Polishing Cabochons

I am primarily a metalsmith, but I am interested in
shaping/reshaping stones to make them a little more interesting.
Right now I carve them with diamond burs on a Dremel and some
sand paper. This works great for me. I was wondering what I
could use with my Dremel now to get a good polish on these
stones. I’m not sure if I want to invest in a stone polishing
unit just yet. Any advice on gemstone carving would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks.

Jill Alessandra


I use various diamond compounds (available from Rio Grande,
Rayteck, Gesswein etc.) on a hard felt wheel mounted on a mandrel
in a flexshaft. I sand the stone with a sanding stick- 240, 320,
600 grit, then go to 600, 1200, 3000, 8000, 50,000, grit diamond
paste. It works well on tourmaline, garnet, and other medium
hardness cabs that show hard wear. One gram tubes are a few
dollars each and last a long time.


Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography


Might add to this the tubes you buy are just grease mixed with
diamond dust.You can buy the dust alone graded into the mesh you
need,and mix with vasoline.This is not only a lot less
expensive,but you can make the strength you like.Most diamond
powders sell for $1/ct or less.

                                         Mark Liccini


Gemstone Rough Dealers since 1970 U.S.MAIL
E-Mail: @Mark_Liccini1 107 C.Columbus Dr.#1A
http://www.LICCINI.com Jersey City,N.J.07302 Voice
Mail/Fax: 201-333-6332

I was wondering what I could use with my Dremel now to get a good
polish on these stones.

G’day; For polishing most semi-precious gemstone material I use a
piece of old leather cemented rough side out to a wooden disc,
mounted on a second-hand mains motor. I paint a slurry of tin
oxide in water on the leather and spin it at about 800rpm. One
has to press the work hard on the leather, and presently the work
begins to drag - and that’s when the polish works best. You can
see your face in it! This is excellent for cabochons and large
pieces, but it’s easy to soften the dopping wax if you aren’t
careful. A Dremel isn’t really powerful enough for this, so I use
little 1" discs of leather and various diamond pastes down to
#5000 grit. Hard felt discs also work with a Dremel and diamond,
but leather is better, I reckon. Just another ha’porth! Cheers,

       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \

Dear Jill:

Depending on the stone you are polishing (My main stone is opal
which is not so difficult to polish), you can use a felt buff but
make sure you have all the scratches out using 500 to 700 wet and
dry sandpaper. Then use either tin oxide or cerium oxide mixed
with water into a past. You can also use 50,000 to 100,000 grit
diamond paste. Let me know if I can sell you some opal…

all the best Jill

Peter <@opals_aus) (Australia)

Good point Mark! How the heck are ya? I mix up a brew with a
bit of graphite and diamond paste…goes well on very porous
stones…but I still like my old wet and dry…old habits die

great to heare your name again…

Peter Brusaschi

Thanks all for the info! I just finished a lapis lazuli and a
bloodstone and they look great! Ended up using grit from a
tumbling kit with Vasaline on felt wheels. I do want to try the
leather too- that sounds like it would work great. Thanks again.