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Monday, May 10, 2010

telling tales: drilled sea glass

simple drilled sea glass cufflinks
drilled sea glass cufflinks in a sterling silver chain setting

I've decided (cos it's up to me anyway) that this week is going to have an ocean theme and I'll tell the tales of the 'from the sea' section of featured work.
Both the cufflinks above and the pendant at the bottom of the post are made from scottish sea glass which has been drilled then mounted in a custom sterling silver setting. I'll talk about where the glass is collected from in another post but for now let's concentrate on how I got the holes in the glass seeing as it doesn't just turn up on the beach like that!

sea glass
a typical beachcombing view

Putting holes in sea glass is relatively easy as long as a. you have a diamond coated drill bit, b. a drill, and c. patience. This is not something that can be done in a hurry or broken glass/broken drill bit is likely to happen.
Each piece is held underwater on a plastic mesh kitchen scrubby while drilling. This helps cool the drill bit in action (drill bits do not like heating up). Once I'm about halfway thru the thickness I flip the glass over and start drilling from the other side. The reason for doing this is to avoid pushing out a flake of glass and ruining the piece. Once through, I smooth out the bore hole with the drill then dry the piece and make the custom setting for it.

drilled sea glass pendant in sterling silver setting
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