My mother used to make beautiful shell pins, and earrings. She taught me how but she has passed, and I don't know where to get the shells and pin backings etc. from.
You can pick up shells for free at any local beach.
Walmart, and craft stores sell pin backings that you can hot glue the shells to, if you don't want to drill them. (02/27/2007)
I have a small Jewelery business in Essex UK, and I suggest you buy a copy of 'Bead Style' magazine.
Inside you will find loads of web sites and shops that sell jewelery findings and some shells with holes. I live on a small Island called Mersea and often pick up shells to make wind chimes with my kids. Sea glass makes good jewelery if you wrap it with wire like a parcel and make hanging loops before you cut the excess off. (03/02/2007)
As far as drilling the holes you might try what I do with more fragile pieces (I haven't tried shells yet but it *should* work) to turn them into beads.
In a sturdy, unbreakable shallow container (Tupperware works, a cookie sheet may work) stick a wedge of silly putty to the bottom, secure your piece in the silly putty and fill the container so it's just covering the piece with water. Then drill. Of course, please be careful using electricity near water! Go slow and use the smallest bit you can find.
Also I have a little hand drill that I love- it's basically a metal pen like cylinder with a collar/collet at one end and it came with a bunch of micro drills (I keep losing them on my black granite kitchen counters as they are so small!) - you just twist manually and I've found many uses for it.
I got it at Harbor Freight for 1.99 on sale (I think they are 2.99 or 3.99 regularly.) (04/05/2007)
By Bek Caruso
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