Drilling pearls

Hi Everyone,

I have been making pearl holes larger with micro carbide taper tip
drill bits. 1/8th shank. I have looked in Rio for a large
assortment (to take the hole of the pearl and increase it to fit a
24gague wire or so. Rio has a sets but its not a large assortment. I
was hoping for 1/8th since most of my stuff is 1/8. I have a collet
for 3/32 though. Quick change handpiece is a soon future investment.

I am wondering if anyone else uses any other drill bit that makes
this job easier/faster? If so where can I get them? I have been
enlarging the hole of strung pearls. I would also use them to half
drill some south seas pearls.

Also on that note, when I bought south sea pearls (all drop shaped)
the dealer told me that they would grind down the tip on a diamond
lap and then drill the hole. I wouldnt let them do it. Is this how
they would normally treat such a pearl if they wanted to set it in a
ring? I thought this would be bad practice since the pearl would then
be exposed, granted covered wtih glue.

Thanks for any responses.

Dear Jane: The best drills for pearls have been the flat drills that
look more like the old wood drill that are shaped like a spear
(auger). These do not cake and make clean holes.

Most of these are reversible (double sided so you have two pointed
ends on each end)

We find that the drills from Japan are the best. You can buy an
adapter chuck to fit most hand pieces (so that you can use the small
size drills). The adapter chuck is very cheap about $4.00 to 8.00
depends where you buy.

A dremel motor tool with high speed unto 20,000 rpm can be very
reasonable and you have inexpensive Drill stands for the dremel type
motor tools. Drill holder and vices are a good investment and you
get your money back pretty soon.

Kenneth Singh

I hate to admit it but I lust use common or garden drill bits from a
set I bought from a hardware store for nearly all my pearl drilling.

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040