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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Finished Tumbled Rocks

This past year was like a whirlwind of events.  I am concentrating on slowing things down a little around the Hollow and completing some projects.  Below is some photos that were on my camera from last summer.  These are the rocks that I was tumbling... remember that? ;)  The whole process was quite the adventure, since yours truly didn't read books on the topic. 
All of the stones lost mass as the grit wore away at their jagged surfaces.  In this experiment, I found out in a "hands on" way the lessons of tumbling.  The yellow and white stones are Citrine.  As you can see, they tumble and polish beautifully.  They can go through a regular tumbling process and stay somewhat predictable on their shape, losing a 1/4 to a 1/3 of their mass.  If you look at the upper right corner, the tourmaline and amethyst can be seen.  They lost very little mass in the tumbling process and turned out equally as well.  The moonstone in the upper left corner suffered very little surface loss but never really achieved a smooth finish. :(  Will definitely have to be getting some books on the subject to correct this problem.
While tumbling all of these stones, the most important of all lessons is to take out the stones with surface fractures and reserve them for another tumble.  Upon completion, many of my stones had  internal fissures.  My personal thought is that fissures add to the mystery of the stones.  They give them a rustic inner beauty.  With the rough cut bulk stones that I purchased on Ebay and my vast inexperience,  I was fortunate to have several nice finished pieces.   

Remember all that gorgeous Fluorite that I had?  Most of it disappeared in the tumbling process. Yikes! Upon more research into the subject via the Internet, my suspicions were confirmed that it is a softer stone.  I proved this with my little pile that is one over from the Citrine on the left.  They came out with a frosted appearance like the moonstone.  But they still are very pretty. :)

On the bottom left is the Labradorite.  It will be going into the tumbler again.  I will be doing some major reading on this rock.  They lost very little mass and were pulled out after the second tumble, due to all of the surface cracks.  The lot definitely needs to go back to the rough grit until their exterior surfaces are smooth.

I really did enjoy diving into this process of rock tumbling armed  with little knowledge.  Normally, my method is to research a topic to death.  This time, I decided to just enjoy the process.  Here are some things that I did learn: 
1.  Get a Cheap Strainer to clean the rocks.
2.  Take out the rocks with surface flaws after the second tumble.
3.  With Chicago Tumbler,  buy a Lortone belt that will not break!
4.  Clean your rocks outside over a large bucket or pot.
5.  Be careful where you dump the rinse water.
6.  Keep a notebook with times and pointers.
7.  Be Patient with the Process!

This summer will definitely find me tumbling again, and I look forward to wire wrapping a few of these to make pendants.  My son is a wonderful jewelry maker.  His attention to detail is absolutely amazing.  Hopefully, he can teach his Mom a little about the craft!  ;)

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