One of the options I offer in on all of the Malas I make is to re-drill all of the beads on the Mala out to 2mm. I offer this option because if re-drilled I can then use the thicker and stronger 1.5mm cord instead of the default .8mm cord.
In order to re-drill the beads I use a diamond tipped bit and submerge the bead in water. I drill half-way into one end of the existing hole, turn the bead over and then drill out the other side. I have to turn the bead over in order to prevent “blow-out” which is what happens if I let the drill bit exit the bottom of the bead.
I always recommend opting for this if you are designing a bracelet, if you are designing a standard Mala that has 10mm beads, and if you plan on counting or reciting mantras with your new Mala. The thicker cord is a lot stronger than the default .8mm cord and will last longer. Of course nothing lasts forever (uh…one of the main teachings in Buddhism!!) and neither will your Mala. But, with the thick cord it will certainly outlast most. Sometimes wood and seed beads already have large enough holes to get the 1.5mm through by default so I occasionally don’t need to re-drill these. This isn’t always the case though so if you want to be guaranteed to have the thicker cord on wood and seed beads I recommend that you opt for the re-drilling on these as well. Or, if you want to, email me and I will let you know the status of the current batch.
The process of re-drilling can take anywhere from 1.5 to over 3 hours depending on the type of bead. Soft stones like Lapis Lazuli don’t take as long as hard stones like Carnelian or Hematite.
The re-drilling option is a little expensive but certainly well worth it especially if you are creating something that is meant to be close to you or with you for a long time. The best option, though, for longevity, counting and absolute elegance is Snake Hand-Knotting.