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Thread: Broken drill bit in a pearl

  1. #1
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    Default Broken drill bit in a pearl

    Hello everyone!

    Hope You are all doing great. I need to know how to remove a steel drill bit that broke off in a pearl? The pearl was undrilled (it is now) and I used a 0.5mm drill bit which broke inside the pearl (so no part of it sticking out). I then drilled the pearl on the opposite side and luckily managed to get through to the drill bit from that side. Both wholes are much bigger than the initial 0.5. I tried hammering it out to no avail.. Searched for solution online and someone suggested covering the pearl in beeswax and dipping leaving it in room temp. sparex solution. The only problem is - Sparex is not available in UK (and rather expensive to get it from US). I also tried drilling the steel bit out with tungsten drill bit but that broke as well (got that one out ) So my question is - would anyone know of any solution to getting the goddamn drill bit out? I tried finding another pearl, again to no avail (there were similar but at eye watering prices)...

    Thank you beforehand for any help!!

  2. #2
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    alum will dissolve the steel bit quite happily - but I'm not sure whether it's kind to pearls or not - given that it's a food grade product, I can't imagine it would do them much harm and it sounds like you don't have a lot to lose at this stage!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post
    alum will dissolve the steel bit quite happily - but I'm not sure whether it's kind to pearls or not - given that it's a food grade product, I can't imagine it would do them much harm and it sounds like you don't have a lot to lose at this stage!

    That's very helpful! Would it work in room temperature? I fear that if I start heating it up the beeswax may come off... And how long would I have to leave it in?

  4. #4
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    Sparex is a treatment used in the USA for swimming pools and is attractive to jewellers as a cheap way to buy safety pickle.

    Safety pickle salts from Cookson will do the same thing, or as George has said, alum solution. Leave the pearl in until the drill is dissolved enough to push out with a pin, or stiff wire.

    Thin drills are very fragile, so for the future it is best to go for a thicker one, perhaps 0.7mm, lubricated with a little oil or wax. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 23-09-2018 at 10:54 PM.

  5. #5
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    Is the pearl particularly valuable? Either in money or sentiment? Because it sounds as if thoroughly wrecked.
    Buy a new pearl. Already drilled (and why .5mm?)
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Sparex is a treatment used in the USA for swimming pools and is attractive to jewellers as a cheap way to buy safety pickle.

    Safety pickle salts from Cookson will do the same thing, or as George has said, alum solution. Leave the pearl in until the drill is dissolved enough to push out with a pin, or stiff wire.

    Thin drills are very fragile, so for the future it is best to go for a thicker one, perhaps 0.7mm, lubricated with a little oil or wax. Dennis.
    Hi Dennis,

    It was my first time drilling a pearl and thought that even a small drill bit would be safe in a soft pearl. Now I know I was wrong Good advice on lubricating, I suspected if I did that the beginning I could hammer the bit out.

  7. #7
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    I am making a replacement earring and therefore had to find a closely matching pearl, stupidly bought only one and the dealers are already out of town. I checked every pearl dealer in London and they didn't have anything matching the shape and colour of the pearl. Additionally the prices were quite steep - the cheapest was 24 pounds, and there's no way my client would buy that. So here I am As to the .5 drill bit - I now know better

  8. #8
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    I bet I could match it
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

  9. #9
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    Dennis, no lubrication please. Any lubricant would be absorbed by the pearl anyway as pearls are porous, so it could damage the pearl, as well as making it almost impossible to set since glue would not adhere properly
    Just the right bit, sharp and applied properly
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

  10. #10
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    Point taken Wendy. Oil not mention lubrication next time. Regards, Dennis.

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