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Topics: Gemstone, Quartz, Drilling

Q.
I recently came upon and purchased several pieces of natural quartz in various sizes. Mostly spear or column shaped. I know most times these are wire wrapped for wearing, but I was wondering about drilling a hole to string them that way. Would that be possible? If so what kind of drill bit should I use? Should I do anything to prepare the quartz before that? Thanks.
- Crystal
A.
Using a Foredom® flex-shaft or a rotary tool fitted with a carbide or diamond-drill bit can get the job done. You must drill the hole under water to keep the drill bit and stone cool as well as to flush the hole and the drill bit as you progress. Be careful not to push down too hard on the drill bit or you will break it (I've done it plenty of times). Apply a light, even pressure and take your time. Work the stone from both directions--work one way until you reach about halfway, then turn the stone over and drill from the other direction so the two holes meet in the middle. At any time the stone, drill bit or both could break so ALWAYS wear safety glasses!

Stones have different hardness factors that make some easier to drill than others. Quartz and amethyst are very hard stones so harder to drill; turquoise is softer, thus easier to drill.

You could take the easy route and buy natural quartz beads, no drilling needed!

- Kristal Wick, Designer, Author, Jewelry Making Expert and Swarovski Ambassador

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