Learning Center

Finishing Polishing and Cleaning

Our finishing, polishing, and cleaning articles and videos will show you a wide variety of techniques for putting the final touches on your jewelry projects.

51 ARTICLES 46 VIDEOS 15 PRODUCTS
Article
Finishing Machines

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Finishing Machines. See…

Product
SpeedBrite 309SB Turbo Ionic Cleaner

Easily and quickly remove tarnish, dirt and grime with this SpeedBrite 200SB turbo ionic cleaner. The ionic cleaning action delivers professional results using polishing agents and gentle soap cleansers that are safe for soft, porous stones…

Product
LUXI Sample Bar Assortment

This sampler offers the ideal opportunity to try the variety of LUXI compounds and determine the abrasive levels and characteristics that perform best for the finishing tasks you do. LUXI compounds are silica-free, composed of an alumina…

Product
3M Radial Bristle Disc Kit

Achieve superior finishing results with 3M radial bristle discs. Use them for heavy cleaning, removing firescale and light oxidation, pre-polishing, semi-finishing, blending, texturing and final polishing.

Product
Sunshine® Cloth

Made exclusively for Rio Grande, this cloth safely cleans, removes tarnish and polishes gold, silver, brass, copper and other metals, glass, mirrors, wood and more, leaving a deep, long-lasting luster.

Article
Tackling Chain and Finding Repair

Ask most jewelers about repairing a chain or finding and they’re likely to offer you their best Charlie Brown impression: Good grief! And it’s an expression that’s somewhat warranted, given the risks involved in working on the tiny…

Article
Tips & Techniques for Popular Finishing Touches

We asked a number of top jewelers to tell us their best practices, techniques, and tips for creating satin, brushed, and hammered finishes as well as patinas on jewelry. Take notes – you’ll want to test these popular finishing touches…

Product
NSK Sheenus Neo Ultrasonic Polisher

The NSK Sheenus Neo System can be used for grinding polishing removing burs and mirror-finishing on a wide range of materials from aluminum dies to cemented carbide dies. It is also perfect for plastic molds precision molds electronic dies…

Product
Blue Medium Diamond Wheel

The Blue Medium Diamond Wheel provides refined shaping for carbide and HSS gravers. The Medium Wheel shank is 2.35mm in diameter and easily mounts in a micromotor (like NSK EVO or Electer) or flex-shaft (Foredom) hanging motor. 25 x 2.5 mm wheel.…

Product
Diamond Needle File – Pillar

These files are made of fine steel with a diamond coating and used for precision filing jobs. The diamond particles are electroplated onto the surface of the metal.

Product
Polychem 2.5 Ultra-CR Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution

Ultra-CR is a mildly alkaline concentrated cleaning solution specially formulated for the jewelry industry. Ultra-CR easily removes all buffing and polishing compounds from gold silver platinum brass copper and rhodium without the use…

Product
Polychem 1.0 Ultra-CR Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution

Ultra-CR is a mildly alkaline concentrated cleaning solution specially formulated for the jewelry industry. Ultra-CR easily removes all buffing and polishing compounds from gold silver platinum brass copper and rhodium without the use…

Article
The Contemporary American Custom Goldsmithing

About five years ago, Robert Fairbank, John Reynolds and I created a “living entity” called Goldsmiths 3 in Concord, Massachusetts. Our name simply reflects what we are: three goldsmiths, custom-designing and handcrafting…

Article
Setting a Pear Shape Emerald in a Full Bezel

For this demonstration of Setting a Pear Shape Emerald in a Full Bezel I will be setting a large emerald surrounded by many small diamonds in a pendant. The approximate value of the emerald stone is $7,500. When setting a stone this delicate I…

Article
Contemporary Applications of Area Inlay

The use of area inlay, called damascening or woven inlay, is common in the ancient metalwork of Iran, India, Japan, Spain and other countries. Since most applications require the use of ferrous metals as base materials, area inlay is not often…

