To drill gemstones you must have the proper equipment and to be careful not to make a mistake.
When drilling gemstones you will need, well of course a drill press or a rotary drill, proper drill bits, safety goggles, water and a poster putty.
What you need to know
The most important points to remember when drilling is to keep the stone stabilized while drilling, and to keep the stone well lubricated, because the drilling can cause friction, heat and the vibrations themselves can fracture the stone or your drill bit. A well lubricated stone will prevent this from happening. For most stones, you should always use a diamond drill bit. You can use steel bit for softer gem types, but even so, you can use diamond bits for all. Diamond is the hardest mineral of all, so it can drill through sapphire, quartz and everything in-between. We suggest to use simple silly putty or ‘blue tack’ putty to keep the stone stabilized during the drilling process. You do not want to use too much pressure with clamps as this can cause the stone to fracture.
Step 1 – According to your personal preference mark the gemstone you will be drilling with and entrance and exit hole. Stick a wad of putty on the inside bottom of the plastic container so that the putty is centered and put the stone to be drilled onto the putty. This should keep it fixed during the drilling. Fill the plastic container with water, so that the gemstone is completely submerged.
Step 2 – Select and attach the proper drill bit and start drilling. Go slow to begin with to prevent the drill bit skittering across the surface. Once your initial starter hole has been created begin to move the drill bit up and down to allow water to flush in and out of the hole to remove the drilling debris and to keep the area and the drill bit cool. We all what overheating can cause – the drill bit and the material to shatter.
Step 3 – Go slowly on the lowest settings. When you have reached halfway through the gemstone release and pull the bit up using the reverse function, and it is better that you flip the stone over and drill again on the other side. This will save you the possibility of chipping the exit hole.
Step 4 – If you would like to have smooth, professional holes on your gemstone use a small diamond files. But if your think that the hole is too small, you can open it up further by using twist drills. When it comes to scratches on gemstones, do not worry, they can be removed by using a small amount of diamond polishing paste or a felt bob.
And there it is, a simple way to drill your gemstones. Also, we suggest practicing on cheap stones until you’ve perfected your art. You can even use stones you find outside in your garden.