How To Drill Hole In a Pearl (Step by Step Guide)

To drill a hole in a pearl with a pearl drilling machine, you need to mark drill points on the pearl, set it in the machine, properly align the drill bit, and then go for drilling. The case is somewhat similar when you choose a Dremel or some other rotary tool.

How To Drill Hole In a Pearl

You’ll shortly get to know about the process in detail.

Since pearls are extremely delicate and prone to breaking during drilling, usually they are handled by professionals. Drilling in pearls is a very delicate process. Nevertheless, given your passion for jewelry craftsmanship, have you ever considered piercing a pearl? Let’s try a look. 

The Guide to Drilling Hole In Pearl With A Pearl Drilling Machine

Before beginning the ‘how to drill a hole into a pearl,’ it’s important to know that you need to gradually increase the hole size in order to prevent the pearl from becoming chafed or chipped at the hole’s margins. Most pearls are drilled with a standard 0.8-millimeter starter hole.

Recommended tools:

  • A pearl drilling machine
  • Your desired pearl drill bit
  • Digital caliper
  • Marker


  1. Identify the attractive facet of the pearl

When you put on the pearl, the side you would like to display is called the face. Examine the pearl’s surface, imperfections, and shape, and choose the side that appeals most to you. Point that side out with a red marker.

  1. Mark the drill point on the pearl

 Now, to locate the center points or axis on which the pearl needs to be drilled, use the micrometer, and find the balance point. Mark the opposite sides with a water-based pen marker. Keep in mind that the pearl must be drilled into the middle from the outside. You should never make a hole through a pearl.

  1. Set up the drill bit

When you finish marking, it’s time to check on the machine. Make sure that the drill bit is level and undamaged and that it is firmly seated in the chuck. If you want, you can draw a depth line on the drill bit with a marker to indicate how far you want to drill into the pearl.

  1. Set the pearl in the machine

It’s time to set the pearl firmly in the vise. Choose the appropriate cup size for your pearl and take care to prevent the pearl from being harmed by the cup’s edge. You can use cushioning in the cups to hold the pearl in place when drilling a large one.

  1. Set the drill bit location with proper alignment

You need to do the next part meticulously. Align the drill location with the bit after the pearl is in the vice. With the vise secured, face the drill’s flat in your direction, and place a pearl on it to verify the proper location. To fully drill pearls, turn the pearl to the opposite side and adjust the chuck to align the bit with the opposing drill mark.

The pearl is prepared for drilling if the bit aligns with the drilling point and is straight and symmetrical in both positions. If one of your marks is not perfectly aligned with your drill bit, loosen your pearl and rotate it in the cups. 

  1. Time to drill the pearl!

Here comes the main step! Switch on the pearl machine, check to see that the vise is locked, and adjust the drill bit to bring it down to the pearl. Allow the pearl’s covering to be pierced by the drill while applying light pressure. Drill to the depth mark while gently supporting the pearl with your forefingers and thumb.

If you want to drill the pearl only halfway through, drill only from one side, take the pearl out of the cups, and brush out of it. For full drills, Pull the vise all the way back and then turn it 180 degrees. Then drill from the other side as well. Finally, tap the dust off the pearl after removing it from the cups.

That’s it!

You Can Also Drill Your Pearl With Dremel!

If you can’t find a pearl drilling machine at the moment, no worries, you can use a Dremel tool. Just get a jewelry maker Dremel tool or any other rotary tool with a pearl drill, and you are good to go! (You may also use a regular drill)

Recommended tools:

  • Dremel Drill or any other kind of rotary tool
  • 0.8-1 mm pearl drill bit
  • Tapered diamond drill bit
  • An Irwin quick-grip handi clamp to hold the pearl


  1. With fairly good pressure, clamp the pearl with the handi clamp so that it won’t get displaced in any way during the drill.
  2. Attach the diamond drill bit to the Dremel and turn it on at about 1000-1100 rpm. It’s better to drill with a moderate rpm instead of a high speed. 
  3. To get the hole started, drill up to about ΒΌ that of the whole way on each side pearl.
  4. After that, switch the diamond drill bit with the actual pearl drill bit, set the rpm to about 1000, and drill all the way through. Do it from both sides to make the pathway even. 
  5. And you are done!

Just remember that things might get a little dusty while using the Dremel, which you won’t want to sniff or breathe in case you are allergic to it. So, it’s better to wear a mask while doing the drill. Continue at a moderately high speed and pull back the drill bit from the pearl slightly every few seconds to allow the pearl dust to escape from the hole.

Final Thoughts

Here are some tips for you before ending the ‘how to drill a hole in pearl’ tutorial.

To view both sides of the pearl equally, it’s better to stand while drilling, or you can also move the drill closer, but remember to wear your mask since some individuals might be allergic to the pearl dust bits. Also, do not ever drill a pearl completely through from the beginning because the bit may flex, deflect, and get detached or twisted. 

Pearls are extremely delicate and prone to breaking during drilling, so you can leave their care in the hands of the professionals if you are not so sure. However, trying out something new is exciting, and it may favor you as well. So, happy drilling!

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