Diamond setting in rock

Has anyone had any experience in setting a brilliant cut
diamond, approx. .20 cts, into a granite boulder or other natural
rock? Any observations suggestions, or comments? Please e-mail
me directly. Thanks Steve Foster @svf


If you can successfully set a dia. in granite or any other
mineral rock w/o cheating and using an adhesive, I wanna know
how. Not that I would ever want to but you have me curious both
as to how and why!


I have set diamonds in ebony before. I set the diamond in a
gold collar and pressed it into the wood. I think this would
work with stone also.

Joe Kilpatrick
Expressions With Metal


let’s forget about why… one could easily set diamonds in
granite using the same method that one would use to set in onyx
via tubes. or if one would want to be creative and not let any
metal show, one could set it form the back with a retaining clip,
or usage of a helicoil.

best regards,

geo fox


I just set a sapphire into a piece of jade for a customer. I
made up a bezel, soldered a wire to the back. After I had the
jade drilled to specifications, I then rivet set the sapphire
into the stone. Just one way of doing it.

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs

“What if the hokey pokey is what life is all about?”

I had a thought on this…maybe off the wall…Since he only
wanted to set a small diamond, 20 points I think he said…one
could drill out a 5mm hole in the granite, making the hole lets
guess 8mm deep. Take some platinum and hammer it in the hole. I
say platinum because it grips better. Hammer it tight… A twenty
point diamond is roughly 3.8mm wide and not very deep… inlay
it…simply drill out your depth, careful to seat your diamond
and press away a smooth bezel around…I inlay all the time…

Just a thought

Terry Parresol

If you can successfully set a dia. in granite or any other
mineral rock w/o cheating and using an adhesive, I wanna know

G’day:G’day Steve; Whilst I haven’t set diamonds, I have set
other stones into jade, argillite and agate. One could of
course, do it with epoxy glues, but I wouldn’t. I have used
both prong and bezel settings for the job. Having made the
setting so that it has the appearance of an ear stud, with a pin
of appropriate length, I diamond-drill the rock material with a
hole that just fits the pin of the setting, and use a larger
drill to recess the rock so that the lower part of the setting &
just the bezel or prongs protrude. The pin hole goes right
through the rock, and the other end of the wire is riveted in the
very slightly recessed wire hole. Sometimes I use a sterling
washer disguised as a little flower or some such and rivet the
protruding pin into a recess in that. This method retains the
integrity of the piece, ensures a fairly long life, and enables
repairs or repronging to be done if required: one simply drills
out the rivet head, and solders a new pin or part pin in place
when re-assembling.

HOWEVER: Having vetoed the use of epoxy, If the gemstone must be
set into a thick piece of rock, I have to admit that whilst I
would still use a prong or bezel setting for the stone, made
similarly to an ear stud, I would drill a slightly larger hole to
accept a zigzag deformed pin and do a little undercutting of the
hole before using a good quality epoxy to set the pin into the
rock. Shame! Cheers,

       / /
      / /      Johnb@ts.co.nz
     / /__|\
    (_______)  In sunny Mapua NZ Where the fruit harvest
  has begun and orchardists have notices, "Pickers Wanted"

Hello John:

Thanks very much for your informative reply to my question. I
was just curious as to how to do the job should I ever have need
of it. I always try to learn a new process whenever I have the
opportunity. Only thing is…how the heck do I find the
time to actually try it? :slight_smile:


How do you set a stone in onyx? How do you drill through a stone
without damaging or cracking the entire stone?


Hy Dede, You can get a diamond drill bit from a jeweler’s supply
house. The come in several diameters. Put it in your flex-shaft
and drill through the onyx. Go very slowly and use a lot of water
for the lubricant. Try not to lean too much with the bit. Keep it
as straight up and down as possible . Do not push down hard with
the bit because you can chip the back side of the onyx when the
bit breaks through. Nothing to it. Tom Arnold

To drill a hole in a stone, do it like the hedgehogs do, when
they mate: very cautiously and carefully. Use a diamond drill
(for any other stone than diamond) and a lot of cooling medium I
have done it successfully a few times, but it is not one of my
favourite jobs, and I have also had some cracking stones. Have
never tried to set a stone in onyx, but should I try it would be
drilling and then gluing with epoxy.


