Does anyone know where to purchase stone beads with larger holes? I
wish to work with beads and leather, but most genuine, semi-precious
stone beads have tiny holes that won't accommodate leather cord.
When I search for large hole beads online, I find the ones with
sterling silver centers. Those are too large and they look different
than regular beads.
Has anyone found a good source or is there really no such thing?
Bobby W. Baker
I forgot to mention, you'll be able to filter those search results
on FMG by selectiong options on the left hand menu. I think the other
places might have similar options as well. Or just get happy
scrolling through the list of items.... :)
Bobby- The holes in precious and semi precious gem beads can be so
Often larger on one end and tapering to way too small on the other
end. I just keep a set of little diamond drills on hand to ream them
out. Take your time and go very slow. Be sure to go in from both
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Easy enough to re drill them with diamond drill bits of the size you
want. Need water as a lubricant. A small drill press works great if
you have one.
If you are only looking for one bead at a time, you can drill out the
hole to be bigger, if you purchase beads with enough room to drill.
Check with Diamond Pacific, they will have the drill bits to
accomplish this and they are very helpful over the phone.
I feel your pain, Bobby! I've been offering semi precious beads on
my horsehair jewelry for a number of years, but the majority are
beads that I've had to drill out myself. My pieces require bead holes
of 4 to 5 mm, which means a fairly large bead to start with. The most
difficult part of drilling out these beads to sufficient diameter is
finding decent bits in the larger sizes. I prefer cone shaped bits,
rather than core drills. Lasco Diamond Products has wide selection
of sizes and shapes.
As Rebecca pointed out, Fire Mountain Gems does carry large hole
gemstone beads, without metal cores. Check out their Dione
Linda in central FL
I set up to drill stone with a $79 drill press that you see on
several jewelry tool websites. I originally bought very expensive
Crystalite bits and promptly destroyed several before I figured out
how to use them. I have gone to a less expensive diamond plated twist
drill from Kingsley North and they work well. For me the trick was to
also buy a good lapidary drill press vise. I did make one first out
of PVC board material and common hardware. It works fine, but I
wanted a vise. They are also in several tool catalogs. Finally, I
took and old baking pan and plumbed it with a tool coolant delivery
hose so that I can direct a constant flow of water to the spot that I
am drilling. I put the press and vise into the pan to collect the
coolant. I run at high speed and, using very little pressure, plunge
the drill bit at a rate of about one plunge per second. If you see
the drill bit light up from friction you have wrecked it, so take
your time and don't use any more pressure than you need to make
progress. Obviously, you don't move the vise once the bit is engaged.
If you plan to drill all the way through, drill from both directions
so that you don't break out around the hole. Keep only the amount of
drill bit needed to drill your hole exposed, keep the rest inside the
drill chuck. This is frustrating to learn, but once you do, it is
really easy. There is a good description of how to do this on the
Crystalite website. Good luck. Rob