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Gemstone Polishing Guide

Gemstone Polishing Guide/Reference

Comprehensive List of Polishing Agents for Gemstones

Polishing gemstones can be a tricky thing. There is a fine art to polishing gemstones and takes years for professionals to master the skill. Moreover, one of the biggest hindrances to artists while they are polishing, is that they use the same polishing agent to polish all of their gemstones! 

This can be detrimental when it comes to polishing certain stones. So it is extremely important that lapidary cutters know what polishing agent should polish what stones. This is a comprehensive list of common gemstone materials that most cutters find themselves polishing. In this list you will find the polishing agents that work best for each material, as well as the type of medium you should use to apply the polish. 

Every material is going to be a little different depending on the hardness of the material and the structure of the material. If you are polishing with a rock tumbler then you will just need the polishing agent. (The second word in each column.)

Material Best Next Best Third Best
Agate Felt & Cerium Leather & Cerium Phenolic & Cerium
Felt & Cerium
Leather & Cerium
Phenolic & Cerium
Felt & Cerium
Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Chrome Oxide
Calcite  & Tin Oxide Leather & Tin Oxide N/A
Chlorastrolite Felt & Cerium N/A  N/A
Felt & Cerium
 N/A  N/A
Garnet Felt & Chrome Oxide
Felt & Cerium
Phenolic & Diamond
Felt & Cerium
 N/A  N/A
Felt & Cerium
 N/A  N/A
Hematite Muslin & Cerium Canvas & Linde ‘A ’  N/A
Howlite Felt & Tin Oxide Leather & Linde ‘A’  N/A
Jadeite Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Chrome Oxide  Muslin & Tin Oxide
Jasper Felt & Cerium Leather & Linde ‘A’  N/A
Lapis Lazuli Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Chrome Oxide  N/A
Malachite Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Chrome Oxide  N/A
Nephrite-Jade Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Chrome Oxide  Muslin & Tin Oxide
Obsidian Felt & Cerium  N/A  N/A
Felt & Cerium
Muslin & Tin Oxide  N/A
Opal-Mexican Phenolic & Diamond  N/A  N/A
Psilomelane Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Tin Oxide  N/A
Petoskey Stone Canvas & Tin Oxide  N/A  N/A
Quartz Felt & Cerium Leather & Cerium  Phenolic & Diamond
Rhodochrosite Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Tin Oxide  N/A
Rhodonite Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Cerium  N/A
Serpentine Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Tin Oxide  N/A
Sodalite Felt & Cerium  N/A  N/A
Felt & Cerium
 N/A  N/A
Tigers Eye Leather & Linde ‘A’  N/A N/A
Tourmaline Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Chrome Oxide  Canvas & Diamond
Turquoise Leather & Linde ‘A’ Leather & Tin Oxide  N/A
Unakite Felt & Cerium  N/A  N/A
Variscite Leather & Linde ‘A’ Felt & Cerium  Felt & Tin Oxide
Leather & Linde ‘A’
Felt & Cerium
Felt & Tin Oxide
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Next article How Jewelers Remove Scratches and Imperfections on Gemstones


pat dorton - January 1, 2022

The above listing of polishing agents, are these for faceted stones or cabachons?

Christina Hodge - December 18, 2021

What would you recommend for polishing synthetic corundum?

Daniel Perez - September 15, 2021

Hi…can you add more stones like opal and onix for agents?

Cindy Lukianow - July 27, 2021

Hi, I would love to print the COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF POLISHING AGENTS FOR GEMSTONES. But when I go to print it will not print correctly…how do I get this printout please? Thanks, Cindy

Boyd Ashworth - June 7, 2021
It’s always great to receive solid information that can be printed,

laminated, and pined on my shops wall for quick reference!
Thank you!

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