Setting a pearl into a stud earring

My daughter inherited a pearl necklace and is having it restrung to
make it smaller. She wants to take two of the pearls to make into
stud earrings.

Is this possible? The pearls are drilled through so I don’t see how
I could get them on a stud without the hole showing. Is it possible
to maybe glue the pearl to a stud with the holes facing up and down?

I would just purchase a couple of pearl earrings for her but I am
concerned that they will not match.

Any suggestions are very welcome!


Is this possible? The pearls are drilled through so I don't see
how I could get them on a stud without the hole showing. Is it
possible to maybe glue the pearl to a stud with the holes facing up
and down? 

Glue the pearl to the stud as usual, taking care not to fill the
hole in front with glue (or drill out excess afterwards). Then glue a
second small bit of wire into the hole in front. After the glue sets,
cut it flush and polish. Then you’ve got a metal inlay dot in front
instead of a hole.

Variations: ball up the end of a small bit of wire, trim the
extending remaining wire back to a short enough stud so that when
glued to the front hole of the pearl, you’ve not got a little metal
ball there. Quite decorative. You can even make the whole earring
this way if the wire is long enough to go all the way through the
pearl and be the earring post too. Eliminates the need for the pearl
cup at the back. Or, make a tiny bezel with a tiny diamond or other
stone, cut as shallow as feasable for the stone and soldered then to
the end of the wire, either as a small insert into the front hole, or
going all the way through. Alternatively, you can enlarge the front
hole a bit until a tiny bezel can be glued in flush with the pearl

It IS, of course, possible to redrill the pearl so the original hole
still is there but going up and down. Some more substantial pearl
mountings could be made to then hide that hole, or leave it as is.
But personally, I prefer simply using the hole as is rather than
adding yet another hole…



Maybe see if she’s interested in a slightly different design. Two
options come to mind:

  • Use a rivet with a decorative end
  • Create a small drop earring with the drop portion being the pearl.


The pearls are drilled through so I don't see how I could get them
on a stud without the hole showing. 

Consider enlarging one side of the hole and place a
tube-set/bezel-set tiny diamond (or other faceted stone); mount to a
pearl stud post using other side of the hole.

If you put the peg in one of the holes you have another hole ‘face
up’ on the pearl. What to do. Drill the hole large enough to
accommodate a tiny bezel set stone(or just a simple gold plug). Use a
tapered bezel so you can get a nice tight fit or cut a lip on the
bezel to slightly overlap the edges of the hole. Risk involved…if
the nacre is thin you might just flake the nacre off, no fix for
that, except if the chip is small enough just flip the pearl over and
try again, covering damage with the pearl cup.

Or, drill a third hole perpendicular to the thru hole, but just
halfway, making a T hole. Mount the finding in the new hole and run a
wire thru the complete hole and make a dangle with whatever hanging
off the lower end of the wire, ball the top, pigtail the bottom. Risk
involved… best to do this with a pearl drilling jig, the kind that
holds the pearl in two opposing nylon cups. By hand would be real

Or, if you’re really industrious, slice the pearl in half along the
hole. Use a .009" cut off wheel in the flexshaft and a steady hand,
dop the pearl in some fashion. Cut all around the pearl a little
before cutting deeper, repeat. Don’t try to cut directly from one
side to the other. You now have ‘pearl cabs’. Resultant cabs would
be smaller than original diameter. Risk involved… the hemispherical
nacre can sometimes just fall off the mother of pearl bead. Can glue
it back, but please be gentle.

For best ensemble look I’d just shop around and find a matching pair
of half drilled pearls. But since you asked.

What about making a decorative headpin of the appropriate gauge,
glueing the pearl to the head, and the rest of the wire can be
trimmed to act as the post?

Good Luck,
Vicki K

Hi there,

You can glue them onto regular pearl cup earrings and take a tiny
piece of wire and glue that into the outside hole. {Or melt a small
bit of wire, polish the bead and set down into the hole/epoxy.} If
you do the flush set wire, once the glue sets, cut off the unwanted
metal(flush to the pearl) and carefully rubber wheel and lightly
polish. Clean the earrings & perfecto!!

Hope this helps,
Jo-Ann Maggiora Donivan & John Donivan from sunny S.F.

Karen, just tube set a small stone of your choice, enlarge the drill
hole to accommodate the tube and glue it in place. Makes a great look
for an otherwise useless pearl.

Good luck!! Tim

Turn a technical obstacle into a feature. Ball one end of a piece of
wire. Solder the stud to the wire. Gently hammer the small balled
end. Clean your wire and epoxy into place.

Karen Christians
Waltham, MA

Hi Karen,

Lucky daughter!

The simplest and most effective way would be. don’t scream and run
away. rivet the pearls onto the stud cups.

If you’re making the studs yourself, here’s a basic method, minus
fiddly bits you wouldn’t skip anyway, like pickling, cleaning up any
excess solder.

Cut discs to act as cups for the pearls, dome just enough to cup the
pearl, drill central holes exactly the size of the wire you will use
as posts/pearl pegs. Cut wires long enough to act as the posts, go
through the central hole in the little cups and long enough to go
right through the hole in the pearl with about 1.5mm to spare. Solder
to the cup. Slide the pearl onto the peg, check how much ‘play’ there
is in the original hole. If there is very little, take a bit more off
the peg so you only have say 1mm left.

Polish. Now, hold the earring by the post in a pin vise and secure
that firmly in another vise. Use a riveting hammer and gently tap
down the end of the post to form a neat, rounded rivet.

Even if the hole in the pearl is too small for the thickness of a
normal post (.7 or.8 mm) it is easy to slightly enlarge the hole with
a barrel burr or even a drill bit. Wear a mask, pearl dust is not
good for you!

I almost died of asphyxiation the first time I riveted a 'real’
pearl onto a piece - held my breath too long, terrified of shattering
the pearl. So far, perhaps luckily, I have found that pearls are like
babies - a lot tougher and more resilient than they look.

Jane Walker

Hello, Karen

I would just purchase a couple of pearl earrings for her but I am
concerned that they will not match. 

I find it difficult to believe that the necklace could not be

Bring/send the necklace to a wholesaler/bead show/pearl merchant.
There is so much pearl material around the match will be very close
if not exact.

Kind regards,

Mary Stachura
Jos. P. Stachura Co., Inc.

Hi Karen,

Not only possible, but I’ve done it often for people, as long as they
realize that the pearl must be sanded to adhere well. To get it to
glue well, you’ll have to sand down a flat spot on the backside of
the pearl, then use E600 according to directions. You should also
use the largest possible stud finding (the pad) so the pearl has a
fairly large area in contact with the stud finding. This may be
counter to all the “powers that be,” that say you should use a
half-drilled post setting, but they are actually quite secure
without the little post going inside the pearl. Hint: I put a wire
inside the pearl while I’m working so it stays correctly oriented,
they’re slippery little devils.

Bev Ludlow
Renaissance Jewelry

Here are two ways I have worked this out.If you use a cup with a peg
simply glue the pearl on as usual and also glue a piece of the same
kind of wire in the other end.When it hardens polish the end of the
wire.I’ve never had a complaint.If you really don’t want the wire to
show set the pearl in a prong mounting (4,6,8) and turn the holes to
line up with two of the prongs and glue and polish.Hope this helps
you out.

PB Jewelry Designs