Dear Dede:

You can drill & carve onyx and many other stones with diamond
impregnated bits. For drilling holes, it’s best to have a
bench-top drill press but for carving, ect. you can do it
freehand. Use oil of wintergreen as a lubricant by dipping your
bit in it often to prevent chipping or cracking the stone and be
patient. The bits are inexpensive and usually come in sets of
varying sizes and shapes. Depending upon the hardness of your
material, it can take a while.


Hello DeDe,

Very carefully. Seriously though I use various diamond drills,
I prefer the core type as they are much faster, unfortunately
they only come in a few sizes between 1mm to 3mm (that I’ve
found) so you need other bits to get the exact size for a good
tight fit. For larger sizes I have made a few drill bits from
copper and brass and used loose diamond and Vaseline. I always
drill under a water drip but a Plasticine wall can be built to
hold oil if you prefer. Don’t drill dry, this will wreck your
bits in short order, don’t push, let the diamonds do the work. I
also recommend that the stone you are drilling be left in a
preformed state allowing you to finish the cutting, sanding,
polishing process after the drilling and thus remove those tiny
little chipped areas around the holes. If you have a customers
finished piece to set the stones in you need to take
considerable extra care as you need to make these holes without
the chipping, tricky. First cut a pilot hole with a regular drill
then widen the hole with a homemade drill using nothing coarser
than 1200 grit diamond , this will prevent chipping but will take
quite a bit longer. Good luck.

An alternative would be to get your local lapidary to do this
for you, this way if it breaks, he gets to eat the cost not you.

A long time onyx eater…Tony

\ () || | /
\ /
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ICQ# 15173706

How do you set a stone in onyx? How do you drill through a stone
without damaging or cracking the entire stone? DeDe

G’day DeDe; You buy a diamond drill from a good jewellery or
dental tool supplier (Rio etc. ) The drills are available in
sizes from one millimetre up to 30mm (core drills) and they work
very well. The small drills are quite cheap and last well if
used with care. I use a drill on a stand with the drill bit in
the chuck, and put my piece of hard stone (usually jade in my
case) in a shallow plastic tray such as come with meat and small
items from the supermarket. I have the stone resting on a little
bit of thin ply, and completely covered in water so that when
the drill gets through, it doesn’t punch a hole in the tray
(Water all over the drill press!) Usually I mark the exact
position of the hole using a tiny diamond ball burr first.
Sometimes I use the same method, only with a flex drive. I’ve
even drilled very hard materials using a diamond drill held in an
‘egg beater’ drill. (When there was a power cut!) You must move
the drill bit up and down all the time you are drilling with not
much pressure on the point in order to clear the drill dust away
and keep the bit and stone cool. Too much pressure on the drill
will ruin it quickly. A 3mm hole in, say, a 6mm thick stone
shouldn’t take more than about 5 minutes to complete. You have
to take care when the drill is nearly through, else it will punch
through, leaving jagged edges. If you intend to set a stone in
say, onyx, using the method I mentioned in an earlier posting,
then you should drill the ‘blind’ hole for the metal setting
before drilling the hole for the wire. It is of course possible
to drill hard materials using a stiff wire or even a sliver of
hard wood and a carborundum or garnet sand slurry. That’s how
the Maori used to drill their jade artefacts, but diamond is far
quicker and easier. Perhaps I might mention that the cooling
water will rapidly become milky, and hard to see through; do the
obvious and change it! So that’s the drill. Cheers, –

       / /
      / /      Johnb@ts.co.nz
     / /__|\            Those that husbanded the golden grain and those that

    (_______)       flung it to the winds like rain, alike to no such

earth are turned as once buried men want dug up

Hello Steve- Strangely enough someone else you might want to talk
to is a good industrial contractor, who deals with anchoring
large machinery into concrete. They have a kind of threaded pin
affair that when set in a pre-drilled hole and hit, the bottom
portion expands, clamping itself into the hole. No adhesive
needed. I would think you could make something similar in
precious metals. I got the feeling from the original question
drilling completely thru the stone wasn’t an option. I recently
had to remove a large piece of machinery at work that was
anchored like this and it seemed like it would do what you
wanted. Just a meger thought from a frustrated and thwarted
jeweler. CYA, Leslie

