How to Drill Semi-Precious Stones for Jewelry

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Things You'll Need

  • A high-speed hand-held drill that runs up to 30,000 rpm

  • Drill press

  • Diamond drill bits, 1.2 to 1.5 mm

Image Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Drilling your own beads to make jewelry is a way to make the designs you want and like. Semiprecious gems are a part of rituals and superstitions. People use semiprecious gems, such as quartz crystals, in healing ceremonies. They also carry gems such as Amethyst or Carnelian to help them feel less anxious, bring luck their way or help with blood disorders. Incorporating semiprecious gems into jewelry not only gives the wearer a feeling of security, but they are also beautiful additions to any piece of jewelry. Drilling your own semiprecious gem beads is not too difficult, but it does take some practice to do it right.


Step 1

Select the stone. Try to find ones that are pudgy, not thin and flat.

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Step 2

Center a mark on each end of the rock where you want the hole to go. You can do this with a waterproof marker.

Step 3

Place the semiprecious stone in a plastic tray. Add warm water to the tray until the stone is covered.

Step 4

Place the tray at the base of the drill press. Holding the stone between your fingers, bring the lever down so that the drill bit touches the stone. Do not have the drill running yet. Check to make sure the drill bit and the stone have lined up exactly the way you want. If the stone is not completely submerged, add more water until it is.


Step 5

Turn the drill on to medium speed. With the stone still between your fingers, bring the drill down onto the stone. Apply gentle pressure on the drill for about five seconds.

Step 6

Lift the drill bit up a little so the water can cool the drill bit and rinse away the diamond coating. This only takes a second or two.


Step 7

Bear down on the drill again, and then lift the drill bit up. Do this until you have drilled through the stone. The entire process may last three minutes. It depends how hard and how big the stone is.


Different stones vary in hardness. Some semiprecious stones like quartz and amethyst are hard, while turquoise is soft and easier to drill.

Practice drilling through a few cheap stones first before you begins drilling on ones that are more expensive.

Keep the drilling hole filled with water. This will prolong the life of the diamonds at the end of the drill bit.

If your hand cramps, or the stone begins to slip out of your fingers, lift the drill up and turn it off. When ready to drill again, place the drill bit back into the hole. Turn the drill on and begin to drill again.


Do not apply too much pressure or try to go too fast. This may cause the piece to break.

Wear protective eyewear.

There are no scientific proof that using the healing techniques of the crystals, or other semiprecious stones, actually works. The power of the mind has a lot to do with whether things work or not.


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