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Lapidary help?
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Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
09/19/2020, 08:14:08

A customer recently purchased a pair of old agate beads from me, and is determined to clean them and enlarge the drill holes.

I've explained that I am doubtful a bead reamer would be appropriate in this situation, recalling an acquaintance who once had a drill bit break off inside a carved amethyst bead.

As to re-polishing the surface, that seems more like something a vibratory tumbler would be needed for.

I recommended she contact the lapidary/mineral clubs in her area to see if anyone had the equipment and would be willing to take on her bead.
San Francisco area.

No, please don't go on about not cleaning old beads until they looks sparkling new. She knows what she wants, and they're her beads now.

AgateBeads_(2).jpg (69.0 KB)  


Modified by beadiste at Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 08:14:57

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Re: Lapidary help?
Re: Lapidary help? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: frank Post Reply
09/19/2020, 10:17:41

To be honest the lapidary clubs are not a great place to find lapidary skills in most cases. It is a sad fact that most skilled lapidary people are vastly more experienced than club members. I am an expert with vibe tumbling and often find that people are not really clear about expectations. An overly conservative approach is always called for in these cases. The person may be happy with what was called the California polish 40 years ago which was a not perfectly prepared ( sanded) stone with a high gloss polish over residual imperfections. This actually approximates much of the 19th century agate work seen in Europe. I would have someone at the club repolish the beads and not resand them and call it good. Very few people are good at re drilling and those who are expect decent compensation so the " rehabilitation " of these beads could be expensive. The last person who came to me for redrilling expected it to cost them less than one dollar per bead. I still laugh about that event.



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I tend to agree with you!
Re: Re: Lapidary help? -- frank Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
09/19/2020, 20:12:39

In general terms I would not try to redrill a bead to enlarge the perforation. This causes breakage—particularly in crystalline minerals, like amethyst. Agate can be tougher.

But my approach, when it is needed, is to abrade the perforation. I use a jewlery saw mounted with very fine blades, or with abrasive line. It is arduous work. But if you have to do it, it is possible.

Jamey



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Thanks, Frank
Re: Re: Lapidary help? -- frank Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
09/20/2020, 13:05:14

I told this gal that quartz was not an easy stone to deal with, that re-drilling required patience, skill, and a lot of lubricant - a bead reamer was not a good option.

She replied that she hadn't had any response from contacting local rock clubs. Judging from what what you've relayed, she was in luck, LOL!

She decided to just live with the bead being as clean as she's been able to get it, and to quit obsessing about it.



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Re: Thanks, Frank
Re: Thanks, Frank -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: frank Post Reply
09/20/2020, 18:36:42

Some clubs have very skilled members but most are people looking to use group machines. Repairing gemstones of any type is a thankless business that most experienced people avoid.



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yes, the quickest way to ruin a bead reamer/broacher is to use it,,,
Re: Lapidary help? -- beadiste Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: stefany Post Reply
09/20/2020, 14:00:11

,,,on a gem bead with a sharp crooked hole...



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