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ZAM for final polishing of stone

Hi everybody,

I feel somewhat embarassed to ask this question, but here it goes…
How do you use ZAM? In my dental experience for a rough polish one
mixes powder with water to form a paste. I tried that and could not
mke ZAM mix with water. Could not use it dry either. I just want to
give my stones (I’m a beader working with semi-precious stones) a
finishing polish to remove scratches but I don’t want to remove the

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Vera Battemarco

Hey Vera, it’s gonna be hard to do with facets but I’ve done it
before using hard felt flats and just using zam like you’d use it on
a polishing wheel except you’d use it on the felt. I’d try maybe a
small hard felt mounted on a screw mandrel like for doing hand work
polishing. I use zam all the time to polish soft stones such as
turquoise, malachite, coral, and mother of pearl. Give it a try!
Matt the Catt


I have used ZAM for a polish on stones in the past. I use a Hi-Tech
polisher/buffing machine with muslin wheels. All you need to do,
while the machine is running, is to press the stick of ZAM against
one of the wheels (a clean wheel), thus impregnating the wheel with
the compound. Then to polish your stone, just put your stone to the
wheel using a light pressure and a slow speed. You need to be
conscious of not letting the stone get too hot as this could cause
problems. Another compound you may want to consider is Fabulustre.
However, be sure to use a different wheel. Normally you don’t want
to mix compounds on the same wheel. I have found that these
compounds work very well on soft stones like turquoise and malachite.

Rick Stutt
Wire Wrapping Etcetera

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
with water.

Good luck, and don’t buy any more beads with scratches on them - it
is too time-consuming to fix them up.


Vera, Zam is a polish for metal and soft stones. You will not be able
to remove the scratches from your stones without lapidary equipment
and the skill to use it. Facetted beads require a facetting machine,
grinding laps, and polishing laps.

Gerry Galarneau

Hello Vera Don’t be embarrassed. We all had to find out either the
hard way or by instruction. Zam is a metal polish. It is applied to a
spinning buff (muslin?) dry. It does work very well for soft stones
like turquoise and malachite and all plastics. I think it only
leaves a waxy deposit on the harder stones, like agate. It should
cut very slowly. If you plan to do this a lot, make sure you have
good ventilation. Dry polishing malachite can cause health problems
when you inhale the dust. Steve Ramsdell

Rick and Orchid members:

The recent discussion on ZAM prompts these questions. I was trained
using Fabulustre as the final polish on both Gold and Silver. I have
seen ZAM in the different catalogs, but have never used it. What is
the difference between ZAM and Fabulustre and their uses? Is it just
a matter of personal preference?

Charles Heick

I don’t know the exact difference bewtween the two, except that while
the Rio catalog says Zam can be used for polishing stones, as well as
metals, it says Fabulustre is for soft metals – doesn’t mention
stones. So perhaps it is a bit more towards the rouge side. Note that
both compounds are intermediate between Tripoli and Rouge. But they do
cut to some extent, so be sure you don’t get carried away and lose all
the find detail in whatever you polish. margaret

Charles, I have used both for polishing and found fabuluster to be
the cleanest and easiest to remove in the ultrasonic but my choice is
Zam because it simply puts a prettier polish on white gold. My 2cents. Patty Rios