Silver Core Beads my way

OK so I have spent all but 3 hours trying out these new techniques of coring beads. I have come up to my way of making it work so whether it’s orthodox or not time will tell.

First ensure the silver tube you buy will fit over the Pandora or other brand fittings. Then adjust your bead release to ensure the bead hole will fit the tube.

flareoneside2First I cut the tube to the width of the bead keeping only 1mm in length past the core hole width (don’t cut too long or the flaring doesn’t fit the bead). Using a small doming punch just slightly bigger than the inner diameter of the tube and flare the one end open.

heatHold the tube in the flame until the whole tube is glowing red. I used a very little oxygen just to give me the heat but too much and your silver will liquefy.




quenchOnce glowing hot drop it into a tub of water to quench it

Now for the pickle. I am using Sparex. I believe you can use a healthier one called Citrus pickle but have not found it in NZ. I purchased my pickle at Regal Castings in Auckland. Mix your pickle with water and heat on a heating element in a casserole dish. It is not necessary to boil the pickle it simply needs to be warm to be effective with the amount of silver we are using. Sparex is an acid salt of sulphuric acid.


picklesetupThe fumes are unpleasant and I wouldn’t imagine healthy for you. Some peeps use a crockpot limiting the steam. I have excellent ventilation so a crock pot at home may be best. I wore a mask and goggles in case of health concerns. Pickle for approx 10 minutes or until the tube is white. This will remove any firescale.

The silver is now soft enough to actually use. Place the tube through the bead and place the previously flared end on top of a solid surface i.e. an anvil or something similar. My workbench came with pegs so I have used this to stabilise the back of the bead.


smalldomepunchUsing a small doming punch start to flare the unflared tube, I use small jewellery hammer and tap very gently, tap too hard an this is what happenssilvercorebrokenbead




Once you are certain the flaring has begun, use a larger dome punch and increase the flare. Flip the bead over and flare the other side with the large doming punch


Slowly open the flare on both sides of the bead. Once flared you can switch to a burnisher. Use the burnisher to smooth the edge of the flared tube from the core outward thereby giving a smooth edge to the tube. Repeat until satisfied with result.burnishedge







Voila you have a cored silver bead!!! stay posted for more exciting ideas on silver coring your beads.


2 Responses to “Silver Core Beads my way”

  1. carolynethel Says:

    kia ora lisa, welldone, ihave had some requests for beads that could be used on the pandora and such bracelets. There are a lot out there now. Congratulations on the winning bead for the NZGBA, looks great . Carolyn .

    • borntobeadnz Says:

      Hey Carolyn, thanks heaps, I so loved making it, took me three hours to make so pretty hectic focusing for that amount of time, and my arms got quite worked 🙂 We didn’t see you at Bead week, you coming up North anytime soon?

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