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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/using waxed nylon cord to string semi-precisous stone bracelet


Hello Thomas,

I have a question on what type of cords to use while making bracelet with semi-prescious stones. I've read some site said that semi-precious stone may cut the cord after you string them, depending on the type of cords you use.. Is waxed nylon strong enough to hold semi-precious stones(amethyst, rose quartz,etc)? how about hemp?

Also, after reading through different sites, as a trial I also decided to try using extreme soft flex craft beading wire(heavy-medium-fine 24k gold & sterling silver). My another question is , do  I need to separate and get a new cutter when cutting synthetic(?) cord?  I  currently have one cutter that I always use when I use half round gold filled wires, but some site said synthetic may ruin the blade and all.. I am bit confused by this. Please give me your input.

Happy holidays and I look forward to your input!


Dear Seunghu,  Beading is not my area of expertise but I believe I have an answer for you.

The problem with stone beads is the drilling which often leaves sharp edges to the holes ans that will eventually cut through most bead cord.  Metal cord is less apt to be cut through but will wear from the bead hole edges.

Cutting cord should not be a problem with your cutters. Try cutting nylon cord and see how it does. What you most likely do not want to cut is "memory wire" and other metallic cords which might be harder than soft sterling, gold or gold filled wire.  Most man-made cord is like nylon and fishing line, even the stretch type. These cords are not going to damage cutters working well with sterling and other soft metals.

Hemp is a wonderful fiber for many uses. It is longer lasting than many plant fiber cords. However, the wear and tear will still happen as long as the bead holes are sharp.
What is needed is to smooth the bead holes.  The link below shows reamers with diamond abrasive surfaces made for reaming the hole ends. This in effect tapers the holes edges, removing the sharpness of the stone.  These are also called "broach" but google breathes hard searching for anything with broach in the name..pulling up jewelry brooches mostly.  Use "bead reamer" and "diamond bead reamer" for best results.  

Using water as a lubricant, the reamer is turned in the hole end and if small enough may sometimes be run back and forth in the hole.  Lots of work? Indeed it is for lots of beads.  So, you need reamers made for electric hand tools like a variable speed Dremel™ tool.  Sears and other small tool suppliers around the world sell such tools. Variable speed is needed to keep from damaging the tool or the stone while a light touch is applied to the hole end, keeping it wet to lubricate and cool.

The company shown has such tools. They are also helpful and only a phone call away for advice. Try the link.,-

Hand tool:

It is not so much the cord used as the sharp hole ends in stone beads.

Seunghu, I wish you joy, peace and heavenly blessings. If you have more to ask, do not hesitate to use a follow-up to get back with me.  Thomas.

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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