Stock Numbers do
the trick fantastically.

From notes from Michael’s class: Crystal Right Triple Ripple -
Diamond Pacific… also, Color-wright.com (Tucson, AZ) and
LascoDiamond.com (internet) Diamond impregnated mandrels

Rose


#10
I looked in my Rio catalog, wanting to know what "tripple ripple"
was- 

The triple ripple is a Crystalite product


#11

Michaela, I don’t know if your suggestion is farfetched.

Having read postings on Kunzite, (I have no experience with this
material); working it seems to be fraught with hazzards.

It’s not particularly hard 6.5-7 HM, but after reviewing Sinkansas’
entry on Spodumene it might be tricky to handle. But I would think
someone like Wayne Emery and other cutters, might have specific
advice.

“Just out of curiousity, wouldn’t an ultrasonic drill do the trick?
Maybe with some patience” is vague. I would hope that one states
whether they have direct experience. Perhaps something like “I’ve
used an ultrasonic to drill a hole in Kunzite”.

Last year at Tucson I saw a man who used to be the owner of Contempo
Lapidary (sold out to Diamond Pacific). He was at Tucson Electric
Park, the same tent as Alpha and others. He nows sells modestly
priced ultrasonic drills. I was looking for a more efficient, read
quicker, way to drill holes in stone. As i remember he said for
smaller holes diamond drills were more appropriate. I’m sorry but I
don’t recall the specifics.

For anyone interested it’s likely he’ll be there again.


#12
It's not particularly hard 6.5-7 HM, but after reviewing Sinkansas'
entry on Spodumene it might be tricky to handle. But I would think
someone like Wayne Emery and other cutters, might have specific
advice. 

Well, for what it’s worth, I DO have some advice: “Forget drilling
Kunzite”. If it survives the drilling (doubtful) it will not long
survive anything yanking around inside the drill hole.

Really, don’t waste your time.

Wayne Emery


#13
There are varying sizes of "Triple Ripple" Diamond drill bits to
use...starting with the tiniest, working under water with the
Foredom, working up through the next size, next size, etc., to the
desired size of the hole. Rio has them. 

Triple Ripple is a product of Crystalite. The bit, at the point, has
3 lobes. There are sold in sizes 0.75, 1.1, 1.4, 1.8, and 2.1mm. Item
numbers start with 302-DDTR__.

Dan, Indian Jewelers Supply Co.
www.ijsinc.com


#14

Hi all,

I’m in Tucson with webmail problems for my own account so this comes
through the courtesy of Carol Bova.

Bill Ritter the ultrasonic drill man will indeed be in Tucson, with
Alpha Supply at the Electric Park Show. Bill will also be giving a
presentation on drilling holes in gem materials at the Electric Park
Learning Center. Check the “schedule” page of the Learning Center
web site - electricparklearningcenter.com.

If you wanted to bring a piece of kunzite very likey Bill could test
its “drillability” right there on the spot.

Cheers,
Hans Durstling
In Tucson at last after 3,700 miles on the road


#15

An ultrasonic drill can drill ANYTHING. The tool does not touch the
work, it vibrates grit ultrasonically against the work. It can drill
square holes, star shaped holes. Put a die on the tip and it will
carve out a cameo, as they do in Idar. It is a wonder machine, but
even the bargain machines aren’t cheap. And you can’t do cameos and
such with the little ones, that takes power.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com