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Different Methods for Polishing Gemstones

Different Methods for Polishing Gemstones

Before your gemstone can become the centerpiece of a beautiful piece of jewelry, ensure you finish the job by polishing it well. Many polish gems with a rock tumbler, though some jewelers/stone cutters do so with a polishing compound, by hand, or other methods.

Polishing With a Rock Tumbler

As you prepare your gems to become beautiful pieces of jewelry, shining them is among the most important steps. With this in mind, rock tumbling is one of the many different methods for polishing gemstones.

Begin this process by placing your stones in the tumbler barrel with water and grit. The grit works similar to sandpaper on wood, smoothing out your material with friction. The stone will go through several phases of shining/sanding; you’ll begin with coarse grit and end with a polishing agent. However, before choosing this method of polishing, consider:

  • The type of jewelry and gemstone
  • The hardnesses of the materials

Some gemstones are too soft for rock tumbling, while others are too hard. Moreover, a low-quality gem could break if it is put in the harsh conditions of a tumbler. It is important to understand the materials you are working with to ensure you get the best end-result possible.

Expert Jewelers recommend using high-quality tumblers for polishing jewelry or other metals, as these machines can withstand more weight and are more durable. Jewelry with be more harsh on your tumblers and will require a different form of media in order to get a good shine.

The best combination for polishing metal is red rouge polish with walnut shell as the filler. This combination will polish copper, silver, gold, and other metals!

Polishing With a Cabbing Machine

One of the most common ways to polish a gemstone is with a cabbing machine. Cabbing Machines are used to cut, sand, and polish gemstones. They are extremely efficient and will result in the fastest finish. If you are seriously interested in learning how to cut and polish gemstones, then Cutting Edge Supply highly suggests that you try one out!

Usually cabbing machines will come with everything you need in order to get started polishing. Find a wide variety of different styles on our website. We also have a couple amazing articles on our website that explain how to choose a cabbing machine and go over the fundamentals.

Polishing With a Dremel

A Dremel tool can also polish stones and metals if you equip it with the right bit. Begin by using a sandpaper bit to smooth out your material. After sanding your stone down, you’ll then utilize a polishing buffing wheel to buff out the stone and bring out its luster.

The tools you will need to do this are:

  1. Flex Shaft or Dremel
  2. Bristle Brushes (Possibly hard felt wheels)
  3. Diamond Compound

You will use these three products to polish the surface of your gemstone after you have sanded it. These are the most basic tools and as you start you might find that Diamond Smoothing discs, nova points, or other bits might work better or make things easier.

Many use this method to polish their stones or metal because you can equip the Dremel with different accessories to complete the job. It also allows you to reach areas you would not be able to reach with a cabbing machine or tumbler.

Polishing Gemstones Without Tools

Lastly, if you don’t have a rock tumbler, cabbing machine, or Dremel tool, you can polish rocks without machines by using a diamond powder and denim. Begin by applying some of the compounds to your fabric, then rubbing the gem’s surface. Pressure and surface tension will start to create heat and it will speed up the polishing. However do not get your stone too hot because it can break. If you have sandpaper nearby, try sanding the surface of the gemstone with a #120 grit and going up to a #600 or #1200 grit. Once you have completed that, use the denim like we mentioned before. This will give you a fabulous looking gemstone.

There are many different methods for polishing gemstones, so do what works best for you with the tools you possess. Before you begin polishing your stone, make sure you understand the material you’re working with, as all stones have different levels of hardness. (Denim will work best on soft stones. Hard stones will need a cabbing machine, Dremel, or rock rock tumbler.

What works best for one is not ideal for all. Taking the stone into account ensures you use the right polishing compound to put the finishing touches on your gem. Purchase the best tools and polishing compounds at Cutting Edge Supply to ensure the stones you work with never lack luster.

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