Topics: Pearls, Reaming

Q.
I'm wondering how to string 1 mm leather lace or suede into cultured freshwater pearls. I've seen a design that the pearls are between 10-12 mm. Do they drill them or use a reamer and do it one by one? Thanks!
- Dina
A.
It is recommended to use a pearl reamer to enlarge pearl holes, and yes, one at a time.

You can also use a fine drill bit fitted to a rotary tool or Foredom® flexshaft. Using caution, drill each pearl halfway, from one direction, then from the other direction working all the way through the hole, while holding the pearl in a shallow dish of water. The water will keep the drill bit cool, flush the water out of the hole as you are enlarging it and keep the dust to a minimum. Also consider wearing a dust mask to prevent inhaling any airborne dust created when drilling. There are a couple of other solutions you may enjoy:
  • Use a smaller diameter leather cord or hemp that fits through the drill hole a little easier
  • Use Swarovski crystal pearls, which have larger, consistent drill holes
    • The larger holes will not only allow you to use thicker stringing materials, you can also easily pass beading wire through each pearl numerous times for multi-strand designs
- Kristal Wick, Designer, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Swarovski crystal Ambassador

Materials Resources

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