Article
Art and Technics: Finishing

This article is one of a series of articles from Metalsmith Magazine “Art and Technics” talking about techniques in craftsmanship and design.  For this 1987 Spring issue, Tim McCreight talks about finishing up with your work.…

Article
Damascus and Pattern Welding

True damascus steel is made by a casting process utilizing very high carbon steel. The material is held at or near the temperature of fusion for an extended period of time. This causes the formation of large, high carbon dendrites in a matrix…

Article
Technical Briefs: Dealing with Firescale

Technical Briefs deals with technical concerns of interest to a wide audience, addressing topics as diverse as vanguard technology and ancient arts. It will also answer questions from readers and respond to suggestions, always trying…

Article
Aluminum & Aluminum Anodizing

This article is based on technical information taken from my personal notes and experiences, shared information from the Penland Anodizing Symposium (Fall 1985, Penland, NC: Invited guests: Christine DePaul, Garret DeRuiter, and David…

Article
Fusion Patterns

This paper describes a process that combines techniques researched by others with a few well known facts about the properties of certain metals. This information was applied to a metal fabrication process specifically designed to extend…

Article
The Art of Doublée Making

Historically, a wide range of techniques has been used to clad or coat silver or base metals with gold. These processes are based on efforts to balance three factors: cost, physical properties and appearance. Rolled gold or gold-filled stock…

Article
Susan Hamlet: Culture Of Materials

“Culture of materials,” an expression originating from the early 20th-century teaching of Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin, defines the artist’s deliberate examination and selection of materials for use…

Article
Pumice Finishing and Brass Wire Brushing

The first time I saw a machine for pumice finishing and brass wire brushing was at the School for American Craftsmen. I don’t know if it is available as a ready-to-use product as I have never seen it in a supplier’s catalog. However,…

Article
Toolmaker’s Tools of the Trade

The word “technology” is defined as the totality of the means employed to provide the objects necessary for sustenance and comfort. Although the average person would probably not put a hammer in the same category with the computer,…

Article
American Holloware Changing Criteria

The expressions which have come to identify the pre- and post-World War II generations – Me decade, suburban frontiersmen, spoiled baby boomers, generation gap – are clear if perhaps overly stereotyped images. While encapsulating…

Article
Polishing Hard to Reach Areas

When it comes to fine jewelry making polishing is a very important step – it can be the difference between an okay piece and a high-end piece. Personally, I like to polish every single corner of a piece, no matter how small or tight it…

Article
Perfect Hand Polishing Tips

Though mass finishing procedures continue to improve, it is nearly impossible to match the beautiful polish obtained through hand finishing. The following are a series of procedures, suggestions, and products that should help you achieve…

Article
Platinum Finishing 2 – Procedures and Supplies

In the last issue I wrote about safety issues concerning polishing platinum. In this issue we will continue the discussion with notes on Platinum Polishing Procedures and Supplies. The entire process of finishing any material is about first…

Article
Platinum Consideration Factors

Jurgen J Maerz of the Platinum Guild International USA outlines factors to consider when adding platinum to your line of manufactured jewelry. Technical education is the key successfully manufacturing platinum jewelry. Platinum is often…

Article
Basic Polishing Technique

Many jewelers see polishing as a mundane task. However, it is one of the most important operations in the process of repairing or making jewelry. The final appearance of the jewelry to a large extent, will determine the acceptability of the…

Article
Polishing Compounds

I believe polishing compounds are perhaps one of the most misused tools in the modern jewelry shop. Most jewelers are pretty vague as to exactly what each type of compound actually is and how they work. Truly effective polishing requires an…

Article
Polishing and Finishing Aids

For polishing it is recommended to use primarily bristle brushes for most of the removal work and to follow up with a buff where necessary. Feel free to use a lot of compound, it is the compound that does the work, not the buff. Old polishers would…

Article
Buffing and Polishing Materials

Almost any metal or hard plastic item can be buffed to a high polish or a satin sheen with the correct buffing wheel and the proper polishing compound. This includes copper pots, doorknobs, golf clubs and switch plates, to name a few common items.…

