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Tool used for picking stones?


Dear friends,

I want to know the name of the tool used for picking stones when
preparing the hole for setting it. I looked at a Spanish book
written by Carles Codina and they called it “palillo” and it is some
kind of metal piece to with some soft wax ? with charcoal powder
covering it in some kind of pear form. It is used to pick or handle
the stones, diamonds etc. by the " table ". I find this tool very
useful but would also like to know how to do it and what kind of wax
could be used.

Thanks to all,
Thor Hedderich


I don’t believe this question, I was just teaching the very same
demonstration this morning at my setting class here in Toronto,
Canada…here is my honest reply for Thor and all !

First of all I have no idea of this items name, I call it a
"diamond/stone picker-upper", what else would you say???..:>)

It is made of basically a composition of Bee’s Wax and Charcoal You
must first melt with a low torch flame or warm lightly, the Bee’s wax
and have this softened wax mix now with grains of FINE or GRANULATED
charcoal… This can be a burnt wood, I usually find that either
charcoal soldering block residue or burnt wood granules will do just
fine for this method. I will gently roll in the palm of my hand these
two agents. This is one of the most dirtiest things to do in stone
setting, yuk! Once you have mixed these two things together you will
find the Bee’s wax now less sticky.

So assuming this mixture is doing fine, place a sharp nail or used
undercutting bur (156C) bur and prod into this mixture half-way and
this will be now your little handle. This named bur will prevent any
of the slipping out of the wax. AS your warm hand or palm is still
rolling with this item, keep placing the new item again into more
charcoal as NOW you want your new tool to be less sticky as time goes
on. The life of this new tool will last for many months or sometimes
years depending of its size and usage.

Hope al of you understand how this is manufactured, it isn’t a clean
job to make, but lots cheaper than buying it somewhere else for about
$6-10.00 plus the taxes up here. That’s if its available in the
general market…Gerry Lewy!


Hi Thor

I just use bees wax on a stick ( thin dowel ) shaped to a point.



Hello Thor;

I want to know the name of the tool used for picking stones 

Those have sometimes been given the name “booger sticks”. Take some
pure bees wax and mix in a little powdered charcoal or cigarette ash.
This will dirty it up a bit so it is not so sticky. You want to be
able to pick up the stone with it, but still be able, with a quick
twist, to release the stone in the head or hole you’re setting it in.
Form it into a kind of short carrot shape on the end of an old bur or
something. I form mine on a large safety pin so I can hang it on a
nail on my bench for easy retrieval.

David L. Huffman

First of all I have no idea of this items name, I call it a
"diamond/stone picker-upper", what else would you say? 

Charles Lewton-Brain refers to it in his book as a “booger stick”.


I don’t know what it is called, but a while ago I watched the Alan
Revere Goldsmithing video #3 about a pendant with an oval cabochon.
He used one of these sticks with bronze casters wax. I had no idea
where I was gong to come across this at all, but in ther
silversmithing class I teach, in the classroom was about 25 pounds of
this wax, just sitting there not being used. it was purchased
sometime back for a sculpture class that isn’t taught anymore. So I
was able to get what I needed for my class and personal use and they
still had more than 24 pounds left over. So if you are near a bronze
caster or an art class, you might be able to get some from them.

in cool and snowless MT, waiting for the last big storm before the
glacier lilies start to bloom.



It’s microcrystaline wax; the brown stuff often associated with


This question made me laugh. We always call this item "booger"
because that’s what it looks like.



I couldn’t find beeswax at 7-11 so instead I use an old broken bur
milled down to an almost sharp point and pink sheet wax (used for was
carving) it is sticky enough. Heat it slightly with a lighter or blow
torch and make your booger. :slight_smile: By the way-- if it gets too sticky
the first time you use it… drop it into your cattch pan. The filings
in it will unsticky it.

Stanley Bright
A&M Jewelers
Baltimore, MD


Bee’s wax is not necessarily found at any 7-11, you should try some
of your own trade tool suppliers. But you gotta mix it (when found)
with charcoal. This charcoal will prevent the continued ‘sticky’ and
shedding of wax while you are using it to pick up the stones. Now
you don’t want to have little stones covered in wax, do you? When you
don’t know where to find charcoal, buy a little charcoal,
soldering-pad and scrape off a little and mix it all in your palm of
your hand…voila! its ready for many, many months of constant use.

If you decide to use a blow torch to heat it up, you might find it
all in your bench pan and being out of shape. Your heat of your hand
is sufficient to shaping to your liking. Another point of interest,
is to apply all of the stuff to a large old 156C, under-cutting bur
or Round bur, so the ‘stuff’ wont slide off during use…