How to Polish Stones, Gems, and Diamonds the Right Way
13 Minute Read
How do you clean your jewellery? Doing it yourself isn't the answer. Nor is using improper tools or techniques that can end up damaging the jewel. The damage can range from scratching or breaking the gem, to the destruction of the garment.
There are different techniques to properly clean the gem without running the risk of breaking it. In some, we use common elements. In others, we look at specific details depending on the condition of the gemstone. We will see several techniques that pay attention and do maintenance to your jewellery without running the risk of damaging them.
What is a rock tumbling?
It is a process of washing, smoothing and polishing precious stones in general. The process is simple and consists of laundry in a barrel, usually ceramic, the gems with water and special sand. The process divided into several stages, and you need a different type of sand for each level of cleaning.
It is a beneficial and useful process that allows for cleaning the rocks in a natural state and for leaving them smooth and shining. It is essential to clarify that it is a long process, each stage lasts several days, but it is worth it. In each method, the stone becomes more visible until the final result is the precious stone ready to use.
The jewellers of the world ratify the implementation of this process of the treaty of gems. Many precious stones, such as moonstones are cleaned and polished with this method. The only condition to do this is to have plenty of time to treat the gems because it takes a long time.
The principles of rock tumbling
There are several principles to take into account when performing this type of procedure.
The first is related to jewellery. We do not recommend to perform the process with low-quality gems. The flowers that are broken or damaged will not look better if you expose them to this process. The stones will remain damaged, and ugly therefore separates the usable rocks from the ones that are garbage.
Another factor is the type of stone you are going to expose; you must take into account the properties of the precious stone. There are precious stones like topaz that are porous and corrugated by nature. These types of gems are not recommended for this procedure, as they absorb all the contamination.
The second factor to consider is the cleaning environment. You have to make sure that the barrel is not contaminated. Whether by sludge from past processing, or fractured gems, the presence of these elements should avoid. The residues mentioned can interfere with and even damage the jewellery being polished.
Some jewellers and jewellery manufacturers recommend having a barrel for each stage to avoid problems. Each barrel is associated with the type of sand of each process, avoiding adverse chemical reactions. Another advantage is that you can do several methods at once and decrease the customer waiting time.
The third factor is the jewels themselves. As mentioned above, it is an expensive process for precious stones. Metal jewellery such as rings or necklaces has no place in this procedure. Metal jewellery can degrade, for example as oxidizing silver with the combination of silicon sand and water.
The metals apart from oxidizing can be dented in the procedure by the continuous collision of elements. In the case that the jewel incrusted, the most advisable thing is to remove it and treat the components separately. The gem practices this procedure and the metal another technique that we will explain later.
The subject of waste is a delicate one since it cannot be thrown away anywhere. In ordinary cases, people tend to throw the remains of mud and stones down the drain. This type of dirt sticks easily to the pipes, causing an extreme solvent obstruction.
It recommends that the waste be left in a container and then placed in the unusable wastebasket. Do not put it in the recyclable wastebasket either, as it contains many chemical elements that are harmful to the environment.
How to use a rock tumbler
To use the rock tumbler, you must follow specific steps or stages that add more value or viscosity to the gem.
The first step is to clean the gem of any dirt on its surface. For this processing, three indispensable elements require the barrel, the flowers and coarse sand of silicon 60/90. First, you must place the gems in the barrel filling 2/3 or 3/4 of it.
When you place the gems you add, you place two tablespoons of sand for free of flowers that you have in the barrel. Then you put water, which reaches a little higher than the height of the gems. The next step is to close the barrel and start the process until seven days end.
Strain the dirty water with a filter and drop it into a plastic container. Then wash the gems until they have no mud so that you can start with the next stage.
The second step is to give a uniform surface to the stones and a smooth surface. The stones placed in the barrel until 2/3 of the barrel fill, to provoke a turning effect. In case of not having enough volume, you can add pieces of ceramics or garbage gems to make volume.
