Smooth out chips in carnelian

Hi everyone!

I recently bought an antique carnelian heart. It is beautifully
carved, and silky smooth and polished. The piece is drilled through
the stone, right under the heart’s ‘cleavage’, for a bail. There are
small chips around this hole, and I would like to smooth them out
before I put a bail through. I’m worried that the rubbing of the
bail on the area might further deteriorate the piece.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can use to do this?
My concerns about doing this are further fragmentation and also
possibly scratching the nice smooth surface adjacent to the chips.

I’d also love any suggestions as how to cold connect a bail.

Many thanks!


You can smooth out the small chips with a fine Diamond coated point
placed in your flex shaft machine. Make sure you keep the stone wet
and use a light touch since the Diamond will grind the stone

Once you have the chips removed you can polish the area with a hard
felt point or wheel charged with Cerium Oxide. Once again keep the
stone wet and make sure the Cerium Oxide is not too runny or pasty.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry

Hi Susan,

This sounds like a great application for a bail with a tube rivet!
It depends on the hole size with which the heart is drilled, of
course, but it would be a relatively gentle cold-connected bail that
would look very nice.

The bail can be made from a bit of half-round wire, or you can forge
flat the ends of round wire if there’s none handy. Drill holes in the
ends a bit bigger than your tubing, and bend the bail over to fit
around the heart. Cut a piece of tubing so that you have a bit to
work with at each end (sticking out past the holes in the bail on
either side). Flare one end of the tubing by rotating a scriber in
the opening, and then assemble the bail. Flare the other end of the
tubing, and gently peen the ends over, turning the bail over once or
twice to see that both sides come out even.

There is a much better description of this process, with lovely
photographs, in Elizabeth Oliver’s “Jewelry Making Techniques Book.”
You could probably do the same thing with a plain wire rivet, but the
tube rivet is, I think, a little easier on the stone, and will look


Jessee Smith
5949 Calmhaven Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio 45248
(513) 598-4820