Where there’s a drill, there’s a way!

I ordered these pearls quite a while ago to use on my small silvers bracelet. This was before the onslaught of the “small & beautiful” glass beads and regular glass beads looked gigantic next to tiny silvers like Smiley and Falling Leaves. I didn’t want a bracelet with only silver beads on it, so I started to think of what I could use instead of glass beads. I’m not drawn to the Trollbeads prisms, but I had seen a few pictures of the Trollbeads Peacock Pearl and loved the variation in colour. After looking around, I realized that it would be too pricey to buy enough for my planned bracelet. Instead, I began scoping out artisan pearls.

These pearls had a 2.5 mm hole, so I knew that I’d have to drill the hole larger to make them fit onto a Trollbeads bracelet; I found them at a good price, so it was a small risk if they didn’t quite turn out. They also aren’t quite round, but when they’re on a bracelet you don’t really notice unless you are looking at them individually.

Well, the first pearl that I drilled didn’t turn out. In fact, I ruined it. Completely. I tried to expand the hole with a regular drill bit and it ate the layers off of the pearl in large, uneven chunks. The pearl went straight into the garbage and I put the rest of the pearls away, thinking I’d have to find another use for them; I didn’t think that I could drill them without destroying them.

With other themes floating around in my head, I eventually forgot about my idea for a bracelet full of small silvers. And I mostly forgot about the pearls, until a few months ago, when I found a diamond drill bit in our toolbox. With its gently tapered head, the idea of drilling the pearls took hold again.

The first pearl that I tried to drill chipped a bit, but I managed to make the hole large enough to fit on the Trollbeads bangle! I drilled another, with slightly less chipping. Excited by my success, I did a few more, each time drilling just enough to slide the pearl onto the Trollbeads bangle. I didn’t want to push my luck and break any more pearls.

A few days later, I went to put one on a Trollbeads chain. And I realized that the bangle is smaller than the chain. The pearls wouldn’t fit. I had to go back and redrill all of the ones I had done to make the hole even larger.

One lesson that I learned was not to drill inside my house. The first few I did at my dining room table, and the dust made a horrible mess. It was spread over the table, chair, and even on the floor! To finish off the rest of the pearls, I waited until the weather was a bit warmer to take my drilling outside. I finally finished that task last week. The wind was blowing left to right, so in the pictures below you can see the accumulation of pearl dust on the right side. Poor pug was a few feet downwind and got a taste of the dust!

But still no losses!


Although the pearls were bought for my small silvers bracelet, I have yet to put it together. Instead, they’ve been used for small bangle combinations and for my dragon bracelet. I’m sure that eventually they’ll make it into the planned combination, but it might be a while.

For anyone who wants to try their hand at it, I got my pearls from eocrafter on Etsy. Mine are 9mm, but they have larger ones too. Now that I’ve drilled all of the ones that I have, I may have to check out other colours to add to my rainbow!

What do you think of pearls? Have you sought out artisan versions of beads when you haven’t been able to find the branded ones? 

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