Article
Tumbling Technique Hints

When burnishing very detailed pieces, use stainless pins in your mixed shot. Don’t use them any other time because the pins will often strike the work pieces with the pointed ends, creating a very undesirable pitting or orange peel appearance.…

Article
Mass Finishing of Gold Jewelry

Design dictates buyer’s choices when gold jewelry is purchased and the quality of the pieces certainly plays an important part as well. Not to be overlooked, However, as gold jewelry is readied to go to market, is that shoppers, regardless…

Article
Vibratory Finishing Method

Chemical and mechanical processing work together to treat the vibratory finishing wastewater at Aro-Sac, increasing production, making the water reusable and rendering the sludge a non-hazardous waste…

Article
Platinum Finishing/Polishing Process

Opinions differ considerably when discussing the ease or difficulty of polishing platinum, but most agree that when a piece is well polished it tends to stay that way. Herein I will be covering the main points regarding platinum finishing,…

Article
Platinum Durability vs Scratching

There is a major difference between durability and scratch resistance. Platinum is very durable. When scratched, the scratch actually displaces the metal, leaving ridges on the edges of the scratch. This is where durability comes in. Whereas…

Article
Foredom’s New Finishing Products

JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler Linda Steinke uses Foredom’s new pre-finishing wheels and polishing compound to finish fabricated and cast platinum pieces. ‘Using these new products has eliminated the multiple-step process I formerly…

Article
Foredom Bench Lathe Kit

Understanding and using updated materials will help you accomplish pre-finishing and finishing requirements professionally and efficiently. Here’s a brief overview of some new and established products.

Article
Warrior Power Tool System

New patented Warrior Power Tool System kit provides a revolutionary proficiency advantage for bench jewelers and jewelry manufacturers for split-lap abrasive pre-finishing, finishing and polishing.

Article
3M Radial Bristle Discs Proficiency Advantage

3M Radial Bristle Discs were introduced to the jewelry industry in 2000. Additional discs and end brushes have been added to the selection and over time and with the extensive selection I’ve reinvented how I semi-finish castings and perform…

Article
3M Bur and Polish Wheels

3M XR wheels, formerly known as XK wheels are ideal for sprue removal and smooth deburring with minor surface reduction. A channel can be created in the wheel for repetitive multiple part processing. They replace stone wheels, have superior…

Article
Finishing the Inside of a Platinum Ring

Jeff Mathews has developed a process for polishing the inside of platinum rings using 3M abrasive technology. To illustrate how he performs the job, I follow his procedures using this hand fabricated flat platinum band. Tool and forming marks…

Article
Revolutionary PolishPlus Process

The revolutionary PolishPlus process with MiracleMedia is a new mass finishing technology developed by Peter Richardson of Aurum Plus Resource and Development Co. in San Bernardino, California. The resulting polish is reportedly comparable…

Article
Practical Guide to Mass Finishing Jewelry

A microscopic and technical view of mass finishing presented in layman’s terms. Understanding of mass finishing must start at the very basic level of what happens microscopically to the surface of various materials. All the variables will…

Article
Polishing Tools and Tricks

The mantra of polishing jewelry is the shinier the better – and obtaining polishing perfection takes skill and practice. It also helps to have the right tools in your polishing arsenal. The following are some suggestions for tools and tricks…

Article
CAD/CAM Wedding Set Finishing and Setting

Computer aided design (CAD) was used to develop three designs in multiple views to show the customer. After the design was selected, the wax was milled and the ring was cast, pre-finished, set and polished. Foredom tools, equipment and accessories…

Article
Success in Polishing Platinum

Platinum takes more effort to polish, for the simple reason that it does not wear as other precious metals do – Platinum, has a liquid surface. Other metals lose mass over time, these deteriorations take a lot longer with platinum.

