Jewelry drilling safety tips and techniques

Important jewelry drilling safety tips and techniques that every jewelry designer should know are explained by guest blogger Joe Smith from The Bead Traders.

Jewelry has long been a highlight of the culture and structure of ancient civilizations.

Jewelry-making dates back 3,000-4,000 years, and the resulting pieces have been used by historians to connect civilizations to their culture’s fashion style and period.

These pieces of art and history tell historians about the ways and lives of the people who wore them, almost as much as fossilized bones and other artifacts provide the same information.

The jewelry trends today are ever-changing, yet still they represent the same things as jewelry from other cultures of the past. Jewelry is still a form of art, a form of expression by the creator and the person who wears it.

A variety of beads for jewelry

Jewelry can tell a story, just like it did in the past, except the stories are current to the people and society of today. You can find innovative and exotic forms of jewelry with beads, gemstones and crystals for almost every pallet in many different stores and online shops. It’s literally everywhere!

Important safety tips and techniques for jewelry drilling

by Joe Smith

Many people give and receive jewelry as a gift, whether it’s for a holiday or for no specific reason at all. With jewelry being as prominent in today’s culture and business as it is, many people have taken to creating their own jewelry.

Jewelry drilling is commonly used in jewelry-making to add decoration by inserting small holes for decoration or to situate another part of the jewelry, such as wiring, into the piece.

Whether it’s for a small jewelry business or a jewelry-making hobby, there are 8 important safety tips and techniques that every jewelry maker should know and use.

Wear the right protection

As with any craft or trade, wearing the right protection is always the first step in ensuring a safe and successful job.

  • Goggles: Jewelry drilling is often done with a rotating drilling machine. Its fast rotations lead to flying bits of jewelry and debris, so it’s important to wear goggles for eye protection while drilling.
  • Gloves: Jewelry makers wear latex gloves or leather finger guards during the drilling process. Alternatively, you can use finger tape for a more flexible feel.
  • Proper Lighting: Make sure to drill in a well-lit area to allow for optimum vision and control on the piece and the drill.

Gather the right supplies

Usually, the drilling process for beads and jewelry pieces is the same and use these common items:

  • Some kind of drill
  • Something to keep your piece stable
  • A shallow container of water, under which the actual drilling happens. Water keeps the drill tip from overheating, and also cleans off any stone debris while working on the piece.
  • A buffer between your piece and the bottom of the water container, so you don’t accidentally drill a hole into it.

Start with a dent

A good technique to use before jewelry drilling is to make a dent or mark in the area of the piece where the hole will be made. This dent serves as a guide for when you’re ready to make the actual hole. When you make the dent, use a much smaller bit to test out where the hole should go. Dents can be made with a variety of tools, including an automatic center punch or prick punch and an engraver.

The key to making a good dent or mark is to use a very small and precise tip. This is beneficial because you can easily move the position of the hole once it’s made, as long as it’s small. Moving the hole a few millimeters is all it takes to get it into a perfect position, if done correctly.

Jewelry Drilling Tools

Choose the right drill for the job

If you’re drilling a wooden bead, any drill will do to go straight through the piece. But drilling gemstone beads is more about grinding the stone away to make a hole, rather than just going straight through it. Make sure to use the appropriate drill to avoid scarring the piece. Afterward, a variety of different tools can be used to buff and polish the finished piece.

Keep your piece stable

Keeping your piece stable is important to making a clean-cut and accurate design. There are lots of different ways to keep your piece stable.

  • Use putty to hold it in place and reduce the chance of the stone breaking off or chipping in the back when the drill pushes through the end.
  • Use a block of wood slightly larger than your piece that’s lined with foam, this also serves the same purpose as the putty.
  • Invest in a drill that come with a stand and includes a piece that holds your stone in place during the process.

Use a small tip

It takes more than a steady hand to move your drill through your piece in an efficient and stable manner. But this is also another key to getting that perfect hole. The first thing to do is to use a smaller tip at the beginning of the drilling process. The small tip slowly opens up the hole and reduces the chance of the drill getting caught or scratching the material. Once the hole is made go back a second time with a bigger bit to enlarge the size.

Let the drill do the work

It may be tempting to push the drill into the stone and help along the process, but that does more harm than good. Working slowly and patiently allows the drill to gently shed away the stone, instead of leaving a jagged mess. You only need to guide the drill to let it do its job; no extra force is required.

