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Diamond Ball Bits
I laugh every time I hear this advertisement on the radio for jewelry where they say 'diamonds are forever.' Any stone or glass artist who uses diamond bits will tell you diamonds are far from forever, unfortunately.
The prices vary widely, as does the quality. Cheap retail usually means extremely poor quality, which means the diamonds all fall off after just a few stone cuts. And cheap retail does not mean all that cheap. The retail prices vary for my style of ball bit from around $7 to $35 each.
One of my unhappy days was when this great source I had in the USA went AWOL. I used to order ten bits at a time for about $30. They were very high quality, and the service was good. I bought hundreds of bits from this fellow, and then one day he was gone. Fortunately, the price had been good enough that I had many bits that I had put aside that were still pretty good. So for several years I have just been getting along with those partially worn bits. However, the end was here: all those old bits were cutting way too slowly and hopeless for stone.
One of my happiest days was when a local fellow was over buying a wind chime, and when I was showing him around I mentioned my diamond bit problem. He asked if I did not know of the local 'bit lady.' Huh? On this lightly populated Sunshine Coast, someone deals in diamond bits?
Eventually I tracked this woman down (way under the radar), and this weekend went to see what she has. Unbelievable! She must be one of the biggest bulk dealers in Canada, perhaps North America. She has thousands and thousands of bits. And the price? The best I have ever seen: a dollar each!
How odd that something I so needed and was just prepared to start a big Internet search for should be found ten minutes away from my house. That's simply wonderful.