Article
Testing the 3M FX Polishing Wheels

When AJM asked me to test the new 3M FX Polishing Wheels, I was reminded of a neat factoid: The House of Faberge didnt have the fancy technologies – laser welders, CAD/CAM, etc. – we have today, yet the objects of art they produced are in collections…

Article
Fixing Magnetic Finisher with MF610

After several years of use, the small stainless-steel pins in my magnetic finisher had became dark, were stuck together and yielding poor results when tumbling precious metal mountings. Seeking advice for improvement, I turned to Andy Kroungold,…

Article
New Efficient Bench Applications

Pre-finishing, finishing, polishing and re-finishing have all been tasks usually done with a flexible shaft at the bench and/or a motor away from the bench. This article features methods and procedures used for a variety of these projects…

Article
Perfect Finishing Tools and Techniques

Our castings can be flawless, our assembly precise, and our settings secure — but let any surface go a bit rough, a little uneven and wobbly, and the jewelry is judged to be inferior. Ironically, even the ultimate finish begins to deteriorate…

Article
Comparing Buff Prep Methods

Myth: Singeing buffs to prep them is faster and more effective than raking them.
There are as many people in favor of raking as a buff preparation method as those who prefer singeing. So armed with two brand new, six-inch stitched muslin…

Article
Goldsmith Jewelry Finishing Trick

Every bench jeweler has experienced the frustration of trying to sand and polish a nearly inaccessible area on a piece of jewelry. The goldsmith who can detail these small corners and crevices can bring his or her work up to the level of fine jewelry.…

Article
Inside Ring Polishing

Trying to get a really high polish on the inside of a ring can be frustrating. Because inside ring buffs have such a small diameter and the surface speed is quite low, it takes a long time to get much done. In addition, the heat from the extended use…

Article
Sneaky Goldsmith Tricks

The best ‘Sneaky Goldsmith Tricks’ involve taking mundane, everyday items and repurposing them as goldsmith’s tools. Two classic tricks that are valuable to detail-finish hard-to-reach spots involve a wooden toothpick and cotton packaging…

Article
Basic Principles for Wet Tumbling on Gold Jewellery

The correct use of modern, semi- automated finishing processes enables the manufacturer not only to reduce production costs, but also to improve the quality of finish on jewellery produced in series. This is the first of several articles,…

Article
Modified Split Mandrel for Finishing Round Bezels

A bench jeweler typically uses a split mandrel to sand and finish the inside of a ring. Various grits of abrasive papers can be cut to size and inserted into the slit of the mandrel, where they are held by friction during the rotary filing process.…

Article
Homemade Flex-Shaft Guard

Homemade flex-shaft guard using a soft drink plastic bottle, a solution to the annoying and potentially hazardous problem of breathing dust from polishing and rubber wheels used with your flex-shaft.

Video
Kliar E-Coating

As easy as plating, with colors that rival enamels, this exclusive nano-ceramic electro-coating material delivers the best of both worlds! Pieces treated with Kliar E-coating never lose the look, feel and sound of the metal that is at their…

Video
Easy No Chemical Oxidation Patina

Using eggs to antique a silver coin ring. Method can be used on any sterling or copper jewelry. No Liver of sulfur or black max needed. Visit www.Coinringtools.com for coin ring making supplies.

Video
Bright-Cut inside Bezel setting

This video shows just how the bright-cutting procedure is accomplished. I use only one tool, my “Onglette #2, Right-Sided” graver. It is formed & shaped on a bench-grinder…just for this sole purpose. During this…

Video
Designing with CAD

It is here I am showing how fantastic CAD is now helping our jewellery trade. Instead of raising beads on a piece that incorporates over 525 stones. The setting time could were measured in long hours or even days at the bench. These will be now measured…

Video
3 Azure video’s

Here is the process on how to cut Azure patterns. These appear underneath the diamond setting portion of a ring, bracelet or pendant. Great care is needed in this process of cutting.

Video
Preparing to drill holes!

