I have just set a Lapis stone into a silver ring, and I was
wondering if there is any way I can increase the shine on the
Hi Paul, For future reference, it is usually best to address this
question before the stone is set in the ring. You have better access
to all the surfaces of the stone, and don’t risk altering the bezel.
Lapis can be tricky, because there are different grades and
treatments out there. If it is solid blue, natural untreated and
undyed lapis, ZAM is probably a good choice in a pinch. Ideally,
Linde A (high grade aluminum oxide?) or chrome oxide on leather are
better choices, if available.
If the material is of lesser quality and mass produced commercially
cut material, it may be filled (stabilized) with a material that will
undercut, resulting in more of an “orange peel” effect than you have
now. It may have also been “polished” with paraffin, which might be
the reason you have a less-than-desirable polish now. If your lapis
has pyrite inclusions, you also have to be careful not to undercut
the lapis away from the pyrite, leaving the inclusions as raised
If you are going to try this, I would recommend a hard felt buff, as
opposed to a muslin buff you might use on metal. The harder the buff,
the less likely it will contribute to undercutting.
Also, be aware that the original process of “cutting” the stone
should involve sanding steps that take the surface of the stone to a
very fine finish before the polishing step. If a commercial cutter
only takes it to a 600 grit sanding then “polishes” with paraffin as
a shortcut, you will never get a fine polish on the stone without
having it recut properly.
You should also be aware that, in a ring, lapis will probably lose
whatever polish it has over time. Rings take a lot of abuse,
abrasion, etc., and lapis is a relatively soft material. The more
often the ring is worn, the more quickly this will become evident.
Lapis isn’t really a great choice for rings… but that doesn’t ever
seem to have stopped people from putting tanzanites and opals in
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)