Drill Holes in Rock for Jewelry




Introduction: Drill Holes in Rock for Jewelry

Rock jewelry can be contemporary, minimalist, extravagant, and beautiful. So find that special rock and let's make a necklace, earring, or pendent for jewelry. I've fallen in love with this stuff and would have never worn jewelry normally, but this is super easy and produces specie and unique jewelry.

Step 1: Find That Rock!

Find the rock you want to use. Keep in mind how hard these rocks are, and how susceptible to fissure and cracking they are. River stone are best, and stones with quartz are challenging to drill. I've successfully done granite, but it occasionally explodes in my hands.

Step 2: Drilling Tool

It's best to use diamond tipped burs or hole saw that are small. I picked up a well rated set off amazon, and they work great in my WEN rotary tool. Spin it up to speed and drill away. I use a tapered pointed bit to make the initial indent on both side, and then switch to a longer, thinner bit shown in the next step.

*Wear googles*!!!!! rocks can explode from internal stress

Other options: I have used electric hand drills and wooddrilling bits, but they don't work as well, are not as precise, and break after 0-5 uses. do yourself a favor if you're making more than 1 piece or trying harder stones.

Step 3: Drill the Hole


Water works fine, no need to get a special drilling oil. You will either explode your rock, break the bit, or both if you don't properly apply a heat absorbing liquid. When drilling, cover the rock in water, and re-dip into the water when you see enough gray material as seen in photo 1. Alternatively, drill in a container of water, but know the spinning bit may spray water around.

Step 4: Finishing the Hole

Use a longer, narrower bit to connect the holes you drilled from both sides. You're done!

Step 5: Enjoy!

You've finished! now throw on a jump ring, or thread it directly onto a string, or however you please! I've made amazing necklaces, earring sets, and other unique jewelry pieces that I will cherish.



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    13 Discussions


    Don't recommend drilling holes for shells because even if you do it successfully it will always be a weak spot where the shell is likely to break. Use a clamp-on or glue-on bail. If you use E6000 or a similar glue, it will be stronger than putting a hole in a shell. These bails come in jillions of patterns, including nautical to match the shell motif, and they're extremely inexpensive.


    Thanks for the suggestion. I will look into finding some.

    Here's another example that would go well with a shell - a turtle...



    Diamond burrs will work for shells as well, but personally, I use tungsten carbide drills (as used in drilling printed circuit boards - however, they need an extremely steady hand, or better yet, a small drill press as they're very brittle and don't stand sideway pressure (how much depends on the diameter of course) and they need to spin very fast.

    Be careful to control the drill when it breaks through, as most shells I've drilled has a tendency to "flake" around the hole, if the drill pressure isn't eased off right then.

    Anyone going for handheld carbide drilling - It's my experience that the standard types with ~3mm shanks, always break right where the conical tip of the shank meets the drill spiral, when getting sideway forces, while the drills where the shanks are the same diameter are more resillient - there's a difference between drilling 0.2mm and 3mm of course and anything from around 1.5mm to 2mm up isn't bad.

    The shells (or stones) should be fixed while drilling.

    For harder stones, slow drilling with cylindrical diamond drills (not burrs) in a bowl of water is the way to go.


    I'll be making an instuctable about shells shortly, but in the meantime here's this:
    From the two holes I drilled through a shell, I found it's slower going but look a lot cleaner when finished. As with the rock, I'd recommend drilling from both sides- else it'll punch out more material on the backside when you finally break through. See the picture in the comments and follow me to see more!

    My attempt at shell


    1 year ago

    Thanks! I'll try this some time!

    1 reply

    Thank You! Check out my other instructables I made using this technique.