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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Drilling a hole through a sphercial gem with diameter 3.5 cm


Dear Thomas,

I have a plan to apply gem to my work of art. Therefore I would like to have hole puncturing the gem. The hole's size is 1 cm in diameter and the gem's size is 3.5 cm in diameter (ball shape).

The question are :

Do you know who has the needed skill and machinery for this task  ?

Which one is easier : drilling the hole before shaping the gem into ball shape or after the gem is in ball shape already ?

Thanks you for your reply
Donny in Jakarta, Indonesia

Dear Donny,

You will need to find a LAPIDARY shop or a business which polishes and cuts gemstones. Only a few will have the drill tool.  1cm is fairly large hole for a 3.5cm sphere and care must be taken to drill slowly and allow the diamond drill bit to gently exit the other side as the hole is finished. Too much pressure will cause the exit hole to chip.

I have not seen your work of art or how the round gem will be fixed in your creative work. You might consider another method of attachment of the sphere to the art piece. One method is for a groove or two grooves at 90 to each cut slightly into the surface of the gem.  The grooves allow for a strip of thin metal or other material to go around the gem and attach to the art piece. Two grooves will be more secure.  How the attachment is made will depend on your creative design, of course.   I mention this because if you find a lapidary stone cutter shop, there is a good chance they will NOT have a suitable drill of such a large size.

Thje gem should be formed into the ball first.  Then, select the best view of the ball for the eye to see and have hole drilled for that purpose.  Also, this assures the hole may be drilled with proper center on the ball.

Best wishes. I apologize for a 1 day delay in your answer. We had unexpected burdens to finish.

May your work go well and peace to all from God.  Thomas.  

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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