Question: I understand that using beads and gemstones that have been drilled add to the security that they will stay in place with a strung wire. However, I have a large selection of loose tumbled natural gemstones (not cut or faceted) that represent a sizable investment (over a period of years) and I want to do something with them. Most between 1/4" to an 1" in diameter. None of these have been drilled, so I understand I will have to "cage" them in order to hold them securely. I've fiddled and fiddled with various ways to do this attactivly and keep falling short. I wonder if you might be able to, some time in the near future, create a short tutorial addressing a few attractive ideas on caging loose tumbled stones of various shapes.
Answer: I have worked on the same issues, and come up with a few alternatives. The first and most versatile one is to use a netted bezel, which traps stones, especially cabs, very well. You can use the net with tumbled stones also, as long as you make the net cover the stone in such a way that it won't fall off. Net Bezel Tutorial.
The second option is the Basketweave bezel: a little tricky, but very sturdy and nice.
I also have a design which I do not have a tutorial for, but it's a fun design, maybe you can figure it out: http://www.enioken.com/journal/2006/05/lantern-pendant-with-tumbled-stone.html .
I am constantly working on finding new alternatives for caging stones, especially without holes.