How to Drill Pearls

Updated April 17, 2017

Loose pearls can be purchased at a much cheaper price than fully assembled pearl jewellery. Using loose pearls to make your own jewellery is a money-saving and rewarding endeavour, but turning the pearls into drilled beads can be tricky. It can be done well, however, using the right tools and working slowly with care and focus.

Find a pearl's drilling centre point by determining which part of it you would like to show on the jewellery and then rotating it by 90 degrees.

Mark the pearl's drilling spot with a grease pen.

Secure the pearl into a pearl or bead vice by matching up the pearl with the correctly sized hole in the vice. Screw the vice so that the pearl cannot move. Make sure that the marked spot is facing directly upward.

Drill a hole into the pearl using the smallest drill bit possible, making sure to securely hold the vice. Some pearls are tougher than others; do not force the drill.

Examine the hole. If it needs to be only slightly bigger or appears jagged, use a diamond-coated reamer to perfect the hole.

Things You'll Need

  • Grease pen
  • Pearl or bead vice
  • Drill
  • Diamond-coated reamer
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About the Author

Sara Tetreault has worked as a marketing copywriter and editor since 2006. She has written copy for public health organizations, Yankee Retail, and Oce North America. Tetreault received her Master of Arts degree in early modern culture and literature from the University of Sussex and obtained a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in English and communications from Eastern Connecticut State University.