Pearl Setting

First of all, let me say thank you to all of you who maintain Orchid
and those of you who post and answer messages…in addition to being
a wealth of knowledge it reminds me that I’m not alone. Thank you!

A customer has given me a large black pearl to be set in a
shadow-box fra me-type pendant that I make from PMC. The pearl does
not have a hole, it is irregular in shape (egg-ish with the bottom
somewhat flat). I would li ke to do something like drill a hole in
the bottom from the flat side, so lder a pin onto the frame-pendant
and then glue the pearl onto the pin, b ut I have no idea if this is
possible or what would be involved in drilli ng a pearl. I am open to

Pathworks Jewelry

 what would be involved in drilling a pearl.  Susan 

Susan, You are on the right track! Drilling into any nucleated pearl
takes concentration and a few drill bits.There are some drill bits
made for drilling pearls, they look like a chisel(flat ended) as
opposed to twist drills.Here is what I do: find the spot you want to
drill…use a ball bur to make an indention…and start with the flat
ended bit to slowly drill through the nacre. Don’t let the pearl get
hot…drop some water on it and keep RPM’s low. Once thought the
nacre you can change to twist drills(supposedly they make a rough
edge if you start out with one, I haven’t seen this, perhaps because
of using the ball bur first)Drilling into the nucleated bead on
Tahitian pearls can be a bit tricky, as the bead make be loose inside
pearl! And if you withdraw drill, you may have to re drill. Also when
you withdraw drill to put on post, bead may have moved. When drilling
all the way thru a pearl…DON"T withdraw, but still add water.
Depending on how big the pear, and how thick the nacre, you may not
have to deal with bead(best case scenario) You may want to 'twist’
your post for added strength and make a tight fit into pearl Contact
me offline if you need more help, and I would drill some 'throwaway’
pearls first. Thomas Blair Island Gold Works @Island_Gold_Works

You will need 3 basic things items

  1. Pearl Holder. A pearl Holding vise or a small hand held wll do. I
    would not hold the pearl in my fingers. plus there are holder that
    have a depth guide.

  2. A drill / flex shaft machine that will be able to hold the size of
    drill you want to use.

  3. A drill bit for pearl (regular drill do not work as well as these
    flat pearl drills)

All available at fine supply houses. In New York try 46 Jewelry
Supply, 46 West 46 St. NY NY 10036.

Regards Kenneth Singh