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Stones... To Tumble or Not

Stones... To Tumble or Not
By Aislyn Bryan December 5, 2007 4326 Views No comments

Here's a question from the mailbag that I thought might make a good topic of discussion. Please feel free to comment with your own experiences and we might just create the requested resource ourselves.

"Do you know of a resource that tells you which gems/semi-precious that can/can't be tumble polished with stainless steel? I am looking for a general resource, but specifically moonstone."

I don't know of a definitive resource and I don't really see how there could be one because a lot depends on the quality of the stone. Low quality stones that have cracks and fissures or are chalky aren't as likely to take the millions of tiny pings of tumbling as well as higher quality, more solid stones. And that's just one example of a difference... any stone could have a flaw that doesn't show itself until it's tumbled. The way I see it, though, that flaw is going to show itself sooner or later and I'd rather see it while I still have it then after its gone to a customer.

If you're concerned, the best thing to do, in my opinion, is sacrifice the least appealing stone in the strand and tumble it alone. There's usually at least one stone that's a little wonky so throw it in the tumbler overnight, examine it closely the next morning and you'll know what to expect. As for moonstone, I've tumbled it dozens of times and never had a casualty so you're probably pretty safe with that one.

#finish, #gems Posted in: Finishing
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