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How to Drill Your Own Stones
We often receive requests for information about drilling through stones and crystals so they can be used for jewelry or hanging.
Although this is a relatively easy home project, there are a few things that you need to know before starting this process. First, assess whether the stone is hard enough to be drilled through without breaking. Check for cleavage (a smooth, clean break producing what appears to be a flat crystal face), internal fractures (common breaks within the crystal) or crazing (work of fine cracks on the surface of a material). If you see any of these, you will probably not be able to drill a clean hole through your crystal.
For such a project you will need a special drill bit, called a "diamond" drill bit. These actually contain microscopic diamond chips which are used exclusively for drilling ceramics, glass, marble, stone, granite, tile, etc. You will also need to have water handy not only to keep the drill and rock cool, but to remove bits and pieces from the rock as you drill. You will want to invest in a Dremel Rotary Tool. This is a miniature version of a normal handyman drill with specialized bits designed for more exacting lapidary work.
Make sure you wear protective glasses as well as a protective mask. The dust from some of these rocks (like malachite, etc) is harmful when inhaled.
Here is a simplified version on how to drill a hole in a cabochon (a shaped and polished gemstone), but it would work equally well for a tumbled stone.
Step 1 — Fill a medium sized bowl with water. Make sure the bowl is large enough for you to hold the stone under water.
Set the bowl on a level, water resistant work surface.
Step 2 — Identify where you would like the hole to be on your cabochon and mark with a fine point permanent marker.
Make sure you do not drill too close to the edge of the stone.
Step 3 — Hold the cabochon under the water in the bowl. Using the carbide drill, slowly drill the hole in the identified spot.
** You may want to use an alternate process: place the stone in the water, then take it, drill for about five to ten seconds, before pulling the drill out and submerging stone in the water again, repeating the steps until completed.**
Step 4 — Once the hole is drilled through the stone, you can flip it to drill through the same hole on the other side.
Step 5 — Rinse the cabochon in clear water and dry with a soft towel.
Here are a few other websites that include specific step by step tutorials:
How to Drill a Hole in Rock http://thecommonmilkweed.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-drill-hole-in-rock-tutorial.html
How to Drill Holes in Your Tumbled Stones or Beach Rocks http://www.mamasminerals.com/lmrhftumblingdrilling.html
How to Make Jewelry From Rocks http://www.ehow.com/how_4777571_make-jewelry-rocks.html
How to Drill a Hole in a Cabochon for Jewelry http://www.ehow.com/how_4397525_drill-hole-cabochon-jewelry.html
If you are ready to try this project, take a look at our selection of tumbled gemstones, many of which are great for drilling http://www.healingcrystals.com/Tumbled_Stones_-_Gem_Stones/
If you have a rock shop nearby that does lapidary work, make a call and set up an appointment to go visit. You may also want to contact your local rock hounds club to get more information on the lapidary process. Once you are comfortable with the drilling steps and have practiced a bit, you will be amazed at the creative projects you will think up! Rock On!
Written by Kristi Huggins
Expert Contributor for Healing Crystals
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