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Cleaning mixed metals with a stone

Hello everybody,
I made this pendant but after setting the stone I realize there’s metal dust as well as some dirt on the copper parts. I can no longer tumble it because of the stone. Cleaning in an ionic cleaner didn’t bring much; should I rub some antut Arnos hast paste and then ionic clean it? I’m not sure it will remove the rest of the paste. Thank you very much for your inputs and feedback!
Mmh, I can’t upload a picture. It’s a pendant with a backplate made of copper and, riveted on it, another plate in Silver Sterling with many cutouts —> not easy/ impossible to get into all cutouts. In the Center, a tourmaline set in 18k gold.



I tumble a lot of pieces with harder cabs in stainless steel shot and they seem to come out undamaged. I not sure about Tourmaline. I find that Goop without pumice works well to get into the dirty cracks and crevasses that I can’t get into otherwise. You might also try simichrome as a polish just working it around with a soft cloth or even your finger. It works well to polish rolling mill rollers and I also use it to remove blackening products from newly engraved pieces. Good luck…Rob


If the tourmaline in your piece is faceted, I don’t think I would tumble it. Tourmaline is often heat treated to improve the color and this makes it more brittle. Even stones that are not heat treated or brittle are easy to chip a little on the edges. Unless I had someone tell me they do this all the time with no ill effects, I think I would find some other method. With a cab, maybe, but still, discretion is the better part of valor, as they say. IDK, maybe if you want to tumble you could cover the stone with tape? Does tape stay on in a rotary tumbler? -royjohn


Royjohn…You are probably right about faceted stones. I don’t work with them. I do cover some softer cabs with tape. You need to make sure that it is well “stuck”. I have also tumbled pieces with resin embedded in bezels and they seems to be fine. When I tumble a piece with a stone it is to clean an already finished but shop dirty piece so that I don’t have to polish it. I tumble for no more than 10-15 minutes when I am doing this. Keep in mind that this is SS shot, not ceramic or plastic media…Rob

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Do you have some Thermoloc, Jett Sett, or other such thermoplastic? If so, you may be able to make a “helmet” for your stone so that the piece can be safely tumbled. Use a small piece of masking tape to cover the stone and upper edge of the setting so the plastic doesn’t stick directly to it or get between the stone and setting. Use a small amount of softened thermoloc to cover the stone and extend just far enough around the setting so it will stay put. Make it a few mm thick over the stone. Once it cools and hardens, the stone is protected from the tumbling media hitting it! Just be careful where you squish the thermoloc so you don’t risk pulling the stone out when you remove it. And obviously if anything in the piece is going to be harmed by the level of heat required to soften thermoloc, this won’t work.

I’ve done this a couple of times when I had polishing mishaps (hand slipped and the screw in the top of the polisher nicked the piece, etc) and removing the stone was going to be an issue.


Try a water pick. I am not really sure where the dirt is, but I have used a water pick on some suborn dirtl polish in crevices.


I would not tumble it like some folks here have suggested. Tumblers don’t clean. They polish.
A good ultra sonic and a steamer wold be your best bet. However with a tourmaline I’d run the piece under warm water and then very gently and slowly introduce it to the steam so as to not heat shock it.

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Thank you very much! Just ordered Simichrome, will give you feedback after I’ve tried it. Thanks!

Thank you! I prefer not to try, the stone is very smooth (cabochon). Prefer to keep the imperfections. But thanks!

Thank you, in fact before tumbling there were no dirty spots. That’s why I wouldn’t tumble it even if I knew the stone were well covered. Don’t know why these spots were produced in the tumbler! A bit frustrating.

What a good idea! Will try it after Simichrome, might well be the solution!

Thank you, I was afraid of putting it into the ultrasound bc of the heat shock. Still unsure, as I’m reading contradictory comments about putting a tourmaline into an ultrasound. Thanks a lot anyway!

Christine, there are indeed some stones where the vibrations of an ultrasonic, or the heat shock of going into near boiling solution from room temperature, can pose a risk. Tourmaline is usually not one of them. While it cannot take torch heat from soldering (or laser welding beams), a heated ultrasonic wont risk it except for very included/flawed stones. More included rubellite (red/pink) tourmalines may also need more caution, though its the ultrasonic energy that concerns me more than the temperatures. If you are worried, just use the hot solution with perhaps a toothbrush, or steam cleaner, with the ultrasonic not running.

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Very good idea! I’ll try it first! Too bad we can’t upload images. Thanks a lot, very helpful!

Of course you can upload pictures.
People do it all the time.


to upload pictures, tap on the icon at bottom right…see attached pic


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Aaahhhh…… Thank you so much!

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Assuming that you cleaned up the pierced layer before you riveted it to the solid layer, the dark areas may just be polishing dirt. I use narrow strips of abrasive cloth to clean up the inside edge of a pierced area and then polish with a piece of cotton string and polishing compound. After is is assembled and polished, start with a good cleaning. I have always cleaned with an ammonia, dawn and hot water solution. Good soak first and then go at it with a toothbrush. I also find that Goop without pumice will dissolve the polishing dirt. I don’t have a steamer or a decent ultrasonic, if I did I would use them too, with the precautions that others have given you (us). I do a lot of grinding and sanding with medium grit Eve products. You can shape them with an old file to a shape that will get into little tight spaces. They come in wheels and small rods that can be mounted on flex shaft arbors. Unfortunately, once you do this in one area, you will probably have to apply the same finish to others to keep it uniform. I also have a small Paasche grit gun that I might try. It leaves a clean mat finish but is very messy to use. Good luck…Rob

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Thank you very much Rob! Yes it must be polishing/tumbling dirt. I can’t/won’t disassemble it but will try the possibilities you mention. Thanks a lot again!

Another way to get into those tight places is with a tooth pick and powdered grit. I use the round heavier tooth picks. I get sanding grit from woodworking stores. The toothpick needs to be preped first. It’s so hard to do so I will detail it out for you (this is meant as comedy) Chew the end. just until it is flattened, and fibrous. now that it is prepped and a bit moist, dip the end into the powdered grit and scrub the spots. Little mess and easy to clean up.

If you have a hubby like me, you need to keep the tooth picks in a locked drawer. Too many times I’ve been impaled while walking across a carpet in barefeet from his toothpicks he just flicks off into space when he is done. Good luck

Aggie who wears slippers now.