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Turquoise pendant in a tumbler


#1

Hi all, I am in the process of creating a turquoise and sterling
pendant and wonder if the stone will tolerate polishing in a tumbler
with steel shot. The stone appears to be fairly hard but just
wondering if this would be OK. Any thoughts or suggestions. I know I
could always try it and see, but it is a pretty good stone and I
would hate to mess it up.

John Bowling


#2
I am in the process of creating a turquoise and sterling pendant
and wonder if the stone will tolerate polishing in a tumbler with
steel shot. 

Steel is harder than turqoise. I wouldn’t do it.


#3

We frequently tumble sterling and turquoise pieces in our steel shot
tumbler with a mild burnishing solution and don’t have any trouble
with the stones. Good luck!


#4

I would not try it!


#5

John,

Turquoise is fairly soft so I wouldn’t be inclined to put it through
a tumbler. When I make pieces with set stones I use the tumbler
before setting the stone.

All the best
Jen


#6
Hi all, I am in the process of creating a turquoise and sterling
pendant and wonder if the stone will tolerate polishing in a
tumbler with steel shot. 

Turquoise is soft and porous. Not only will the steel shot damage
the finish, but the soap in the tumbler may well alter the color.
Keep turquoise away from soaps, solvents and oils.

Elliot Nesterman


#7
I am in the process of creating a turquoise and sterling pendant
and wonder if the stone will tolerate polishing in a tumbler with
steel shot. 

Hi John, turquoise will not survive tumbling in steel shot. You can
try scrap turquoise to satisfy your curiosity but please don’t do it
on a good piece. You best bet is to do all the tumbling prior to
setting. Also note that tumbling will harden the piece & might make
setting more difficult. I work with turquoise quite a bit & found
hand polishing (Foredom, cabinet polisher, etc.) to be the best
method for me.

Dee


#8

It’s best to polish before the stone is set. If I have to polish
after a stone is set, I will usually cover the stone with masking
tape, especially if I am polishing with tripoli or Luxi blue. I have
been tempted to put it into the tumbler, put I suspect that the
water would cause the tape to come off after a couple of minutes of
tumbling. I have flush set small pieces of turquoise and polished
both the setting and the stone at the same time with ZAM.

Thanks. Rob


#9
We frequently tumble sterling and turquoise pieces in our steel
shot tumbler with a mild burnishing solution and don't have any
trouble with the stones. Good luck! 

i can think of two types of turqoise where this would apply. Very
high grade, such as is sometimes called “Persian”, can have high
levels of silica within it, raising the hardness enough so the shot
won’t hurt it. And stabilized turqoise, which is impregnated with
plastic resins, could be tough enough to withstand it.

But untreated turqoise in qualities normally seen, would be risky.

But this would also depend on the tumbler, it’s speed, how smooth
the shot is, and the nature of the burnishing solution. Some tumblers
are slower and more gentle than others, and if the shot is well worn
and fully smoothed out, especially if the mix doesn’t have the
sharper needle shapes. In those cases, it could be possible that your
turqoise or other fragile or soft stones might do better than is
common seen, and if it works for you, then great. But many tumblers
and users thereof, may not be that lucky. Try it and see with a
sample of your material, and you’ll have an idea. However, be aware
that this is probably pushing the limits of safety with a tumbler and
steel shot. The process can vary between gently massaging the
surfaces to make them relaxed and happy and ready for soft music, and
hammering the surfaces with miniature sledge hammers, depending on
the equipment and how it’s used. But steel shot or other media
tumbling certainly could be tailored to work. After all, you can use
rotary or vibratory lapidary tumblers, with the right mix of
media/abrasives/polishing compounds to polish virtually any stone,
including turqoise, opals, or even amber. It can just take some
experience and experimenting to get the process to work without
damaging the stones.

Peter


#10

In a word, no. I would not do that. Tumble prior to setting, then
touch up by hand polishing after setting the turquoise. I would use
a 1-inch pumice wheel on my flex shaft, followed by fiber wheels to
buff it up, just around the setting.