A lot of times the precious stones and pearls that you buy in bulk at tradeshows or at swap meets come strung on thread. Because the thread goes all the way through each bead, it’s natural to assume that all the beads are drilled correctly. A thin thread can still easily slip through the smallest of holes. However, as anyone who has bought bulk beads can tell you, a lot of times the drill holes will be too small, or won’t match up exactly in the middle. Or even worse, you may find that ALL the precious stones or pearls on a particular string are drilled too small for use with the size of silver wire you’re planning on using for them.
One solution is to just use a smaller gauge wire, but if you don’t have many different spools of wire that can be a problem. Or maybe you bought some wire especially to use with your new stones and now the wire won’t fit through any of them! This is where a bead reamer can come in handy. A bead reamer is basically a thin piece of metal with a very thin pointed tip that has industrial diamond dust embedded all over the surface. The tips are often sold in sets with a gripping handle of sorts, kind of like those screwdriver sets which come with interchangable tips. The set shown comes from fire mountain. They usually have at least one extremely thin pointed reamer tip and another one that is more conical in appearance. The latter is usually for widening out the ends of the drill holes in a bead, while the thinner ones are more to enable a hole to go all the way through.