Great, a stone question, I know this. Just use a diamond drill
and/or diamond burs (underwater) - slow and expensive but
possible. If you are drilling all the way through protect the
back against break out or turn it round half way through. I’ve
got an ultrasonic arriving in about 4 weeks, that is supposed to
go through stone like a hot knife through butter - looking
forward to playing with it.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England


Hmmmmmm. Kinda reminds me of a wall anchor used to hang heavier
objects on drywall. It’s basicly a hollow tube of metal slotted
through on the sides almost the full length. The sides are
scored in the opposite direction about the same distance from the
top as the thickness of the drywall and there’s a nut attached to
the other end with a screw inside the tube & threaded into the
nut. When a hole is drilled through the drywall, the assy. is
put into the hole with only the flange of the tube and the screw
head left exposed. When you turn the screw, the tube is
compressed and bends at the score mark gradually expands there
until it grips the drywall. I think this is the idea of which
you speak. An interesting notion. Instead of the complex system
I’ve described, you could have just have the tube as before and
drill the hole slightly larger and just a little shorter than the
tube is long. When you push or strike it at the top it would
expand and hopefully grip the stone. Not sure I’d risk anything
valuable this way but could be good for an effect.


 You buy a diamond drill ... The drills are available in sizes
from one millimetre up to 30mm (core drills) 

John, these core drills, are they ones like a petrologist would
use. Do they drill a “circle” into the stone creating a column
[which would then be popped out]?


To all the metalsmiths who may be intimidated by tube setting a
stone in stone:

A simple solution. Buy (or make) the proper tube setting and
find a friendly local lapidary (that’s what we’re here for).
Talk it over with him/her. Let the lapidary know what you want
it to look like after it’s finished. I have done the drilling end
of this process many times for local gold and silver smiths.
I’ve done it in plates of onyx (many times), synthetic ruby,
lapis and a few other types of stone. I’ve also done it once or
twice in thicker pieces where you don’t drill all the way
through. I’ve drilled for round and square settings. I haven’t
had a dissatisfied customer yet. The key is teamwork and
communication (and getting the hole exactly the right size). If
you can’t find a good local person or you want to do it
yourself, there have been a few posts explaining the process.
Just keep in mind that it can be a slow and boring (pun intended)
job. Always remember, when cutting with diamond drills and burs:
Diamond cuts, it doesn’t grind. Use little or no pressure,
with copious amounts of coolant/lube and your bit or bur will
last a long time. If you get impatient and give too much
pressure, it will cut faster for a short time, but wear out
very quickly and then not cut very well at all. One of my local
clients (goldsmith) set a diamond in the side of an obsidian
sphere for a customer. He used a standard tube set with fairly
thick walls. I drilled a hole a little shorter than the tube
set, with the bottom being a hair larger in diameter than the
top. On the bottom of the tube set, he used a large (vee)
setting bur to make the setting beveled from the inside. He
then used a burnishing tool to ever so slightly flare out the
outer, sharp edge of the setting (not too much, or it won’t fit
in the drilled hole). Then he put the setting into the hole and
gave it a few light but sharp hits with a (chasing?) hammer.
(We were both holding our breath at this point - The sphere was
one of the best I have ever done.) This caused the already
flared out and beveled bottom of the setting to flare out even
more and fill out the bottom of the hole. It seemed to work
quite well. He then set the diamond in the usual fashion (I
think that process is explained in the tips from the jeweler’s
bench at Ganoksin.com). Don’t know how well this would hold up
in a jewelry setting over time. Also, I wouldn’t recommend it in
any stone that isn’t pretty tough stuff.

I hope this is understandable - as has been said before, it’s
tough to explain some things without pictures or drawings.

Hope this helps someone,

Mark Williams,
Stone Broke Custom Lapidary

Hi All I’ve been using core drills for a while now and have holes
in nearly everything! My question, how do you keep the drill
from jamming with the material you have just removed? Some
materials seem sticky and no matter what I lub the hole with it
still jams it.

thanks, t.lee