Exotic Jewelry Necklaces

Increase your control

Maintaining control over your drill is the make-or-break point in every jewelry maker’s career. If you can’t control your drill, the jewelry will suffer. Improving your skills on practice objects is the best way to increase control and efficiency with your drill.

You can buy accessories for your drill to increase stability. Add-ons like a foot control lever help to keep the drilling process hands-free, as well as give you control over the speed and intensity of the drill.

Create what you love

All of the above jewelry drilling tips combine to bring you closer to creating the jewelry you love to make in an efficient and safe way.

Leave a comment with any other important tips!

Win free beads for jewelry making #Giveaway

Win free beads for jewelry making by entering my giveaway!

While I was reorganizing I came across many beads that I am probably not going to use. So I have decided to hold a giveaway.

There are several ways to enter. Choose to do one entry or complete all of the tasks for several entries in the Rafflecopter Giveaway below. It’s so simple and easy 🙂

Please share with your friends!

Win Free Beads
Assorted beads in the giveaway, enter below.

GIVEAWAY – Win free beads!

Beads in the Giveaway listed below:

(Please note that this is only open to residents of the USA. That means I will only ship these free beads to an address in the United States!)

  • Strand of large Aragonite (N) chips
  • Bag of Himalayan River Stone (N) (a 16 inch broken strand)
  • Strand of Green Cat Eye 5mm
  • Strand of Clear Cracked Glass 6mm
  • Mixed Cane glass
  • Strand of rectangle smokey beads (not sure what they are)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jewelry making supplies galore!

My favorite place to shop for beads and jewelry making supplies is Fire Mountain Gems! They always have great products and prices!

Fire Mountain Gems has just about anything you can imagine for bead stringing, wire wrapping, pearl knotting, and other jewelry related crafts.

They always have something on sale, and something new too!

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads has been around since 1973, and is very dependable. There have been a few times where I have gotten something a little cheaper somewhere else and then regretted it because the quality wasn’t as good as Fire Mountain.

Fire Mountain Gems Beads

Jewelry Making Supplies and more!

Not only does Fire Mountain Gems have a gazillion beads and jewelry making supplies, they also provide lots of free information and resources:

  • Inspiration
  • Instructions and Tutorials
  • References and Charts
  • Articles and so much more!

Last but not least… Great Customer Service

Fire Mountain Gems has great customer service. I have only had to call with a problem once or twice in the 15 years or so I have been a customer. When I did call their customer service department I was very pleased with the care and attention given to me to resolve my problem.

My advice is to check them out!

Valentine hearts earrings are easy to make

These Valentine Hearts earrings are so easy to make! Whether you want to wear them at the office for Valentine’s Day or give them as a gift, handmade earrings are at the top of the list.

Valentine hearts earrings

Easy to make Valentine Hearts earrings

It will literally take you longer to pick out the beads you want to use, than to make theses gorgeous earrings! Just three simple steps and you are done!

  1. Slip the beads onto a headpin
  2. Make a loop at the top
  3. Attach to an ear wire

So easy and so beautiful, and they will be cherished for years to come.

Click here for a materials list from Fire Mountain Gems

Don’t want to make anything?

If you don’t have time to make anything then below is a lovely pair of Gold filled Valentine Heart Earrings that are already made and ready to ship!

Gold Heart Earrings
Gold Filled Heart Earrings by Bead Lovers Korner

Just click on the photo or here and you can purchase them from my Etsy Shop. But these are one of a kind so hurry before they are gone!

These Valentine’s Day earrings are made with all Gold filled parts and unique Rosaline Gold Swarovski crystal beads. Shipping is FREE on these earrings also!

Whether you make them yourself or buy them already made, earrings with hearts are always great gift ideas for women at this time of year.

Style definition for Etsy listing attributes

Here you will find a style definition or guide for each of the style types that are optional attributes in the sell on etsy form.

They used to drive me crazy! There used to be like 50 of them and I didn’t know or remember most of them! Thankfully with the new updates there are only like 11 styles so they are much easier to remember.

Sometimes I still have to look them up though, so I decided to make this style definition list.

According to Etsy these styles are optional and not necessary, but when you are trying to be found on and improve sales on Etsy every thing counts!

