Tumble a set 18k ring

Hi everyone,

Here’s a quick question for all of you inovative folks out there.
I need to tumble an 18k ring that is set with diamonds in medium
grit plastic media. Rio Grande said that they thought that the
media would harm the diamonds so I’m trying to find the best
solution for covering them up. Here’s 2 ideas: cover the stones
with clear nail polish then soak in acetone to remove or cover the
stones in sticky soft wax (not sure if it will stay on in all the
water and media). I would appreciate any ideas… Thanks.

Marian Maurer

  Here's a quick question for all of you inovative folks out
there. I need to tumble an 18k ring that is set with diamonds in
medium grit plastic media. 

Call me crazy, but why don’t you buff it instead of tumbling? Karen

I used to tumble sterling silver rings set with CZ in Pink and
Aqua Clean Cut media with no adverse affects at all. I don’t see
why diamonds should be a problem.

Chris Maugham

Marian why not cover the stones in five minute epoxy? it will come
off with acetone or attack. will probably stay on better than wax
or nail polish and give a thicker cushion. frank Houston,tx

Hello Marian Maurer The media itself will not harm the diamonds but
will wear the prongs some if you tumble to long.The only thing that
will wear a diamond is more diamond.I would not worry about nail
polish or wax. Why must you tumble? Is the ring not polishable by
machine or hand?

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA


Why is it necessary to tumble polish this ring? Why not just
hand-polish it and save yourself the hassle? Besides, tumble
polishing is best suited for mass produced items and chain. Don’t
you feel that you would get superior results if done by hand?


Heather Sickler
Intrica Fine Jewelry

Why do you need to tumble this ring with abrasive media. Couldn’t
you polish it conventionally and then tumble it with steel shot?
Another possibility would be to take it to a plater and have it
bright dipped. I can’t imagine that soft wax or fingernail polish
would hold to the abrasives for any length time.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Marian, I suspect that you’re right about the wax. It would abrade
in no time. Nail polish is brittle… Have you thought of trying
silicone rubber? You can get clear silicone caulk at K-mart that
would probably be tough enough to protect your stones - and remain
flexible enough to cut/peel off. I’ll freely admit that I’ve never
used silicone for such a purpose…though it did a fantastic job of
sealing the windows on my '70 Buick. :slight_smile:

Buffalo, NY

I really dont think that anything will harm the diamonds except
other diamonds. At least that was what I was taught. So,
personally I dont think you will have any need to protect the
stones. But accually if it was me I would just hand polish it at
the bench or machine.

Good luck
Steve Dickey


I see that others are commenting that tumbling the ring set with
diamonds is OK. Maybe. However, it is not true that only a
diamond will damage another diamond. Diamonds are very very hard,
a lot harder than the next hardest thing (the Mohs scale is not
linear and there is a much bigger “space” between nine and ten than
between any of the other steps). However, they are somewhat
brittle and they will chip, usually at the corners of the facet
junctions. If you examine with the microscope much jewelry that
has been worn, you often see such abrasions. I do not think they
all come from people bumping their diamonds agains each other.

There is that old story about the Pigot diamond, a famous old big
one. Somebody crushed it under the heel of his boot. I wouldn’t
risk tumbling the ring with diamonds, but if you must, coating it
with epoxy sems a good alternative. Maybe the tumbling is OK
because the objests that hit the diamond are small and not likely
to ship it. My guess is that the chips are caused by banging the
stone just so agains large objects.

Roy (Jess)