Drill Holes in Rock for Jewelry

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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

YOU MUST USE LUBRICANT

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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    17 Discussions

    0
    unknownduke378
    unknownduke378

    Question 25 days ago on Introduction

    Is it possible to make a necklace like this with lapis lazuli stones?

    0
    KaterinaV9
    KaterinaV9

    Question 5 months ago on Introduction

    Beautiful. I am as well making the jewelry from river stones. For months I am searching for the good drilling machine...while mine is already at the end (bought it in India, so I can not get another one same)... Are you so kind to just write down what kind of drill machine are you using (internet is filled up with them...but each one I buy I send back ....to big..no strong enough, etc)..I will be so thankful!

    0
    victoriacunningham1229

    May I ask how long it takes people to get through a piece? Obviously it depends on the size of the piece but the stones and shells in the photos aren't thick... What is an approximate of how long it takes?

    0
    Sengemoen
    Sengemoen

    Question 1 year ago on Step 2

    Could you please tell me the exact drill bits you got on amazon. I’m getting this for a gift and worried I’ll get the wrong ones.

    0
    PetrN18
    PetrN18

    2 years ago

    Pěkné.

    0
    mrsmerwin
    mrsmerwin

    3 years ago

    I live this. Any tip on drilling shells?

    0
    Battlespeed
    Battlespeed

    Reply 3 years ago

    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.

    shell_bail.jpg
    0
    mrsmerwin
    mrsmerwin

    Reply 3 years ago

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

    0
    Battlespeed
    Battlespeed

    Reply 3 years ago

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

    turtle_bail.jpg
    0
    Omnivent
    Omnivent

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi,

    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.

    Regards

    0
    thebrownie
    thebrownie

    Reply 3 years ago

    There's the expert advice! Thanks!

    0
    mrsmerwin
    mrsmerwin

    Reply 3 years ago

    thanks

    0
    thebrownie
    thebrownie

    Reply 3 years ago

    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!

    0
    mrsmerwin
    mrsmerwin

    Reply 3 years ago

    thanks

    0
    thebrownie
    thebrownie

    3 years ago

    My attempt at shell

    1502509139051590276316.jpg
    0
    mxx
    mxx

    3 years ago

    Thanks! I'll try this some time!

    0
    thebrownie
    thebrownie

    Reply 3 years ago

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