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Mixing Beeswax with Charcoal

I have read about mixing beeswax with powdered charcoal before
using it to hold or pull stones. I have not had much success
with this. I don’t know if I am using too much or too little
charcoal. Any hints on this?

Larry Silva
Da Gama Designs

It won’t pull stones. It’s merely a pickup tool. The idea is
that beeswax alone, is a bit sticky enough so that stones tend to
stay stuck just a little too well. Even pure beeswax is stiff
enough, though, that it won’t actually pull a stone well. To
place stones in a setting, wax is often used to pick up the
stones, and you want it to just stick enough to lift, dropping
back off the moment you twist it just a little with the stone in
it’s seat, and you’d like it not to leave much residue on the
stone. Mixing a little charcoal with the wax reduces it’s
stickyness, getting it to work that way. Doesn’t take much.
Add a little at a time, kneading it together and trying it. Stop
adding charcoal when you can get small stones to drop off easily
enough. You get the same thing if you simply use pure beeswas
for a while. Ordinary dirt from your fingers, bench, wherever,
getting imbedded into the wax bit, will also do the job after a


Hi Larry, Yes, for me it still the best way to hold stones. Only
beeswax is to sticky and it let parts of wax on the stones. To do
it: roll and heat a ball of beeswax in the hollow of your hand
(big as the diameter of a penny) until it is soft and smooth (it
can take 3 to 4 minutes) then roll it in powder of charcoal
(sometimes I use charcoal drawing) and roll it again between your
fingers, try it on a stone, put more charcoal until you feel
that you can drop the stone just with a little twist of the wax.
The best way to use it is to roll it between your fingers to make
it pointed and grab the stone with the point. After a year, when
it is full of gold and not sticky you drop it in recuparation.

Vincent Guy Audette
in Quebec City where we already feeeeelllll the winter coming.

Larry: This is one of the oldest & best methods to manipulate
smaller stones (sepecially diamonds.) I was tought this many
years ago as a beginner. You simply take a small metal can (watch
materila cans work well) and melt the proper amount of beeswax,
shave off just enough charcoal to color and mix. Allow to cool,
scrape it out and form your stick in a sort of cone shape. I
find it handy to attach an old burr as a handle. Best of luck;


I use this stuff that florists use, its a really sticky
kneadable stuff sold in rolls and it WILL pull stones and is
great for picking stones up etc. If anyone is interested I’ll
have to ask my wife where she gets it…Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World
Crystalguy Jewelry
Recumbent Cyclist’s Advocacy Group

G’day; But why use charcoal? what’s wrong with a tiny bit of
talcum powder or even chalk dust? Not messy enough? :slight_smile: A tiny
piece of double-sided Sellotape on the end of a piece of dowel
works too. To pick up curved surfaces like cabs, cut off a
tiny bit of rubber and glue it with rubber cement to a dowel end,
then put the bit of double-sided tape on that. Simply replace it
with a new piece when it doesn’t pick up too well. Cheers,

       / \
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   /  /                                
 /  /__| \      @John_Burgess2

At sunny Nelson NZ

Hi Peter, I’m sort of coming in half-way through this thread, so
excuse me if this has been mentioned already - I use
Blutac/Startac/whatevertac to pick up stones. I use it on the
end of an old burr shaft but a matchstick or cocktail stick might
be more appropriate. Being very flexible stuff it’s
pickup/release characteristics are easily controlled by the
amount of pressure used at pickup. It gets dirty though and needs
replacing every now and then.

I used it when I found that, in my locale, I couldn’t readily
obtain beeswax and I was, as usual, in a hurry.


Kerry McCandlish Jewellery - Celtic and Scottish styles
Commission/Custom Work undertaken…
Katunayake, Creagorry, Isle of Benbecula, HS7 5PG SCOTLAND
Tel: +44 1870-602-677 Fax: +44 1870-602-956 Mobile: +44 850-059-162