Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Tumble Rough Rocks

Intricate cut stones and high end jewelry have never been something that I cared for much; but a few years ago at a  stop on the 127 Yard Sale, a lady from Jamaica had set up a stand with her handmade creations.  A beautiful necklace caught my eye.  Its pendant was a Moonstone carefully housed in a cage of wire that was twisted in the most intricate shapes.  Mr. Hollow (who is extremely picky about jewelry)  complimented the artist on her obvious talent, and I vowed to return to purchase the necklace.  Sad to say that after a long walk around the venue, I blanked out a return to the stand and was miles down the road before remembering my mistake... Uggghhh!  I have never seen her booth on our subsequent trips. :( 
Since that first encounter with this fine wire art, Farmerboy was lucky enough to have a teacher that gave his class a glimpse and hands on experience at creating jewelry from scratch.  He had the opportunity to  twist pieces of fine metal into some amazing pieces of jewelry.  I admire his meticulous talent in this area and dreamed to one day take a try at creating some metal designs of my own.  Of course in my mind, the metal would be housing a shiny stone.  So after a little research, I decided to start from the very basics of jewelry making and tumble my own stones...
Many hours were spent researching gemstones and varying rocks for their spiritual meanings.  I love a piece of art with a hidden meaning. ;)  The first purchase (pictured below) consisted of  rough lots of Citrine, Fluorite and Labradorite and some Apache Tears (which are volcanic glass).  My second purchase was smaller samplings of Amethyst and Moonstone.  The stones were quickly followed by a package with various tumbling compounds...

Talk about putting the cart before the horse, my last purchase was a Chicago dual drum rotary rock tumbler.

** Note**  I will be honest and tell you that rock tumbling makes me feel like a fish out of water. It is frightening and exciting to venture into the unknown.  My son had a small child's tumbler years ago, but it was Mr. Hollow that helped him with it... :(

Sometimes you just have to dive in. :) 

Here is a picture of the rocks in the two drums, before the 4 T of coarse grit and water were added.   As you can see, these stones are intriguing even in their rough state.  It will be great fun to see them transform into a polished stone.  I will be honest and say that I did not check hardness of stones prior to tumbling; although in my research, these types were mentioned at being tumbled together.  The Apache Tears were left out, due to the fact that they are comprised of volcanic glass-- making them a touchier piece to tumble and remove scratches from.

The tumbler is downstairs on the basement floor tumbling away.  My endeavor is on day 4, and I will give update posts of the progress...


Patty Sumner said...

Wow, what an undertaking.. I would be totally lost. I have a beautiful moonstone pendant..Love it. I do want to see what you do with all of this..keep us posted...enjoy your new treasures and create away...Blessings!

The Moonlit Stitch said...

I have loved gems & rocks FOREVER and want a tumbler so badly. Thanks for sharing your venture, can't wait to see how it goes! ~*~Lisa

Brenda said...

Thanks for stopping by Patty... The moonstones are gorgeous! :)

Brenda said...

Hello Lisa... I was so excited to visit your blog and am happy to find another blogging friend.

I have always longed for a tumbler and decided to finally dive in. It sat idle for quite awhile until my hubby told me to get over the nervousness and start. This is one hobby that he is equally interested in seeing the outcome! ;)

I will get some photos of the whole process, just in case anybody would like to give the hobby a try.

Brenda :)

Witch Hollow Primitives said...

Hi Brenda! Thank you for following and for joining the blog hop!!!
My son just started tumbling stones, it takes forever but he is liking it.

Brenda said...

Hello Heather... I am so happy to have found your blog. Your Etsy shop has such variety and is a pleasure to browse thru. Look forward to doing some shopping during the holiday season! :)