Thursday, August 26, 2010

Interesting Follow-up to the Handout Post

I had just put Sawyer to bed and I began straightening up the living room when I saw this bead on the floor.

Golly, that looks just like one of the beads I used in the bracelet I photographed for the Jewelry Making Basics handout revision that I blogged about Wednesday.

I thought to myself, "Golly, that looks just like one of the beads I used in the bracelet I photographed for my Jewelry Making Basics handout revision."

I was a little more confused when I then saw this.

Um ... I did NOT have that many beads left over from that bracelet.

Since the bracelet was meant to be on display at the store I got the beads from the store, not my stash, and only took just enough to do the bracelet. One extra bead mysteriously appearing I could have shrugged off, but three beads? I did not have that many extra beads. I asked myself, "Did you see Sawyer by the table where you put the bracelet?" I ruminated. "ARrrrGh! Yes." So, now I was on a mission. Where are the rest of the beads? Worse - why did it break?

Why did it break? That was the critical question. I just posted a blog about why I was so angry about other people's work being substandard and the bracelet I photographed for the handout THAT I BLOGGED ABOUT broke. BROKE! Shite. Now, more than the rest of the beads, I NEED to find the stringing cable they were on. Where is the rest of the bracelet?

Important aside here: Sawyer is a bright little boy (note to self: thinking that marrying a smart boy with whom to have smart babies ... yeeeeaaaah. Not as wise as originally believed.). This bright little boy likes to play a game called Hide. Hide and Seek? No. Just, "Hide". Finding the beads, then, was a mixed blessing. I was relieved to win this round of Sawyer's game, but was very nervous about examining the find.

I found it! It wasn't a crimp!

I did a prayer of thanks to a blasphemous number of Beings to both find a small pile of beads and the stringing cable together. Most importantly? The clasp was still connected, the crimps and jump rings were still in tact. The stringing cable was cleanly broken in the middle. Culprit? Badly drilled natural stone.

The fact that the bracelet broke is not good, but I was relieved for two reasons. One, the ends were well-finished and not at fault. Two, in the class I did (and do) tell the students about the dangers of natural stones from the fact they are drilled from two directions. The half-drilled holes don't always meet perfectly in the center of the bead, leaving a jagged spot in the middle of the bead's hole. Since I so rarely encounter a serious problem with this I don't routinely ream out my stones. So, when I told my students that, if their bracelets broke, they should look at where the bracelet broke and ream out the offending bead, it was perhaps a tad too optimistic.

Still, I think it is an important lesson. Natural stones can pose a danger to the integrity of your stringing cable. The bracelet in question was on coated 19 strand 0.018 diameter cable. Using a different thickness of wire wouldn't have prevented a break, it just would have happened at a different time. Owning a set of bead reamers is a must if you use drilled beads. If you want to be totally safe, ream out all of your beads. Definitely ream out the beads used in expensive designs. Mostly, just remember that it isn't really a matter of IF a stone will cause a design to break, it's more a matter of WHEN. Be aware.

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