Put two tablespoons of medium sand of 110/220, per pound of gems in the barrel. Add water until you reach a little below the level of the flowers. Place the barrel to run and let it run for seven days continuously. Strain the stones, separate the low-level ones and make sure that the others are free of sand grains or any residue.
The third step gives a completely smooth surface and a little shine to the gem. This step requires that all elements are free of contaminants. Place the flowers and add half a kilogram of fine sand and water up to the level of the gems. Start and leave seven days in the process until they are smooth and shiny.
The fourth step is the final step that gives the jewellery its ultimate shine. For this step, it requires that the stones are in perfect state and clean. The process is simple; the gems place in the clean barrel and a polishing agent or powder added. It is left to rest for seven days and ready the gems will have the desired brightness and splendor.
In a few cases, it is required to repeat step 1 and step 4 in the process of polishing the gems. The first step depends on the person's appreciation, whether the jewel is clean or needs a little more treatment. In stage four, it may happen that the brightness in the gem is not the desired and repeat this process.
Using a Dremel for polishing rocks
The Dremel is known as a tool for carpentry and blacksmiths. What people do not know is that it is a tool that can also use for jewellery processing. Not only can you restore them from imperfections, but you can restore their shine.
Dremel is a standard tool for treating precious stones and some metals. The Dremel has several accessories that allow you to make a spectacular finish. You can make a smooth and uniform and shine and radiance on the gem and precious metals.
The first accessory we can use is a circular sandpaper kit, each of different material and functionality. The first one allows the roughing of precious stones as well as the removal of metal oxide. The second allows to give a satin effect or smooth and brilliant to the precious stone as the diamond.
The other discs allow defining a more prominent smoothing and a high brightness to the gem. It is recommended to use a low speed in the flowers when processing it since a high speed breaks them.
The other elements are polishing brushes that do not require additives, which allow polishing and cleaning the gems. It is ideal for polishing and gives a high shine to the gemstones without the risk of damaging or breaking them. Other uses are for jewellery and ornaments; you can make simichrome polish and metal jewellery.
Another element is the polishing cloth disc, although it is used more for metals and plastics than precious stones. Its use in gems specializes in Swarovski Zirconia, to give them more exceptional shine. Another application is in ornaments; it can add shine and partially remove corrosion such as oxidized silver.
Another application frequently adapted for the fabric disc is to polish hard stones such as emeralds, sapphires. Hard stones require a continual polishing process due to exposure to substances. It tip allows you to do it from the comfort of your home and without having to remove the gem from the jewel.
The metals have other special attachments, although it is recommended to remove these gems. The first is the aluminium brush, ideal for removing corrosion from metal surfaces. It is ideal for silver or aluminium elements. To give them corrective maintenance, is important knowing how to oxidize silver in order to avoid this type of corrosion.
Another element that helps the preservation of jewellery is the carbon steel brush. It is a tool that allows to remove the corrosion, the oxide of the silver and to return its brightness to him. It is necessary to be careful with which speed this activity is carried out; the most recommendable is low or medium speed.
In conclusion, the Dremel can bring your jewellery back to life, with its great variety of accessories. The important thing is knowing how to use it for each occasion and understanding how to control the tool well.
Can I polish rocks with my hands?
The rocks in the current age polish with tools but not in the past. The majority of the times, the craftsmen had polished the gems with their hands, which explains the calluses in that area. When cleaning the jewels, the craftsmen used elements like brushes, special cloths.
A general procedure was to use uniform leather cloth without any hair. The gem coated with a special cream that allowed the flower to polish without damaging it. One variation of this method is using a brush with the cream gently brushing over the surface of the stone.
Another straightforward way is to add water with a little ammonia. The concentration should be 5/1, to avoid damaging the jewel and even the health of the person. The solution removes oils and contaminants, polishes the gem along with gentle cleaning with a cloth.
How to polish stones without tools
There are several ways to polish a gem without the need for complicated machines and tools. To clean the stones is required only utensils of daily use, easy to acquire. The implementation of them is just as easy, read on and learn how you can polish your jewellery.
The simplest way is with polishing powder and a denim cloth. The process is simple: place one portion of the substance on the fabric and rub gently over the gem surface.