Style definition for Etsy listing form

  1. Art Deco  – rich colors, geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation
  2. Art Nouveau  – curved lines, flowery
  3. Avant Garde  – Experimental & innovative designs
  4. Boho  – Bohemian gypsy “floaty” style clothes, boots, folksy
  5. Brutalist – This must be based on the Brutalist architecture which emerged in the 1950s-1970s. From the French word ‘brut’ which meant raw, and was mainly unornamented concrete made to project a feeling of strength.
  6. Celtic – There isn’t a really good definition of this style, but generally this art has a lot of spirals, swirls, triskelles. Typically from Ireland, Britain and Scotland.
  7. Edwardian – Very similar to Victorian style however clothing was a little more relaxed and hem lines were shorter, this time period was very brief
  8. Gothic – From the European late middle ages where architecture was full of columns and the use of repetitive geometric shapes with flourish (thinking of a cathedral). The modern Goth is a sub-genre of Gothic styles and is mainly characterized with the use of all black clothing, nails, hair, etc. But it can be colorful using dark and dramatic hues.
  9. Mid Century – Pure 1950s! Everything that was modern and clean lined in the 1950s. Soft colors such as lemon yellow, aqua, baby pink and sea green are used. There’s not much pattern but when there is it’s usually shaped like atoms, kidneys, arrowheads and boomerangs. Dior’s ‘new look’ (despite it being 1947!) and the TV show Mad Men are perfect examples. A lot of stuff that’s mid-mod is also called Eames era and atomic age.
  10. Minimalist – following the mantra ‘less is more’, this is modern with the most simple terms. Natural materials, stainless steel, straight lines, smooth textures, functional. Minimalist style contains objects and fashion that does little more than serve it’s function, all adornment is shunned.
  11. Victorian – Anything modeled to the last half of the 19th century is ‘pure’ Victorian, with the high peak being 1860s – 1880s. Though the Victorians were mad for color, Victorian style now is usually the ornate, lace-and-beaded black-on-black that was popular in the 1880s – 1890s, with high button boots, lace cuffs and cameo jewelry.

If you are looking for a style that isn’t shown, then checkout this list I came across on the Etsy forums, which has all 50 of the ones that used to be in the sell on etsy form. This list of attributes was done by sparrowsalvage several years ago, and I have incorporated some of her definitions also.

Zombies, bats, and gargoyle beads for Halloween Jewelry

Zombies, bats and gargoyles, oh my! Creepy jewelry beads are a must in Halloween jewelry. These awesome beads from Green Girl Studios are perfect for Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of the year and I love all of the ghostly and ghastly costumes, horror movies, and wearing spooky jewelry to work and parties.

So if you are thinking about making something new this year, check out these really cool beads from Green Girl Studios.

Halloween-bats-bead
Green Girl Studios Halloween bat bead, Photo Copyright © 2015 Bead Lovers Korner

Bats, Zombies, Gargoyles and Skull beads for Halloween jewelry ideas

I have accumulated a nice collection beads and jewelry making supplies that are perfect for Halloween ideas! Great for jewelry designs or other Halloween crafts. This Halloween Bat bead is the perfect touch for making something creepy for Halloween!

Zombies beads
Zombie bead by Green Girls Studios, Photo Copyright © 2015 Bead Lovers Korner

Zombies, walkers or undead anyone?

This zombie bead is so detailed and just an awesome bead for Halloween or anytime really. Great for fans of the popular “The Walking Dead” or “Fear the Walking Dead” TV series or any other horror flick with zombies.

Gargoyle bead
Green Girl Studios Gargoyle bead, Photo Copyright © 2015 Bead Lovers Korner

Gargoyles

The actual use of Gargoyles was meant to scare off evil spirits and be a form of protection, but these gargoyle beads are still really freaky looking and are a great addition to Halloween jewelry.

Skull Bead
Green Girl Studios Smiling Skull bead, Photo Copyright © 2015 Bead Lovers Korner
And don’t forget about skulls!

Halloween would not be complete without skull beads! Skulls conjure up ideas of death and are scary looking to many people. However skulls were also traditionally used as a form of protection and to scare off bad spirits.

Please Note: Green Girl Beads DO NOT FIT ON PANDORA bracelets.

All of these really cool Green Girl Studios beads are made of pewter and the beads are fairly large, so they would be perfect as a focal bead or pendant, plus they are really affordable since Pewter is a lot less expensive than Sterling Silver.

Green Girl Studios beads, pendants, charms, clasps, and findings are available at Bead Lovers Korner Etsy Shop.