How To Put A Hole Through Tumbled Stone.

Q: I love the look of largish tumbled stones, especially clear ones, used as beads. Can you tell me how to go about drilling holes in these?

A: If you are just talking of doing a few what you need is a diamond tipped drill bit of the right size, and what works best, is a flexible shaft with a drill press atachment. The reason being, you will be using water with it, and using a 'Dremle' or hand drill gets electricity and water a little close for safty. It will take a while, but the object is to keep drilling in the same place. Keep feeding it water with a small brush trying to not let the slug get to a toothpastey consistency. If the drill gets too hot, the glue melts and the diamond dust falls off. Be careful when you drill holes in tumbled stones, as some of them will produce dust that can be dangerous. If the dust is fine enough, it's dangerous for your lungs, even if it's not otherwise toxic. Do all your drilling underwater and be careful in how you dispose of the sludge from the drilling. They're called beggar beads, 'Fire Mountain' has them, $5.02 each 28" strand, or $2.97 per strand if you buy 6 strands, or more. Page 17 of their regular catalog, item lH3535GS Call them at 800 355-2137. Their website is http://www.firemountaingems.com. I don't know if you can order them from the website. The problem is, clear stones ARE the pricey ones - emerald, sapphire, diamond.....the "semi-precious" ones tend to be solid-looking, but you might look for: rose quartz, rock crystal, aquarmarine, sometimes citrine is affordable, flourite usually is (although, unless this pin weighs about a pound ;-}, the acutal cost of the stones is prob less than 1/10 of the price you quoted).