I’m a beader, too, and several years ago I tried to do the same thing
you are attempting on some large malachite beads with a crummy finish.
First of all, zam comes in a peel-away tube and it is meant to be
applied to a buffing wheel for use on a buffer or similar. I have used
zam successfully with soft stones like lapis, turquoise, malachite,
amber, and rhodocrosite. It is also good to polish silver and gold.
I haven’t been successful trying to polish harder stones like quartz.
So, what kind of faceted stones are you trying to fix-up with zam? It
may be that zam isn’t right for this particular job.
Now, if you don’t have a buffer, you can take a knife and scrape-off
shavings of zam onto a paper towel and use this to hand polish your
bead(s). Or you can vigorously rub the zam bar on to a soft flannel
cloth to impregnate the cloth and then rub your cloth on the beads. I
think zam is chromium oxide in a lard base which is why it won’t mix
Good luck, and don’t buy any more beads with scratches on them - it
is too time-consuming to fix them up.