Another straightforward way is with a soda; you can use it as a polish apart from quenching thirst. The chemical composition of the drink removes all the oils that opaque the stone. In the end, you finish the finish with a denim cloth and dry it gently and pules ready.
Another way to do this is to use sandpaper of different types depending on the condition of the gem. For gems with many deep scratches, moisten the flower and rub sandpaper of 80. In the case of superficial scratches wet the stone and rub with sandpaper of 180.
Other ways of polishing are using liquid to clean glass. The liquid removes impurities on the surfaces of the gems, giving them more fabulous shine.
Not only does a toothbrush and toothpaste brighten teeth, but it can also brighten precious stones. Two things happen when you slide your toothbrush and toothpaste onto gemstones. The first removes all the contaminants that cloud the surface of the gem. The other effect is mineralization that increases the gloss in the stones.
Another application or improvement of this method are the brushes with supersonic cleaning system. The ultrasound cleans in a better way the elements that opaque the gem, helping the brush and the paste.
Sodium bicarbonate is another element that helps to polish the surfaces of the gems. Bicarbonate dissolves and eliminates the substances and bacteria that envelop and opaque the treasure. Removing it gives the flower back its shine, and you can include drying with a mosque cloth to increase the shine.
Another way is to use traditional cleaning products such as Amway Home Multi-Purpose Cleaner. Because of its properties, it removes the contaminated elements and restores the shine to the surfaces. In the case of jewellery, you leave it soaking 30 minutes in 500 ml of water with 20 ml of product, and that's it.
Can I polish all the stones?
The answer to the question in the previous title is a resounding no, as there are stones that cannot be polished. Several factors limit the number of rocks that can be polished. Among these factors, we can find the condition, hardness and type of surface.
The condition of the gem is essential; it does not make sense to polish a gem in a lousy situation. The flower may have several requirements that prevent it from being polished. The first condition is the structural state; if the stone has a crush, it does not make sense to polish it, since you will not be able to recover its beauty.
Other aspects with its condition are substances that adhere to its surface that are impossible to remove. There are elements such as industrial tar glue that respect and are not removed. No matter which treatment you use, you will always have the stain on the gem.
The hardness of the stone can prevent it from being treated properly to make it shine. Rocks with these characteristics break easily, so it is impossible to perform the procedures.
The type of surface is another element under consideration, as there are stones that are not suitable for polishing. Smooth type stones are the gems that can be polished and polished in this way. Other stones are porous, and the shine does not come from polishing them but from the elements that placed on top of them.
An example of porous stones is the topaz which, they apply paint, varnish and other elements to give it shine.
In short, you can only polish gems that have a hard, smooth surface with a suitable structure. The most significant examples are diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, amber and others.
Pro Polishing Tips
We have talked a lot about the conditions and techniques for polishing precious gems. Now we are going to give specific tips and advice to keep the jewels in that state always.
The first tip is the environment to which you continuously submit the gem. It is essential not to expose the flowers to sites of a toxic environment and with substances that opaque it. For example, they are people working in the oil and mechanical area, where they expose the jewels to oil derivatives.
The second one, do daily maintenance regularly with products of easy implementation. You can use a polishing substance and a mosque cloth and polish it weekly to prevent it from losing its shine. Additionally, you can use the toothbrush and toothpaste technique to give it more shine.
The third tip is to take the gem at least once a year to the jeweler for maintenance. Preventive maintenance can indeed be useful, but nothing better than the knowledge and skills of a professional. You will be able to give shine to the jewels, as much the metallic part as to the embedded precious stones of the same one.
The fourth council separate the gems according to their category and type. Low-quality jewellery should be separated from precious stones to avoid confusion and contamination. Split or fragile jewelry can be broken and damaged when polished by rock tumbler.
The last piece of advice is related to jewellery in general, both in precious stones and ornaments. The ideal is that the jewel shines in the metal and the gems, therefore the maintenance of both. They can use standard ways to polish both elements and bring out the best in any jewelry.
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