How to Set Pearls

By Christine Meyer ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Half-drilled pearls
  • Jewelry findings for half-drilled components (with pegs to secure the pearls)
  • Jewelry cement or glue appropriate for pearls
  • Styrofoam or thick cardboard
  • Needle or toothpick
Pearls make classic, elegant jewelry statements.

Pearl jewelry such as pendants, earrings and rings are commonly made using the half-drill setting method. Half-drilled pearls are set without prongs; instead, they are mounted on special pronged settings and secured with jewelry glue. Because there are no prongs, the pearls seem to “float” on the setting for an elegant look. Using predrilled pearls and special half-drilled settings, even amateur jewelry designers can create stunning looks. Purchase your supplies at a jewelry supply company, wholesaler or at some specialty craft stores.

Remove the backs from your earstuds and stick the posts into the styrofoam or cardboard so that the earring stands upright. For rings or pendants, you may need to create a hole or depression in the styrofoam so that the finding will sit upright while you work.

Place a small amount of glue or cement on the peg in the finding. Insert the tip of the glue or cement tube into the half-drilled pearl. If the tip won't enter, use a needle to toothpick to smear the product into the drill hole.

Fully insert the peg into the drilled hole, applying gentle pressure on the pearl according to the instructions for your glue or cement.

Replace the jewelry, if removed, into the styrofoam or cardboard to cure overnight or longer.


When purchasing, check the size of your findings and half-drilled pearls to make sure they are a good fit. If the hole is too large for the peg, the glue might not make a secure bond.

Practice your technique on faux pearls before working with more expensive varieties.


Always work in a well-ventilated area and use proper safety equipment when working with chemicals like glue and jewelry cement.

About the Author

Christine Meyer has been writing professionally since 1995. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in music from Taylor University, a CELTA from the University of Cambridge ESOL, and a CBA in marketing from IBMEC Rio de Janeiro, Meyer has experience in a variety of fields. Her articles have been published in newspapers and on sites such as eHow.com.