Before you start to drill any holes in your new project you ‘must’ do the following. Completely measure the thickness of the metal, spacing between the stones, measure the depth from the ‘Table facet ‘ to the ‘Culet’.…

Video
“Moving a Hole”

Supposing a designing hole is slightly off-center, how would you ‘move’ it? The answer will now be shown without soldering to plug it up?..It’s so very easy!…

Video
Azure patterns, w/gravers

Here I am explaining how an Azure cut is finished. It is created underneath the hole where the diamond is situated. Absolute precision in graver-cutting is foremost in this process..what I used was a simple Onglet #1 graver,…nothing…

Video
Drilling Holes in Wax

I need to duplicate a wax form from the original pattern. Here you will see just how easy it can be done. You will notice that all of the intended holes will be now in a straight line just as the original!…

Video
Bright-Cutting, REVIEW!

In this brief video, I show once more how the graver just sails through the silver. Almost like carving into a piece of cake! It IS EASY, trust me..but you gotta follow the ‘rules the road’. No short-cuts are allowed!!! Have fun,eh!…:>)……

Video
Bright-Cutting extra notes

It is here I am just going over some extra little notes on Bright-cutting. I might have missed a few. But as this process is so important & extra video or two, will help you a great deal.

Video
#6, Bead-Burnishing, Final Cuts!

In this final video, you will see the stones being finally set. I will be using a Hart-shaped bur..a.k.a. 156C to under-cut each mini-post/claw. This is to make sure each stone is set level & equally at the same depth. Any ‘touch-ups’…

Video
#5, Bright-Cutting with a graver

With a modified Onglette #2, Right-Sided bright cutting blade, I am now shearing off metal to leave a very bright cut. These are now on either side of the now newly formed bead/posts. As you can see on this particular video, all of the metal being…

Video
#3- Watch-case on shellac

In this 3rd video, we will use an Onglet #1 graver to do the ‘outline’ or rough-cutting around the silver item. I demonstrate how the line-cutting should take place in reference to cutting around the holes. All preliminary cutting…

Video
Introduction to Line-Cutting

This 2nd video introduces you to “Line-Cutting”. It is here we will examine what is involved in basic ‘Pre-Cutting’ as it is called in diamond setting terms. The process of doing all of the rough-cutting prior to…

Video
Student; Finished setting project.

My student has now finished his first setting project. He is so very happy over his first assignment under my training! He is now finishing off any sanding disk & file marks with his Pumice Wheel #180 grit. He fully understands the needs of…

Video
Student setting an Oval stone

My student is now hammering the stone in place. He checks that the Bezel-Wall is now laying on the stone all during this process. He is constantly using his 10 power loupe. This is the correct method in viewing the setting exercise. He seems to…

Video
Polishing

Perhaps a more healthy way to polish with a micromotor. I made a container for the polish compound arround the dust exctractor (vacuumcleaner)…

Video
Princess-Final video

This is the 3rd video on “How to Set a Princess Stone”. In this video, all tools are shown in finishing this setting process. As this process takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, there are no short-cuts anywhere. Finishing…

Video
Princess-second video

In this second of three setting demonstrations, you will see the following procedure. I am burring out the inside of the gallery that will accomodate the Princess Pavilion. You will also see how I am exercising much caution in making ‘seats’…

Video
Princess-first stage of setting!

Now that you know exactly what tools you need in your bench, we can now start the setting. Here I examine the setting & decide to ‘open’ the claws to accommodate the use of pliers & round/bud burs. Easy access to the ‘head’…

Video
“Tools for a Princess”

This is a video showing all the necessary tools, just to set a Princess stone. Between the selection of round & bud burs, the different kinds of files. I explain the many reasons in using these very important items. Even a 10x loup is part of…

Video
Gypsy Setting-Finish

In this second of two videos just on Gypsy Setting, I demonstrate Bright-cutting inside of the “Gypsy” circle of metal. With this final clean-up, I use my Flat-Faced, #180 grit Pumice wheel. It is in contact all along the surface…

Video
“Gypsy-Start #1”

In this first of 2 videos, I start the drilling with a 156C Under-Cutting bur to make a seat for the stone. I then proceed to hammer the metal over the girdle of the stone. I use a ring-mandrel to hold the ring & stone while it’s being hammer…

