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Tumbling with walnut shells

I read with interest the idea of using walnut shells charged with
rouge. How would I “charge with rouge”? I just purchased walnut
shells to try and bring up the polish on some coral beads a customer
bought me and the walnut shells on their own are kind of doing a
whole lot of nothing. I guess there are two questions here

  1. How do you polish coral beads?
  2. How do you “charge with rouge”?

Anne-Marie Warburton

Charge with I thinks means add powdered rouge into the shells and
turn tumbler on the even coat the shells

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

coral is going to be tricky… I posted the walnut shell (crushed
finely) tip regarding a way not to remove as much oxidation from
sterling as typical abrasives. I think if you call Thunderbird
supply, that manufactures compounds of all grades, types etc, and ask
them to supply you some powdered samples to come up with the best for
charging… otherwise add a bit of cerium oxide to the hulls (i do
hope you have very finely crushed grade, not like available at garden
centres), or take some zam and crush and add it to your hulls…rouge
is iron oxide (if we are talking about the same creature) and may
damage instead of finish he coral.also you must avoid acid burnishing
compounds and those that contain sodium thiosulfate as they are also
detrimental to coral, nacre, and other delicate substances used in

How would I "charge with rouge"? 

I would not polish coral beads with rouge charged walnut shells.
Rouge is better used for polishing metal.

My “secret recipe” tumble polishing compound is 1 part crushed
walnut shells to 1 part baking soda used dry. I use a vibratory
tumbler. It should work as well for barrel tumbler. Try it and check
it frequently and see how it does. I use it on polishing up heirloom
jewelry with set stones. That is before I got an ionic cleaner. But
still resort to the walnut shells and baking soda if the customer
wants to maintain some of the patina of the piece.

If the walnut shells and baking soda don’t produce the desired
results. Try Tin Oxide or Pro Polish in a tumbler with water and
plastic beads. Check often to be sure you are not polishing down to
the nub.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

My first question is…what kind of coral are you talking abouti Is
it hard corali Red corali Black corali Blue corali Spiney corali I
take it is is bead form and is strungi

Thanks for the info…and Cheers from Don in SOFL.