1. Would the thin wall 14k beads be too fragile to use in a
necklace using large, heavy glass or stone beads and would they be
too fragile for a bracelet? 2. Would a thin wall bead cut through
silk if I use silk as a stringing material? Any advice would be
Hello Dan T., I have used 3mm light-wall smooth 14K beads in
necklaces between 8mm stone beads like lapis. They do sort of
squash as time goes on, but have not dented (so far as I know),
probably because they’re smaller than the larger beads.
Bracelets are another story. I'm not sure that even the
extra-heavy- wall 14K beads can take the potential banging to which a
bracelet is subjected. My daughter “road-tests” things for me. She
wore such a bracelet strung on 14K chain for about a week before the
lighter weight beads were noticeably dinged. Corrugated beads were
My mentor, James Cook, gave me a time-consuming way to reinforce
the thin-walled gold beads. It might also reduce the likelihood
that the stringing cord would be cut by the metal edge of the bead’s
hole. Here goes: You need 2-part epoxy, several syringes with large
gauge needles, child’s modeling clay, and appropriately sized drill
1. Mash some clay onto a table top. Push one hole of the gold
bead lightly into the clay. You have plugged one hole of the bead
and stabilized the bead in an upright position. Set up all your
beads this way.
2. Remove the needles from the syringes. (If the needle is long,
it might be useful to carefully cut it off to 10mm or so, making
sure the needle is open.) Mix up some epoxy and suck it into the
syringe barrel. Replace the needle. Work QUICKLY.
3. Insert the end of the needle in the bead and fill it with
epoxy. Moving quickly, fill as many beads as you can until the
epoxy begins to harden. Repeat step 2. until all beads are filled.
(Now you understand why several syringes are necessary)
4. Let the epoxy harden.
5. Using a drill bit the same size as the bead holes, drill
straight through the hardened epoxy from one hole to the other.
This would work best if you had a drill press.
6. String as usual.
I’m sure someone can think of a better method to obtain a hole
through the bead. Just remember that one end of the bead needs to
be plugged well to contain the epoxy.
Hope this is useful. I have a necklace with 8mm thin-walled 14K
beads between lapis beads. 25 years later, no dents. Judy in
Kansas, where it’s time to plant potatoes and peas. I’m working
hard to get my new strawberry patch ready for planting.
Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506