My jewelry has lots of high flat and curved areas that need to be
highly polished. In between are areas of relief and the resulting
contrast that makes this all work. I usually polish by hand using
traditional tripoli or Luxi blue and rouge or Luxi white compounds
and treated and non-treated muslin buffs. After forty years, my
hands and ears have taken a beating. I do have an AV25 flow thru
vibratory tumbler that uses a three step ceramic and polishing media
process. The results are fairly good, but you have to play with
timing and make sure that you prep the pieces so that they go in with
a uniformly sanded finish. I still have to do some touch up depending
on the piece. I have used this tumbler for 25 years, but only when I
have enough work at one time to justify the wear and tear on the
media. I recently bought a Lortone 6 quart tumbler and 7 pounds of
mixed SS shot (shot is very expensive). I don’t like the results on
my big pieces and won’t use it for that. I do make a line of small
and simple earrings, ring, and Christmas tree ornaments that are
mainly wire without any flat areas.
It does a good job on these types pieces and, since the shot doesn’t
wear, I can run small jobs in it. In the end, hand polishing works
for me, but if I can avoid it without compromising the results, I
will use the tumbler.
This has been a topic of discussion in the recent past and you
should be able to find more in the archives. Good luck.