Q: I recently purchased some lovely floral carved 'Bone Beads'. I wanted them to have an "antique" appearance, so I soaked them in tea water to color them. Now the beads have a terrible odor that I can smell when I'm wearing them in the necklace that I made with just 5 of them. Any suggestions as to how to get rid of this terrible odor?

A: By getting them soaking wet, you made them grow bacteria. Bone is a natural substance, a natural base for germs, so you don't want to soak them. I'm not sure there's anything you can do to kill the bacteria that won't also destroy the bead. Perhaps you could swab the beads with an achohol pad (or vinegar to kill the smell perhaps?). Another possibility is to place the beads on a sheet of foil and place them out in the sun. That might "sterilize" them. I'm not sure how this will affect the structure of the beads, though. Oh, and in the future, brown ink (like 'Higgins') will do a bang up job of antiqueing bone! If the bone smells bad because it has grown bacteria, you should be able to kill the bacteria by microwaving them. Just ten seconds in the microwave will kill oral bacteria, so you probably won't have to microwave them for more than 10-20 seconds. "Cooking" them in the microwave has been suggested by several people. I will give it a try to see if that will help. I hate to give up on these beads without a struggle. Not only were they expensive, but they are very lovely when worked up with colored glass beads and gold 'Heishi' bead separators. I've also written to the company that I purchased the beads from to see if they had any suggestions. I can't believe that I'm the only one having problems with these beads.