Video
Gypsy Setting w/diagrams

In this video I explain Gypsy Setting & the many techniques using the Hammer & Carbide burs. I also show the route in determining the method in finding the depth prior to setting of the stone. I use extensively my numerous hand-drawn…

Video
Pumice Wheel, 4-Claw setting

Here you will observe all of the steps in using the Pumice wheel. I use only a Flat-Faced #180 grit & a Tapered wheel. I must remove all of the little marks from the ring, that were caused by my pliers. this has to be in a pristine condition, prior……

Video
Bezel #5, Final-Hammering

In this last of the ‘mini-series’ on our Bezel setting. I will show you where the hammer hitting will occur. Including how hold the stone in place while starting the hammering process. I will demonstrate the angle of hitting the…

Video
Bezel #1 HSS bur

In this new series of Bezel setting, I am aiming to introduce my well proven methods of Bezel setting. In this first video I show my use of a High Speed Steel setting bur. It has an angle of 90 degrees. I now show how the angle of the bur…

Video
Oval stone, bur selection w/diagram

Selecting a proper bur for setting an Oval stone can be difficult. Deciding between H.S.S. & a Carbide bur can be a greater challenge. I make this a really easy task with my diagrams. In this video, I explain just where the scheduled hammer…

Video
Examining Graver results

Once the Onglette graver is secured in the wooden handle, I will get the ‘feel’ of the new blade. I must make sure all of the honed sides are equal on both side of the blade..If this passes my visual inspection, then the graver is ready…

Video
Grinding an Onglette graver

This initial preparation consists of removing the “Tang”. Then having it be inserted into the wooden handle of your choice. Lighting above the bench-grinder is very important as you must see any subtle changes in the shaping…

Video
Correcting cleaning defects

If you overlook any errors in your cleaning process, redo as best as you can. Once you go to the polishing stages, all of your rings buffs will only enhance those errors..so double-check your cleaning..now!…

Video
Examining cleaning wheels!

In this first video, you will see some of the poor quality of cleaning wheels. Only the best, or new wheels are permitted in this aspect of cleaning.

Video
The Queen of the Night

This video documents the making of a silver necklace inspired by Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”. The green and purple material is wax, which is then cast (using the lost wax casting process) into silver. This necklace is made…

Video
Detail-Finish Problem Areas

Every bench jeweler has experienced the frustration of trying to sand and polish a nearly inaccessible area on a piece of jewelry. The goldsmith who can detail these small corners and crevices can bring his or her work up to the level of fine jewelry.…

Video
BBJ 1209 – Silver Accents

A Beads Baubles and Jewels project. Add a unique twist to your metal clay pieces by creating a two-tone effect with Accent Silver. For more projects and jewelry-making know-how, visit us at http://forum.riogrande.com/ or visit http://www.riogrande.com/…

Video
Process: Fused Dichroic Glass Rings by zulasurfing

zulasurfing is comprised of husband and wife duo, Gil and Irena, based in New York. Gil is originally from Israel and Irena was born in Russia. They fashion a variety of brilliant jewelry pieces in their small, but well equipped studio in the…

Video
Ameritool Inc. Universal Grinder

This short video demonstrates how to setup your Ameritool Inc. Universal Grinder. This short demo covers the basic assembly of the Ameritool Inc. Universal Grinder / Polisher.

Video
Mokum Gan Band by AndrosCreations

Here you can see an 8mm mokum gan style band being created from silver strip and mokum patterned sheet. Mokum Gan is a Japanese term which means…

Video
Cleaning Colored Stone Jewelry

Many of the Colored Stones we set in jewelry cannot be cleaned with an Ultrasonic or Steam Cleaner. This video shows safe and effective methods of cleaning them. For more articles on Stonesetting go to: http://AboutStonesetting.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……

Video
Retrieving Stones from Ultrasonic

Lost a stone in your Ultrasonic? This video tip shows a creative tool you can make for retrieving stones from the bottom of your ultrasonic cleaner tank. For more articles on Stonesetting go to: http://AboutStonesetting.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……